2011 NFL Mock Draft: HäMMëR Predicts the Detroit Lions v. 1.1
Now that the Detroit Lions have snapped their in-division losing streak against the Green Bay Packers and have ended their 26-game road skid by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the confines of Raymond James Stadium this past Sunday, the Lions have likely played themselves out of contention to acquire the services of either of the two elite cornerbacks in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft: LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara.
It is difficult to imagine either Peterson or Amukamara sliding outside the top-five selections to be made in late April, 2011, and I have made adjustments to the Detroit Lions prospective new draft position along with the young men who might be available for selection when the Lions are on the clock for each of their respective picks.
The departure of LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson as the Detroit Lions top selection affords speculation as to who might be on the board with the No. 6 overall selection. Hopefully the Detroit Lions will win this weekend in Miami and at home against Minnesota to bring in 2011 on a victorious note, once again altering the Detroit Lions draft position.
I have been a Detroit Lions mock draft enthusiast for several years. My selections are largely guided by the information made available by the fine people at NFLDraftScout (www.nfldraftscout.com) and Drafttek (www.drafttek.com). Michael Sudds is a draft prospect authority and his opinion is one that I highly value. I would like to credit these sources, as well as make them available to you in your quest to “mock the Detroit Lions draft” like many of us do.
Here is the template from which I will be working as of today, December 15, 2010. The Detroit Lions have their own picks in rounds one through six (1.-6.a.), plus Philadelphia’s sixth-round pick (6.b.), for a current total of seven picks in the 2011 NFL Draft.
No. Rnd Ovrl
1. 1. (6)
2. 2. (35)
3. 3. (67)
4. 4. (100)
5. 5. (134)
6. 6.a. (173)
7. 6.b. (195)
I try to allow for a reasonable number of compensatory picks beginning at the end of the third round to give a more realistic feel for where the overall selection will be made. When appropriate, I will offer primary and alternate player picks for each prospective draft selection.
Let’s get started and GO LIONS WIN!
Pick No. 7, Round 6 (Pick B), Ryan Jones, CB, NW Missouri State
Allow me to say that there is no disrespect intended to any of these fine young men, who are outstanding, special athletes, and where I slot them in my mock draft process is not a slight to them or their ability, rather my guess as to where they might fall in the draft resultant from a myriad of factors.
Two years ago, the Kansas City Chiefs spent a fifth-round pick, No. 140 overall, on former Division II and GLIAC standout from Grand Valley State University, cornerback Brandon Carr. This past Sunday, Carr was instrumental in shutting down Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, having started every game since joining the Chiefs in 2008, and contributing 50 total tackles and 20 passes defended this season.
My paradigm is that there is always a late-round gem to be found that comes from outside the ranks of Division I (FBS) college football, and one of this year’s leading candidates is Northwest Missouri State cornerback Ryan Jones.
To the extent that players like Brandon Carr and Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State, FCS, formerly Division I-AA) have made effective contributions to the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens respectively, I would like to see Detroit Lions general manager, Martin Mayhew, use his super-sleuth personnel decoder ring to make a great late-round selection with a player like Ryan Jones from NWMSU.
Jones was selected to the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team, with six interceptions and 19 passes defended. At nearly 5’11” and 195 pounds, Jones runs about a 4.42 40-yard, and should have both the speed and athleticism to be able to stay with NFL receivers and not get beat deep due to lack of foot speed.
Pick No. 6, Round 6 (Pick A), Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
There will be certain players in the 2011 draft, just like in every draft before this one, where their draft stock drops on draft weekend due to injury, past or present. Such is the precipice for my mock draft selection atop the sixth round for the Detroit Lions.
Chykie Brown would have been on his way to more than 30 career starts for the Longhorns, but a broken forearm during Texas’ loss to Kansas State put an end to Brown’s season. The 29-game starter stands at 5’ 11 ½” tall and weighs in at 194 pounds, while posting 4.43 40-yard speed.
Brown’s size, speed and athleticism would make for a good addition to Detroit’s defensive backfield. Finding late-round or undrafted-free-agent players who can make a valuable contribution is nothing new for Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who was instrumental in the selection and development of Tennessee Titans 2008 All-Pro cornerback, Cortland Finnegan, a former seventh-round draft pick , (No. 215 overall) out of Samford University.
