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It is downright unlikely that the Lions spring for Kenny Vaccaro with the fifth overall pick in the draft.
Safeties rarely go that high in the draft unless they're particularly special talents, like Eric Berry was in 2010. Vaccaro is very good, but he doesn't appear to be on the game-changing level Berry is.
So why mock him here, even knowing he's a reach and that the Lions hate reaching for positional needs?
Well, one reason is that my standing rule of not repeating picks in my mock drafts creates the need for some creativity in first round picks.
Another reason is that nobody really set themselves apart in the top end of the draft. There were good combine performances and bad ones, but it all comes down to what we're been hearing all along: this draft is thin with top-end talent, and there's not a ton of difference between the fifth overall pick and the 25th.
But more importantly, we don't really know where anybody is on a particular team's big board. Last year, the Seattle Seahawks shocked everybody by taking Bruce Irvin in the first round, despite many analysts giving him about a third-round grade.
It was a draft day shocker, and everyone outside of the Seahawks organization had a good chuckle about it. All Irvin did is lead all rookies with eight sacks in limited playing time during his rookie season, making his doubters look silly in the process.
The Seahawks "reached" for Irvin because he was high on their big board. Similarly, if Vaccaro impresses the Lions, they could spring for him. The top of the 2013 is thin on "can't miss" prospects, so if the Lions zero in on a guy they're really confident about, they'll draft him regardless of what the draft pundits say.
It also helps that the Lions have nothing but question marks at safety. Vaccaro could bring some much-needed stability and some ball skills to the defensive backfield.
This draft is deep with safeties, so it's more likely the Lions grab a safety with a value pick in the second or third round, but it would be irresponsible to suggest that this isn't at least a possibility.
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (01/07/13)
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M (01/26/13)
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (02/04/13)
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (02/11/13)