Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Detroit Lions' Top-3 Picks
The worst-case scenario for you involving the NFL draft is having to read another mock draft. Thus, we here at Bleacher Report decided to bring you a best-case scenario that involved looking at each of the first three rounds for the Detroit Lions and finding the potential home runs and strikeouts.
That was a bit of a stretch, but you get the point.
Click through to find out which players or positions would work well in each round and which ones won't.
All stats, rankings and grades are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and require a subscription.
Round 1, Pick 10: Worst Case
This isn't an indictment of either Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert. They're both fine players and worthy of first-round picks.
They just shouldn't be Detroit Lions.
The Lions have spent plenty of picks over the past few years adding young talent to the depth chart and cornerbacks take a ton of time to develop. Bringing in either one of these guys to start over Darius Slay and Bill Bentley will stunt their growth and essentially waste the investment made in the players on the current roster.
Plus, each flashed some signs of competency last year. They weren't consistent, but that's where the development comes in. A mature player consistently makes the right play, and you only become mature by experience.
Lastly, fans love to point to Chris Houston as a problem. He certainly wasn't good last year, but he has played well in the past and would still count for $5.2 million if cut. Therefore, there's a good chance he rebounds, and even if he doesn't, cutting him this year isn't an option.
The Lions have invested a lot of money and draft picks into the position. Pulling the plug now would be like buying a new car because your one-year-old vehicle got a flat tire.
Round 1, Pick 10: Best Case
There's little to no way Sammy Watkins falls down to the Lions' spot.
So, I'm cheating a bit here because that's how much better Watkins would be than pretty much any other first-round scenario for Detroit, other than Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. And, obviously, all of these guys would require a trade.
There are downsides people have been quick to point out, namely that losing the later picks in a deep draft isn't a great way to build depth. But the Lions don't have too many more years left of Calvin Johnson's prime. Watkins would help extend Megatron's shelf life by taking some of the load off of him and his balky knee.
Plus, Detroit's best shot at winning a title is going to come in the next few years while Johnson resides at all-world status. Nobody else besides Mack and Clowney will give Detroit a better chance to win right now.
So yes, the best-case scenario for this pick is a trade.
Round 2, Pick 45: Worst Case
A cornerback here still isn't palatable, but apparently, it's considered lazy to copy and paste slides. So we'll change the focus here.
Let's harp on defensive tackles.
There are scenarios where Florida State product Timmy Jernigan falls down the board. There's also the possibility general manager Martin Mayhew's love of defensive tackles could get him to spring for Stephon Tuitt or Kelcy Quarles.
I understand Nick Fairley is probably not a long-term answer for the Lions. I also understand I just advocated adding a wide receiver with the top pick when Detroit already has Johnson and Golden Tate.
The difference here is the opportunities to play three defensive tackles at the same time are extremely rare. Plus, C.J. Mosley is more than capable as a backup. In fact, he graded out as the 24th best at the position last season despite only seeing 333 snaps.
The Lions are set at defensive tackle for at least the next year. They shouldn't waste high picks on guys who can't contribute on the field in the near future.
Round 2, Pick 45: Best Case
There shouldn't be too much arguing or mocking here. Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy would be a huge pickup in the second round.
Is it likely? Not exactly.
Van Noy is one of the under-the-radar gems of this draft. He can rush the passer as well as drop into coverage (two interceptions last year alone). In short, he can do it all.
The draft is a funny thing, and stranger things have certainly happened. If you were to re-draft last year, here's betting Larry Warford wouldn't slip to the third round, so there's definitely a chance.
Round 3, Pick 76: Worst Case
Once the third round rolls around, teams might be more willing to take a shot since the picks don't generally carry as much value. One risk the Lions should avoid this early is taking a kicker.
The odds of this happening are pretty slim, but after watching Mayhew take a punter last season in the fifth round, I'm not putting anything past him.
Regardless of Sam Martin's solid performance, it's hard not to think of the other players who could have been nabbed at that spot when Martin could be taken later.
The Lions are in the market for a kicker. Just keep it to the later rounds.
Round 3, Pick 76: Best Case
The choice of a kicker on the last slide might have seemed lame. However, there are few ways to go that would be considered tragic at this point in the draft.
That doesn't mean there aren't picks that could strike gold here. Just like last year, the heady move in the third round would be along the offensive line.
There are two centers the Lions could target to eventually replace Dominic Raiola: Weston Richburg and Marcus Martin. Either could fit the bill should Mayhew pull the trigger.
Regardless of the pick here, there aren't many ways Detroit could go wrong this late. Just don't pick a kicker, and if you want to make the fans happy, get a center.