Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has traditionally drafted the best player available on his big board when the team makes their selection, and he is not expected to stray from that philosophy come April.
That being said, here is a look at the best-case scenario for each of the Lions picks in this year’s draft.
First Round, Pick No. 23: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin can pass-block and is a strong run-blocker. Jeff Backus has been solid for the Lions, but his days are numbered.
If Martin slips out of the Top 15 and is still available when the Lions make their first selection, Martin may be the right fit.
Second Round, Pick No. 22: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Lions need to improve their secondary, and if Jenkins falls to the second round he would almost certainly be the best player available.
If he is there, selecting him would follow Mayhew’s philosophy of picking the best player on his board to fill a need. Though Jenkins has been in legal trouble in the past, he is a Top 15 talent and would be worth the risk at this point in the draft.
Third Round, Pick No. 23: Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
Like Backus, Dominic Raiola has been a mainstay on Detroit’s offensive line. But also like Backus, he is an 11-year veteran and the Lions need to start thinking about who will replace him.
Brewster is a solid blocker and is athletic, and he has performed well against good defensive tackles.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 22: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
James averaged 7.3 yards a carry and rushed for 1,805 total yards during his junior season. The Lions have question marks in their backfield with Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure suffering season-ending injuries last year. Kevin Smith is prone to injuries as well.
If other needs are filled, James could be a good pick if available toward the end of the fourth round.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 23: Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas
Franklin is a versatile player who can line up at defensive end, outside linebacker or middle linebacker. He could develop into a quality role-player in Detroit.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 22: DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State
Posey missed most of last season while serving a suspension, but he was an All-Big Ten player in 2010. If he falls to the bottom of the sixth round, he would be a nice addition to the Lions offense and could play behind Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young.
Seventh Round, Pick No. 23: Chris Rainey, WR/RB, Florida
Not likely, but if Rainey makes it to the seventh round when the Lions make their final selection, he would be a solid utility player. He can return punts and kicks, but he also blocked six punts during his time in college.