Detroit Lions: Looking at First-Round Draft Pick Projections from Every Expert

James Van Etten@jbvanettenContributor IApril 10, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 3:  Defensive back Mark Barron #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during pre-game drills of the Kent State Golden Flashes game on September 3, 2011 at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Alabama defeated Kent State 48-7.  (Photo by Greg McWilliams/Getty Images)
Greg McWilliams/Getty Images

With just more than two weeks before the first round of the 2012 NFL draft begins, whom do the experts see the Detroit Lions selecting with the 23rd overall pick?

Picking the top-five selections is like shooting fish in a barrel, or catching bullfrogs on a golf course, if you’re familiar with my new guilty pleasure, Duck Dynasty.

However, trying to figure out how 20-plus general managers will use their 10 minutes in the first round becomes much more challenging.

This becomes more apparent as mock drafts continue to be issued with no consistent pattern at the back end of the first round.

As for the Lions, they appear willing to wait and see who falls in their lap at 23, but which player that will be is debatable.

Following are the prognostications for the Lions' first-round selection by 25 experts, see whom you agree with. If none, let us know whom you think the pick will be!

Selection: Josh Robinson, Cornerback, Central Florida

Don Banks, Sports Illustrated

Banks stands on an island with this pick; he is the first to have Josh Robinson from Central Florida sneaking into the first round.

This pick makes sense for Banks as he had the Lions taking Janoris Jenkins prior to the marijuana marathon suffered by the Detroit franchise last week.

Robinson tore up the combine with the fastest 40-yard dash time of 4.33 and displays athleticism superior to Jenkins.

He’s a strong tackler who plays well in zone, but with Gunther Cunningham preferring a man-to-man scheme, this pick seems to not only be a reach at 23, but also not the best fit for the system.

Coming from Banks, who is well connected throughout team offices, the eye-opening selection should not be marginalized and he has targeted the Lions in both of his last two drafts taking a corner.

Selection: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama

Sigmund Bloom, Bleacher Report

Sporting News

The obvious need selection with the loss of Eric Wright in this draft is cornerback, and Dre Kirkpatrick would fill that void.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama gets ready to run the 40-yard dash during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Mike Mayock has him ranked as the third-best corner in the draft and the Lions have already had Kirkpatrick in for an official visit on March 20; he appears ready to play in the Motor City.

In fairness to Sigmund Bloom, he has Kirkpatrick penciled in as a best-case scenario for Detroit, not his actual selection, but we’ll go with that for the sake of argument now.

Kirkpatrick has shutdown ability, but because of his thin frame many question his ability to stay physical in man coverage and some even project him moving to the safety position.  

Selection: Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Charles Davis, NFL.com

Clark Judge, CBSSports.com

Analysts Consensus, Drafttek.com

One of two players to receive four expert votes, Mike Adams could be the long-term answer at left tackle.

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 18:  Mike Adams #75 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks for his blocking assignment against the Ohio Bobcats at Ohio Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Lions talked with Adams at the Senior Bowl and had him in for an official visit March 15, so there is some definite interest.

He’s a big athletic tackle with ideal measurables for the position, but his multiple suspensions for team violations, which is no small feat for a Buckeye, along with a history of injuries could make him no more than an overpriced Jason Fox.

Selection: Cordy Glenn, Offensive Tackle, Georgia

Rob Rang, CBSSports.com

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

Dean Holden, Bleacher Report

Nick Kostora, Bleacher Report

The big fella who appears destined to be the next spokesman for SUBWAY keeps climbing up the draft boards and is the second player to garner four expert votes.

Cordy Glenn is a versatile offensive lineman who played tackle in college but has the size and versatility to play both tackle and guard positions on Sundays.

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Wide receiver A.J. Green #8 (L) and offensive lineman Cordy Glenn #71 (R) of the Georgia Bulldogs congratulate Mohamed Massaquoi #1 after one of his three first half touchdowns during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jac
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

There were concerns about how all 345 of his pounds would fare at the combine, but he put that to bed with an excellent weekend in Indy.

If the Lions could get him at 23, it would be a terrific value to grab a player who could play anywhere on the line that although as a group is viewed as middle of the road, it's one of the oldest lines in the league and is in desperate need of some young, healthy blood.

I realize Dean Holden’s most recent mock has the Lions selecting Zach Brown, but my guess after reading some of his work is that the behemoth Bulldog would be his selection.

