Detroit Lions 2014 Mock Draft with Scouting Profiles

Jeff Risdon@@JeffRisdonContributor IFebruary 3, 2014

Detroit Lions 2014 Mock Draft with Scouting Profiles

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    The Detroit Lions have many possibilities to explore in the 2014 NFL draft. One of the joys of draft season is to ponder what may come true in May. 

    Because it's still early in the process, any speculation about which players the Lions might be targeting is just that—speculation. 

    This mock draft speculates what general manager Martin Mayhew might do this May with Detroit's picks. There are several options in each round, and the Lions could very well make these choices. 

First Round

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    Detroit picks 10th in the first round. In order to set the table for Detroit's pick, here are the nine picks in this scenario prior to the Lions:

    1. Houston Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
    2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, T, Auburn
    3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
    4. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
    5. Oakland Raiders: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M
    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    8. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
    9. Buffalo Bills: Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

    That leaves the Lions with some interesting options. In this case, Detroit chooses...

    Khalil Mack, outside linebacker from Buffalo. 

    Mack is a dynamic all-around linebacker. While he's best known for his pass-rushing proclivity, the rangy backer proved he can drop into coverage capably. In the Bulls' game at Kent State, which I scouted in person, Mack broke up two passes in space and intercepted another. 

    He has the spatial movement skills of a super-sized safety. In Detroit, he could play strong-side linebacker on base downs and move to rush end in passing situations. He offers blitzing ability from the base 4-3, something Detroit does not currently have on the roster. 

Second Round

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    After addressing one of the prime defensive needs with the first-round pick, the Lions will figure to look to the offense with their second-round selection.

    Detroit picks 13th overall in the round. Here are the projected four prior picks, to help stage the talent pool the Lions will select from:

    That whittles down the choices for Detroit. After much deliberation, the Lions select...

    Brandin Cooks, wide receiver from Oregon State.

    The elusive receiver would make an excellent fit in Detroit. As noted in the video, his ability to rack up yards after the catch is electrifying. 

    Detroit desperately needs another playmaker on offense to complement Calvin Johnson. Cooks' ability to quickly get open off the line and turn short passes into long gains is exactly what the doctor ordered. He fills the role of both the injured Ryan Broyles and the aging Nate Burleson. 

Third Round

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    The third round is where the Lions can focus on the best player available instead of placing emphasis on any particular need. 

    Detroit picks 12th in this round, thanks to tiebreakers among teams that finished with matching 7-9 records. 

    The five picks prior to Detroit's:

    • Cleveland Browns: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona State
    • Minnesota Vikings: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
    • Buffalo Bills: Billy Turner, OL, North Dakota State
    • New York Giants: Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
    • St. Louis Rams: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

    Dreams of Weston Richburg dance in Lions fans' heads, but he was taken by the Ravens late in the second round. 

    That leaves options at safety, wide receiver, corner and tight end. When all the table pounding is done, the Lions select...

    Dion Bailey, safety from Southern California

    In the above video, Matt Miller compares Bailey to Louis Delmas. The irony that Bailey is tabbed to replace the likely salary-cap casualty is unfortunate. 

    Bailey reminds me more of Don Carey, a more versatile and well-rounded defensive back. His coverage instincts and awareness in helping over the top far surpass was Delmas offers as a safety. 

    Adding a player like Bailey, who can play as both a safety and a corner, helps fortify the shaky secondary without rocking the psyches of the young corners already in place. 

Fourth Round

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    The Lions hold the 11th pick in the fourth round. Right now that pick is No. 107 overall, but that will get bumped down when the compensatory picks are added at the combine. 

    Those picks, which are awarded to teams based on prior free-agent signings and departures, start at the end of the third round. 

    This pick is close enough to the beginning of the third day of the draft that many of the picks figure to be traded. That includes Detroit's pick here, but for the sake of this mock, the team is standing pat. 

    The last five players off the board before the Lions pick here are:

    • Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA
    • Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
    • C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
    • Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
    • Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

    When the pick is delivered to the podium, it will read...

    Bryan Stork, center from Florida State.

    The reigning Rimington Award winner, given to the best interior lineman, Stork is a technically sound pivot with excellent football intelligence. 

    His hand placement and ability to combo block (engaging once, then peeling away and engaging a different defender) are very good. 

    The biggest knock on Stork is his lack of sand in the pants, or base strength. This was on display during Senior Bowl week practice, though he's scrappy enough to avoid getting badly beaten. 

    Stork would provide insurance against Dominic Raiola either retiring or leaving via free agency. If Raiola returns to Detroit for one last year, it affords Stork a year to add strength and learn from a veteran with a similar style. 

Sixth Round

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    Detroit has no fifth-round pick, as it was traded to Jacksonville for Mike Thomas during the 2012 season. 

    Moving onto the sixth round, the Lions are poised to pick another receiving target. It could either be a tight end or a wide receiver, as both positions present both immediate and future need. 

    After some deliberation and arguing among the scouting staff, the pick is...

    Shaq Evans, wide receiver from UCLA.

    In the above video, he is compared to Justin Blackmon, but I offer a different player comparison. It's one that will draw some enmity from Lions fans.

    Evans has a lot of Titus Young to his game. 

    That's right, the Lions go after a player similar to the failed 2011 second-round pick. Evans has the same sort of physicality and downfield speed to Young, who had some effective games before literally going crazy. 

    Evans showed his speed during Senior Bowl week, frequently avoiding jams and getting open down the field. As Darren Page from Detroit Lions Draft noted:

    UCLA receiver Shaq Evans keeps proving his merits this week.  One particular play where he played off of (illegal) contact from Nevin Lawson to snag a ball one-handed in the endzone caught my eye.  He also separated on an endzone fade to tap his feet at the back pylon another time.  He just keeps impressing this week with his deep speed and ability to separate from all comers.

    That sure sounds like someone with real appeal to the Lions at this point in the draft.

Seventh Round

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    The Lions have not drafted a quarterback since the first round in 2009. In fact, the team has drafted just two quarterbacks since 2005, Matthew Stafford and Drew Stanton. 

    Veteran backup Shaun Hill is a free agent and likely won't return. That leaves undrafted third-year player Kellen Moore as the only other quarterback on the roster. 

    It's time to invest a late pick into a developmental quarterback. South Carolina's Connor Shaw fits the bill.

    Shaw comes from a pro-style offense under former Washington coach Steve Spurrier, and he's got ample experience playing in the toughest conference in college football, the SEC. 

    He made a real leap in his development as a senior, cutting back on the mistakes and flashing a better command of the game going on around him. 

    Shaw thrived during NFLPA Game week, earning game MVP honors. He impressed former NFL player Desmond Howard, who noted to The State:

    He’s a football player’s football player. I was talking to some former NFL players who are now scouts and we all agree, he’s just a real tough guy, rugged guy. You know what you are going to get when he is under center and in the game. He’s just a tough kid, and he’s a competitor

    He's got a better arm and more mobility than Moore, providing more upside as a backup quarterback. At worst, he provides the practice squad with a more agile player to emulate scrambling quarterbacks on opposing teams.