Detroit Lions: Full 7-Round NFL Mock Draft Predictions
For the first time in seemingly forever, the Lions will be making their selections outside of the top 20 picks.
While it is nice progress for the team to not have early picks, there are still many needs that must be addressed.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford had suspect protection in front of him for much of this past season, and the secondary still leaves much to be desired.
General manager Martin Mayhew has proven to make intelligent draft picks during his young tenure with Detroit, and that looks to continue in 2012.
With the Lions' focus usually on value over need, let's look at a full seven-round mock draft for Detroit in 2012.
1st Round, 23rd Pick Overall: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
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The Lions' defensive backfield made marked improvement in 2011 but the unit is far from perfect.
Janoris Jenkins could be a great answer. He is full of talent and potential.
Jenkins has had legal issues in the past while attending the University of Florida, but this past season at North Alabama he let his play do the talking.
While Detroit certainly has needs elsewhere, cornerback should be addressed at some point and Jenkins has skills that belong near the top of the first round.
He will have to prove to the Lions' front office that he is a changed individual, but if he can do so then Detroit may walk away with a great first-round selection.
2nd Round, 54th Pick Overall: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
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Andre Branch led the ACC this season with 10.5 sacks.
He is the type of relentless pass-rusher that could add formidable depth to the defensive ends that Detroit already possesses.
Offensive line help may be a bigger need, but that can be addressed later in the draft.
At this point, the Lions will take the best player on the board and I consider that to be Branch.
(If by some fortunate chance Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois is still on the board, then he is the pick.)
3rd Round, 86th Overall: David Molk, OC, Michigan
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Dominic Raiola has been a steadying force along the Lions' offensive line for a decade.
That said, not taking David Molk at this point in the draft would go against the principles that general manager Martin Mayhew has showcased previously.
Molk is a Rimington Trophy award winner and is a great value in the third round.
Raiola's career is winding down, and Molk would provide a promising future at the position.
He has proven quite durable during his career with the Wolverines and would give the Lions welcomed depth at the center position.
4th Round, 117th Overall: Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas
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Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy provide a formidable tandem at the outside linebacker position.
Emmanuel Acho could be a nice piece to add to the Lions rotation at the position.
Bobby Carpenter and Ashlee Palmer are fine backups, but Acho adds potential they may not provide.
Acho was First Team All-Big 12 in 2011 and stands 6'2", 245 pounds.
Sean Spence from Miami makes sense here as well, but I think Acho is the better selection if he is still on the board.
5th Round, 150th Pick: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State
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The Lions have had a rather tumultuous history drafting wide receivers, but last year may have proved a turning point with the addition of playmaker Titus Young.
In 2012, I see Detroit taking another wide receiver at some point in the draft and it makes sense at this spot.
B.J. Cunningham is a 6'2", 216-pound local product from Michigan State University.
He had over 1,300 yards this season and 12 touchdown receptions.
Nate Burleson is not getting any younger, and perhaps down the road Cunningham could develop into a nice complimentary piece to the Lions puzzle.
6th Round, 181st Overall, Josh Oglesby, OT, Wisconsin
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Josh Oglesby is a mammoth offensive lineman out of the University of Wisconsin.
The 6'7", 330-pound tackle made the First Team All-Big Ten in 2011 and has great physical strength.
Oglesby has had knee problems throughout his career, which is the main reason he is projected so low in the draft.
His health is a question mark, but in the sixth round, Detroit can afford to take a gamble on such a talented prospect.
Oglesby has the potential to contribute in the NFL if he can overcome his knee problems.
7th Round, 214th Overall: Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
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Chris Rainey runs a 4.36 40-yard dash.
That kind of speed warrants a selection, especially if he is still available at the tail end of the seventh round.
The Florida Gators running back does not fill any specific need for the Lions, but Stefan Logan was less than impressive returning kicks and punts this season.
Rainey could immediately spark Detroit's return game.