Chykie Brown has played against the Big 12’s best receivers and comes from a Mack Brown Texas football program that is well-respected for producing NFL-level talent. Brown atop the sixth round would represent great value for the Detroit Lions in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Pick No. 5, Round 5, Doug Hogue, OLB, Syracuse
After further deliberation, consideration and introspection, I have changed the Detroit Lions fifth-round selection to Syracuse linebacker Doug Hogue, who fits the Schwartz mold for athletic, multi-dimensional playmakers, and a close image of his former stud linebacker while with the Tennessee Titans, a former Syracuse linebacker himself, Keith Bulluck.
Hogue is a converted running back and possesses the type of speed and athleticism that would make for a good fit at outside linebacker for the Detroit Lions. Hogue has tremendous upside as a pro prospect and has a knack for getting tackles for loss. At 6’2” and 226 pounds, Hogue will have the speed to stay with the tight end or the back coming out of the backfield and the skill to defend the pass and make a tackle.
Hogue would be my candidate to compete with Zack Follett at the weak side outside linebacker position. This is a position in the draft where the club might find a future swing tackle or guard, and if so, Clemson’s Chris Hairston would still be on my radar atop the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Pick No. 4, Round 4, John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin
The conscientious deliberation, consideration and introspection afforded to the fifth-round pick of the Detroit Lions in the 2011 NFL Draft caused me to upgrade Wisconsin All-America offensive guard to the Lions pick atop the fourth round.
Moffitt is such a value and potential upgrade to the Detroit Lions slack productivity from the right guard position that it would be a shame not to select John atop the fourth round rather than lose him to another suitor before the Lions could select him atop the fifth round. While there is no guarantee that Moffitt will fall past the third round in the 2011 NFL Draft, to me, he represents value at the top of the fourth round.
Since the Detroit Lions don’t seem to be in a rush to make a change at the center position, maybe the addition of John Moffitt at right guard could be a way to get a better push from the interior of the Lions offensive line, while closely observing Dominic Raiola en route to becoming the future center for the Detroit Lions. I don’t see the Detroit Lions being able to effectively or consistently run the football at will until the club makes future personnel changes to increase the effectiveness of play at the center and right guard positions.
I would be in favor of a center-right guard future tandem of John Moffitt and Chris Hairston. That’s grading the road in Wayne County. An alternate selection atop the fourth round could be USC center Kris O’Dowd.
Pick No. 3, Round 3, Nate Irving, MLB, North Carolina State
It is my estimation, as draft day draws nearer, that North Carolina State linebacker Nate Irving’s draft stock is going to climb. How far his stock rises is yet to be determined, but Mayhew and Schwartz have an affinity for adding multi-dimensional players who are both fast and quick, can make a play on the ball, and can help to flip the field on defense. That is Nate Irving.
As I detail my thought process in my mind’s eye, I can’t see Nate Irving falling out of the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. I have a strong feeling that his combine numbers are going to solidify and high third-round grade.
In my previous mock draft, I had the Lions taking Washington tackling machine, Mason Foster, in the third round and Nate Irving in the fourth round. After further consideration, it seemed just a little bit too hopeful that the Lions would be so fortunate, so I went in a more pragmatic direction and leaned toward the idea that Foster could be a late second-round pick and Irving being available atop the third.
Mason Foster remains an alternate pick atop the third round, as does Texas cornerback, Aaron Williams, or Miami (FL) linebacker, Colin McCarthy.
Honestly, Detroit Lions fans, I’m ready to move on from the DeAndre Levy at middle linebacker experiment. If the Lions were to select Nate Irving, I would play Nate at middle linebacker and move DeAndre to strong side outside linebacker (replacing Julian Peterson).
I haven’t seen very much this season that is indicative of Levy’s play being worthy of the “three down” MLB for the Detroit Lions. I don’t know to what extent whiffing on tackles, not being able to get off blocks, and not being able to consistently defend the pass have to do with his injuries this season, so hopefully, if a change is not made at middle linebacker, improved health will lead to improved play and consistent production by DeAndre Levy.
Pick No. 2, Round 2, Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
In the event that the Detroit Lions miss out on acquiring either Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara with their first-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions would do well to take a good look at the best cornerback still available when the team picks atop the second round.
