The staff at cover32.com have just done our third mock draft for the 2014 season. The first time we did it and I got to play the part of general manager, the Lions stayed put with their spot in the draft and I selected cornerback Justin Gilbert. It filled a need and in my opinion he was the best player available at one of the Lions biggest team weaknesses. The second mock draft we allowed trades and I offered up the 10th pick in 2014 and the Lions first round pick in 2015 to move up to the third position in the draft. That allowed me to select wide receiver Sammy Watkins and create an offensive talent pool for Matthew Stafford to work with that already included Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. The hope would be that with this much firepower the Lions would be able to mask their defensive weaknesses and just outscore everyone.
In cover32.com mock draft 3.0, I was able to move up yet another spot in the draft to the 2nd overall pick while still offering the same compensation, the 10th pick in 2014 and the Lions first round pick in 2015. Same theory persists as Martin Mayhew, Tom Lewand and coach Jim Caldwell all believe the Lions are destined for greatness this year, so 2015’s first round pick will not be a high one. In this “win now” mode the Lions are in, next years first pick isn’t a priority, the Lions are going for broke to try and capitalize on the talent pool they’ve assembled. Mayhew feels that the main problem was the coaching staff and that the Lions may just be one player away from the promised land.
So, having 2nd pick overall, I still could have selected Watkins, and many people would feel that would be the right move. As I stated in the last piece though, the player I would most covet for the Lions is linebacker Khalil Mack out of the University of Buffalo. Mack would provide something the Lions haven’t seen since Chris Speilman roved the middle of the field for Detroit, and Speilman played more on heart and drive; Mack appears to have that and physical talents that far out measure what Speilman offered.
Drafting players out of college is a roll of the dice and there are no sure bets, but there seems to be fewer questions about Mack than most other prospects. His measurables are great; he runs 4.66 seconds in the 40 yard dash while standing 6’, 2” tall and weighing in at 251lbs. He has the reach of most left tackles making his pash rushing prowess that much better and has been compared favorably to the best linebacker ever, Lawrence Taylor. He’s not quite the speed demon Taylor was, but otherwise, he seems to match up well.
The only downside of Mack is that he didn’t play against the same talent level as some of the other players on everyone’s radar. That being said, when he played against Ohio State, he showed up and tallied 2.5 sacks and an interception for a touchdown.
Giving offenses another player to identify on the Lions defense besides Ndamukong Suh, Ziggy Ansah and Nick Fairley should help all four players to excel. Mack can provide that. DeAndre Levy played well last year for the Lions, especially during the first half of the season and Stephen Tulloch would help with the development of Mack while being a steady force still on the inside. The Lions would still need to address the cornerback position during the 2nd or 3rd rounds of the draft, but, with this trade they are not surrendering any of their other picks in 2014. Also, while cornerbacks, safeties and wide receivers tend to struggle more during their rookie seasons, positions like linebacker and running back fair much better. The Lions do have a need at linebacker and Khalil Mack would provide an instant impact player for them while they try to capitalize on Stafford, Johnson and Suh while they are in their primes.
Tell me below what you think about trading up for Mack and also check out the whole cover32.com mock draft 3.0 here: (READ)