Detroit Lions Mock Draft: 7-Round Projections After East-West Shrine Game
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The Detroit Lions are no different. General Manager Martin Mayhew has players he's targeting, and their performance on Saturday will impact if he pursues them further or not.
This game was just the first step in the road to the NFL draft. It's early in the evaluation process, but it's never too early for a player's stock to rise and fall.
Here is my updated seven-round mock draft for the Lions, following the East-West Shrine Game.
Round 1: Damontre Moore, DE
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There was no one on the field Saturday with top-five projections. That doesn't mean that players can't improve their draft positions, but it takes more than one all-star game to do it.
For now, the the Lions should still target the best defensive end available with the fifth pick. Even if they do re-sign Cliff Avril, they still need an upgrade on the other side. Kyle Vanden Bosch is done and Ronnell Lewis is unproven.
Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson are both free agents and haven't proven that they're ready to be starters.
The Lions need to get their defensive end of the future.
Damontre Moore and Bjoern Werner are generally considered the best at the position, and at least one of them should still be on the board at number five.
Jarvis Jones is another DE/OLB projected to go early in the first round, but the Lions will avoid him. He's got a significant injury history and they've learned their lesson—the hard way—rolling the dice on such prospects.
Jahvid Best anyone?
Moore is a beast out of Texas A&M. He's an elite pass rusher and equally talented against the run. He even scores high in the all-important "motor" category, according to ESPN.
Round 2: Matt Elam, S
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There were also no players on the field Saturday that the Lions would select in the second round. At least not at this point in the offseason.
Elam is the better player and if he's still on the board, the Lions won't pass him by. Particularly given their issues in the secondary.
Especially at the safety position.
Louis Delmas will be re-signed or franchised, however his injury history is well-documented. Delmas is heading into Bob Sanders' territory and the Lions need an insurance policy. Elam is just that, plus he's polished enough to compete for a starting job now.
WalterFootball.com had the following to say about Elam:
Elam is the complete package as a safety. He covers a lot of ground in pass coverage since he has the ability to run with receivers and tight ends. Elam is a physical, tough safety who does well in run support, too. He excels in any aspect of safety play.
He's a perfect fit for Detroit in the second.
Round 3: Terry Hawthorne, CB
Hawthorne had a pick six in Illinois' 2011 bowl game.
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The Lions can always use cornerback help, and Terry Hawthorne might have been the best one on the field Saturday.
At least the stat sheet will support that statement.
Granted the quarterback play was not even close to NFL caliber, Hawthorne put together an impressive game nonetheless.
He recovered a fumble in the first half and recorded a second-half interception. He also drew raves from on-air analyst and NFL-Draft guru Mike Mayock, who was impressed with his technique during a pass defense in the end zone.
It could have been a touchdown but Hawthorne turned his hips and made a play on the ball, tipping it over the receivers' hands.
ESPN rated Hawthorne as an "adequate prospect," but they also said he's got an "above average blend of height, top-end speed and bulk."
The physical attributes are there, but scouts question his ability to compete on an NFL level.
Drafttek already projected him to be a late third-round pick, but with his performance Saturday, his stock will rise. He'd be a value pick for Detroit in the third and could take over for Jonte Green on special teams while he adjusts to the NFL game.
Round 4: No Pick
Taylor's stock is on the rise.
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The Lions don't have a pick in the fourth round currently, but don't be surprised if that changes. Lions' general manager Martin Mayhew has wheeled and dealed for extra picks before, and Devin Taylor is someone he might want to target.
Taylor was by far the MVP of the East West Shrine Game. In the first half, he was all over the place.
Mayock and co-analyst Charles Davis were repeatedly calling out his name whenever the East's defense was on the field. Not surprisingly Taylor finished with two forced fumbles, a sack and was a disruptive force the whole game.
I've already spoke about the Lions' need for defensive ends, so why should they stop at selecting just one?
Mayhew has shown he's not afraid to pick one, two or even three players of the same position in one draft. He did it last year twice!
Taylor is a classic "potential" type of player. He's got the kind of length and reach that defensive coaches dream about. He reminded me a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul as I watched him on Sunday.
In fact, Taylor is several inches taller than Pierre-Paul. He's listed at 6'8" and 267 pounds. Clearly, he'll need to add bulk to compete in the NFL, but everything else is there.
Whether his draft stock continues to rise will depend a lot on his performance in February's NFL combine. If he does well, we could be talking about Taylor in the third, second or even first round.
Round 5: Knile Davis, RB
Davis looks for open field.
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Drafttek projects the Lions to take Knile Davis in Round 5, and I have to agree with them. It seems like the perfect pick.
Davis has "elite top-end speed," according to ESPN, and that's exactly what the Lions have lacked out of the backfield since they lost Jahvid Best.
Even better, Davis is bigger and sturdier than Best was. In other words, he won't be as susceptible to injury.
He might be more of a featured back like Mikel Leshoure, but speed is speed. Whether he's a change-of-pace back or an every-down back, the Lions need a home-run threat and Davis can deliver.
He's proven to be a reliable receiver, and when he catches the ball in open space, he's a big-play waiting to happen.
Detroit will give Leshoure another year to see if he can regain the quickness he had prior to his Achilles injury. In the meantime, Davis could work out of that change-of-pace role.
If Leshoure never gets his speed back, then Davis could take over the featured back role in 2014.
Round 6: DeVonte Holloman, OLB/S
Holloman making a play on Michigan's Denard Robinson.
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According to ESPN, Holloman will enter the draft as an outside linebacker, although he primarily played safety in college. His versatility should be attractive to the Lions since they have a need at both positions and Holloman represents an "outstanding combination of height, weight and speed."
He also is an excellent tackler and sideline-to-sideline run defender.
He played well at the East West Shrine game. Particularly on a first quarter play, in which he made a great tackle on RB Ray Graham behind the line of scrimmage.
The Lions face the possibility of losing both their starting outside linebackers—DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant—to free agency.
Holloman would be an insurance policy, as well as a great special teams addition in 2013.
Round 7: Keenan Davis, WR
Davis might want to work on ball security.
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Lions' fans already know that Martin Mayhew relied too much on Jahvid Best returning from his injury. When it never happened, the Lions had no Plan B.
There's no way he'll make the same mistake twice.
Ryan Broyles showed he can be a promising playmaker out of the slot position, but he just suffered his second serious knee injury in two years. If he comes back the same player, great, but why risk it?
Keenan Davis is a receiver who did a lot for himself during the week of practice for the East-West Shrine Game and he could be an effective slot receiver in the NFL.
Here's what Eric Galko of Optimumscouting.com had to say:
Some weren’t as impressed with Davis as I was, but after watching enough of him on film to “know what he is”, which is a perfect slot/seam catcher who is efficient in the short area, Davis did even more than I expected. He won’t be an outside-the-hashes impact player, but he can get off-press, gets separation in the short area, and attacks the ball in the air well between zone coverage.
Davis' career numbers aren't anything special, nor was his performance on Saturday. However, he's never been paired with an elite quarterback like Matthew Stafford either.
What he does have is above average height and speed to be successful at the next level.
That makes him a great pick in the seventh round.