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Before getting to the Lions' pick at No. 10 overall, here is a list of players that will almost certainly be off the board before Detroit picks.
These are culled from looking at several mock drafts from various sources, including those by Dan Hope and Sean O'Donnell here at Bleacher Report:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
- Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
That leaves the following players in contention, in order:
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas A&M
- Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
- Marqise Lee, WR, USC
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Watkins tops the list, but he's also the most likely to be taken before Detroit gets the chance. His play-making ability and outstanding athleticism for the position will almost certainly make him the first wideout taken.
What makes Detroit covet him so much is that he is a legit No. 1 receiver for just about every NFL team, but in Detroit, Watkins would begin as the clear-cut No. 2 to Calvin Johnson. Try and cover that, opposing defenses!
Amaro and Ebron are both excellent receiving threats at tight end. Ebron is a little better at blocking, but teams do not take tight ends in the top 10 for their blocking prowess. Amaro compares to a young Tony Gonzalez stylistically, a big-framed, seam-stretching target with excellent body control.
Either would provide a viable No. 2 receiving option to Johnson and provide lethal targets in the red zone.
Lee would fit that bill as well. His instant acceleration and proven ability to generate quick separation from both the slot and outside would make an excellent fit. The big concern here, and the only reason why Watkins ranks higher, is that Lee was hindered by a knee injury for much of 2013.
Van Noy is intriguing for his potential to invigorate the defense. New coordinator Teryl Austin has promised to blitz more, and that means adding a linebacker that can handle it. Van Noy has proven that, but he's also shown he is quite capable of playing in space and in coverage.
Tenth overall is probably a little early for both Van Noy and Amaro, so if a team comes calling and looking to move up, this gives Detroit options to fall back a handful of picks and still get someone at the top of its board.
This is way too high to address the needs at safety, defensive tackle and center.