When the first-round run on cornerbacks took all of the Lions player hopefuls off the board by the time the Minnesota Vikings were on the clock with the 30th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Martin Mayhew worked a deal with Rick Spielman that allowed the Lions to select California RB Jahvid Best, while the Vikings were content to move back and take Virginia cornerback Chris Cook atop the second round.
In my previous mock draft, I had the Lions taking LSU’s Patrick Peterson with their first-round selection and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones in the second round. I think the Lions will play themselves out of serious contention for both.
Jimmy Smith, the 6’2” 205-pound speedster from the University of Colorado, has seen action in about 40 games, but as a fulltime starter only for the past couple of seasons. His play earned him 2010 First Team All Big 12 honors.
Big 12 teams tend to throw away from Jimmy Smith, so the opponent’s respect for his coverage ability has resulted in fewer opportunities for “stats” for Smith. Jimmy Smith is another playmaker who can take it “all the way to the house” anytime he is able to get his hands on the ball.
Colorado’s Jimmy Smith has a similar size/speed combination as former Utah defensive back Sean Smith, the Miami Dolphins starting cornerback opposite Vernon Davis. I’ll be at the game in Miami to get a closer look at the Davis-Smith cornerback tandem, and hope that Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson each have a banner day.
And my new top selection for the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is...
Pick No. 1, Round 1, No. 6 Selection Overall, Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
The Detroit Lions would make a strength “stronger” if they were to select consensus All-America defensive end, Da’Quan Bowers, with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
While the final draft order is yet to be finalized, and won’t be for several months, it is fun to speculate who might be on the board when the Detroit Lions make their first selection in the third draft under general manager, Martin Mayhew, and head coach, Jim Schwartz. In this mock draft scenario, I have Da’Quan Bowers becoming a Detroit Lion with the sixth overall selection in 2011.
Kyle Vanden Bosch recently had neck surgery to remove a disc and fuse the C6-C7 vertebrae in his neck, and has been released from the doctor’s care to train and rehabilitate without restriction. My hope is that KVB is able to return to the field of play at a high level and continue to lead the Lions defensive linemen and continue his tutelage, which has produced a marked difference on this team’s defensive line compared to recent years past.
Cliff Avril is on the last year of his rookie contract and Mayhew, Lewand, Schwartz & Company should get “Super Cliff”, as I like to call him, under contract for the next four-to-six years prior to season’s end. With Cliff’s status yet to be determined and Kyle Vanden Bosch’s long-term ability in question, the Lions would likely do well to select Da’Quan Bowers should he be available to them atop the first round.
Da’Quan Bowers finished the 2010 college football campaign as the national leader in sacks with 15.5 and had the second-most tackles for loss in the country with 25. Equally impressive is the consistency of his productivity, when Da’Quan had a streak of nine consecutive games with a sack. Da’Quan Bowers plus Ndamukong Suh equals disaster for Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. I like that kind of disaster for Chicago and Green Bay.
As witnessed during the home game against the Green Bay Packers, it is possible to win a game by the score of 7-3 if you can play defense and run the football. The addition of Da’Quan Bowers would give the Detroit Lions another relentless pass rusher to pair with Ndamukong Suh for the long haul. It would give the Detroit Lions the 2009 and 2010 Bronco Nagurski Trophy winners in Suh and Bowers.
Folks from Michigan play a card game called euchre. Should the Lions land Da’Quan in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, it would seem from a defensive standpoint that they would have both the right (Suh) and left Bowers. It could certainly be the recipe for a long-term winning hand.
Should the Detroit Lions continue to win, as they are completely capable of winning out the remainder of games against Miami and Minnesota, we might be talking about prospective middle linebacker Bruce Carter from North Carolina.
There was that one linebacker from North Carolina who was pretty good at breaking quarterback’s legs. I wonder if this guy could end up being as good as that guy?
GO LIONS WIN!
HäMMëR's 2011 Detroit Lions Mock Draft: December 20, 2010 v. 1.1
|2011 Detroit Lions Mock Draft: December 20, 2010 v. 1.1|
|3.||3.||(67)||Nate Irving||MLB||North Carolina State||6'1"||232||4.68|
|7.||6.b.||(195)||Ryan Jones||CB||NW Missouri State||5'11"||195||4.42|
Just in case you want to bounce mock version 1.1 against last week's mock:
Go Lions! Beat the Dolphins!
Rock on and see you in Miami!