With everyone under contract from last year's overachieving offensive line, it seems ludicrous that the Lions would entertain the thought of an offensive tackle in the first round. Yet, here we are, at least according to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah's mock draft and Taylor Lewan's recent visit, via Dave Birkett.
There are a couple of different theories in play here. First, Riley Reiff, the former first-rounder who was chosen to be Jeff Backus' replacement, is a better fit at guard. Second, the good ole' best-player-available strategy.
As for Reiff, that will be a tough pill to swallow. While a team shouldn't stubbornly stick to its past convictions, admitting just two years after his selection that he can't hack it as a tackle is a bold move, especially when he graded out toward the middle of the pack in just his first year as a full-time starter.
However, if progress can be made, the Lions have to think about grabbing the best player available with each draft pick, even if it means a tough decision like giving up on Reiff on the outside. But just blindly saying that Lewan is better than guys like safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or even cornerback Justin Gilbert is a bit outlandish for my liking.
In the end, Mayhew will also have to weigh Lewan's off-the-field issues in light of the franchise's shift to a more conscientious and accountable environment. It's hard to see Lewan's talent outweighing the negatives when guys like Clinton-Dix and Gilbert are on the board.