Selection: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford

Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN

Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

James Van Etten, Bleacher Report

Jonathan Martin has had his stock take a hit in recent weeks, which is just fine with me. Martin started 2012 as second only to Matt Kalil but now finds himself ranked fourth behind Riley Reiff and Mike Adams in Mayock’s top five.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Jonathan Martin #55 and Richard Sherman #9 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after they beat the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

His pro day did nothing to shoot him back up the draft boards, but what he did on the field protecting Andrew Luck should carry more weight.

Martin has all the tools to be a 10-year starter in the league. He’s athletic, smart, tough and technically sound. The knock on him is he doesn’t possess the elite strength.

With Jeff Backus back in the fold for the next two years, adding some muscle mass to a 22-year-old frame is not a concern; having nobody to back up Backus without an extended stay on the injured reserve, though, is.

Martin has missed only two games in his collegiate career and has no lingering injuries. The blind side of Matthew Stafford should be priority No. 1 for the Lions, and having Martin on the roster would let everyone in Allen Park sleep much easier at night knowing their franchise quarterback just received a healthy insurance policy.

Selection: Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois

Todd McShay, ESPN

McShay is riding solo with the selection of Whitney Mercilus.

The one-year starter from Illinois left after a junior campaign that led the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles. He is listed as a linebacker, but is really a rush, 4-3 defensive end and ideal for the Lions’ pass-rushing philosophy.

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 15: Whitney Mercilus #85 of the Illinois Fighting Illini rushes against Jack Mewhort #74 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 17-7. (Photo by Jonath
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the proverbial “great motor” and the ability to chase the play down the line, Mercilus will be a Thursday night selection, and given that Cliff Avril and the team are still far apart in negotiating a long-term deal along with Kyle Vanden Bosch getting closer to retirement, replenishing the defensive end position is absolutely plausible in the first round.

Selection: Nick Perry, Defensive End, Southern California

Chad Reuter, NFL.com

Brian Baldinger, NFL.com

Another defensive end that is coming out as a junior, Nick Perry has Detroit ties and a collegiate career that makes more sense for the Lions.

Perry performed better than Mercilus across the board at the combine and has three years of productivity at Southern California to beef up his resume; he’s not a one-year wonder.

He’s a native of Detroit, played at King High School and was set to sign with Michigan until Lloyd Carr left the program. Coming home and being part of the turnaround would be a Disney-worthy script.

PASADENA, CA - DECEMBER 6:  Nick Perry #8 of the USC Trojans walks on the sideline against the UCLA Bruins on December 6, 2008 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  USC won 28-7.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

Selection: Mark Barron, Strong Safety, Alabama

Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com

Peter Schrager, FOXSports.com

Andrew Garda, Bleacher Report

Mark Barron is viewed as the best safety in the draft and this pick would not be unprecedented for the current Lions regime.

Remember, the Lions dumped Roy Williams into Jerry Jones' lap and selected Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall selection in the 2009 draft.

At the time, drafting a tight end didn’t seem to fill the need for the offensive lineman many perceived was the glaring weakness for Detroit, but the excellent blocking skills Pettigrew showed in college was presented as the reason he could help the offensive line.

Safety help could, in the same fashion, assist the defensive weakness of secondary. The cornerback is the obvious concern, but with the dominant pass-catching tight ends in the NFC, getting some elite help at the safety position makes sense.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Stephon Gilmore #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Florida State Seminoles during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Selection: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina

Charlie Casserly, NFL.com

Albert Breer, NFL.com

With 40 straight starts for the Gamecocks, Stephon Gilmore is as dependable as they come.

Beyond his career at South Carolina, Gilmore impressed at the combine as well. With a 40 time of 4.40 and a shuttle time of 3.94, second amongst corners, Gilmore showed he’s not only big, he’s fast and agile.

He’s a vocal leader, knowing where all his teammates need to be, effectively playing the role of on-field coach and has consistently received praise from both players and coaches for his work ethic and attitude.

A Jim Schwartz kind of player—a gym rat who puts in time in the film room and knows both his opponents and defensive scheme inside and out—the tape shows a full effort player who brings a ferocious attitude on every play.

Gilmore played mostly in off-coverage, which suits the Lions' systems, and had 46 tackles to go along with a team-high four interceptions last year. He could be the best fit at cornerback in the draft for Detroit.

Selection: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com

Will Brinson, CBSSports.com

Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com

With what happened last week with Mikel Leshoure and Nick Fairley, drafting Jenoris Jenkins in the first round would be a public relations nightmare for the Lions.

There is very little possibility that Detroit would risk bringing in a player with previous substance abuse issues similar to the ones it's currently dealing with.

Jenkins has first-round talent, but there are several other options with much lower risk/reward ratios than a player kicked out of an SEC program who spent too much time courting Mary Jane.

If given the option, I believe all three of these experts would choose someone other than Jenkins today.


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