Detroit Lions Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions Post Combine
The combine is over, and we're one step closer to the 2014 NFL draft. I can't wait any longer to release my first seven-round mock draft. I just can't.
And why deprive all of you the opportunity voice your opinions on whom the Lions will draft in May?
Lastly, I reserve the right to flip-flop and second-guess myself over the next two months. Although I'll more than likely stick to these picks because they're the best fits for Detroit...for now.
All combine results are courtesy of NFL.com.
Round 1: Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
I'm not going against the grain. In fact, I love Consolation Prize Mike Evans.
I didn't give him that name. It was mandatory due to the constant sentiment from Lions fans that Detroit would settle for the wide receiver.
He has the ability to force defenses to cover the entire width of the field opposite Calvin Johnson. He has a big body (6'5", 231 pounds) with the ability to high-point balls with his soft hands. Therefore, rolling coverage over the top of Johnson would leave teams open to high throws to single coverage to the opposite field.
That's another factor in the argument here. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a tendency to overthrow. Evans and his wide catch-radius would ease the transition as Stafford hopefully improves his touch.
Lastly, any real concerns over his speed should have been put to bed with his 4.53-second 40-yard dash. He's not a burner, but he's fast enough to make plays at the next level.
Round 2: S Deone Bucannon
I tend to follow my instincts until a new nugget of information or the tape persuades me otherwise. I still haven't seen anything to sway me from Washington State safety Deone Bucannon in the second round.
It's a solid marriage of need and best player available. The Lions are desperate for a safety, and Bucannon isn't nearly as far behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor as you think.
He is a great candidate to replace Louis Delmas' physical presence. Additionally, his 4.49 40 killed the "he's slow" argument. That's more than enough when paired with his 36.5" vertical and toughness to handle battles for jump balls.
Round 3: Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Every seven-round projection is going to have at least one pick that seems unlikely. I had the same problem last year when I kept mocking Larry Warford to the Lions in the third round.
Oh wait, that one worked out. So don't tell me this is impossible.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins will get the full-immersion treatment from plenty of teams leading up to the draft. Aside from his tantalizing talent, they'll also find a DUI arrest and a foot injury that kept him out of the combine.
That may be enough to drop him to the Lions' third pick. He would give offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi another versatile piece to move around and keep teams guessing about whom to focus on.
Round 4: Oregon RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas
Josh Huff was a definite candidate here. However, he's reminiscent of past problems with Detroit's wide receivers. The Lions can do better by finding a similarly explosive threat but with better hands.
De'Anthony Thomas is a solid pick here. Prognostications vary widely on where the former Duck will land. Some see him lasting until the sixth, while others have him off the board in the third. After an underwhelming combine (40-yard dash of just 4.50) and with his injury history, it's easy to see why.
But general managers don't get a chance to grab proven playmakers that often. Thomas was a stick of dynamite at the Oregon Blasting Co., breaking enough highlight-reel plays to fill a 32-minute video.
That's all GM Martin Mayhew should need to see.
Thomas is like hot sauce. He can be used in all sorts of places and add to the team in a number of ways. Considering offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's experience with the multi-back Saints, he can find a way to give Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Thomas meaningful snaps, even if they come at the same time.
Round 6: Arkansas K Zach Hocker
David Akers is gone. Fans will want Havard Rugland, aka Kickalicious, to fill the void, but don't forget that Rugland wasn't able to beat out Akers.
That's enough to scare me.
Normally, I'd mock a team for picking a kicker. It seems like a position that could be filled by any number of journeymen. However, with the Akers study firmly in hand and the emergence of super kickers who rock 60-yard field goals and completely alter the game, I'm a believer.
And it doesn't hurt that Mayhew hit with the Sam Martin pick last year.
That's why Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker gets the nod here. He has the leg to nail said 60-yarders, as noted by Bleacher Report's Jeff Risdon. His 13 of 15 connections during his senior year display his consistency.
If he's there, don't be surprised when Mayhew picks a specialist again.
Round 7: Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson
So long, Phillip Gaines. The Rice cornerback was an early favorite for this spot until he set the combine on fire with a 4.38 40.
Hope is not lost, however. Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson is a rather solid prospect to find this late in the draft.
He has the size that the Lions will be looking for with his 188 pounds draped over a 6'1" frame. He also displayed the physicality that the Lions will want out of a dime corner who will play on the inside.
Don't fret, Lions fans. I know I made it until the last pick to add a cornerback. There's a method to the madness.
Cornerback is one of the slowest positions to develop at the next level. Detroit will allow the talent that is already on the roster (Darius Slay, Bill Bentley, etc.) a chance to grow into the No. 2 and 3 roles. The team doesn't need to spend a high pick at the corner.
Besides, it's my first seven-round projection of the year. There's still plenty of time for me to recognize the ridiculousness of my thoughts.