We are just 10 days and change away from the NFL Draft and I decided to take a look at what ESPN draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. think the Lions are going to do in the first round. Without further ado let’s get started.
Kiper – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions can plug a leaky pass defense in two ways. They could target a needed pass-rusher here, or they could go after the best cornerback in the draft if he’s available. If Ansah is off the board, Detroit can sprint to the podium with the assurance that it has upgraded at cornerback, which is the second-biggest need for this team. Milliner is ready to start and succeed early, and defensive line depth in this draft should have the Lions confident they can add pass-rushing value in Round 2.
Can’t say anything bad about the possibility of Milliner coming to Detroit. The Lions upgraded the secondary with the resigning of Chris Houston and Louis Delmas while also bringing in Glover Quin, but they still need to get better on the back-end.
The Lions drafted three corners last year, but none really made an impact in their first seasons, so bringing in Milliner will cause for some competition for the nickel corner position as well.
McShay – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Scenario 1: The Lions need to fill the hole left by the retirement of longtime OT Jeff Backus, and Fisher is the best natural pass-blocker in the class. He would be a huge asset as Detroit tries to keep franchise QB Matthew Stafford upright.
Scenario 2: Cornerback has been a top need for some time, and with Milliner still on the board in this scenario he would have to be a consideration.
Scenario 3: Were Ansah to be available, he could make sense as a rotational player early on, who could eventually develop into a difference-maker alongside DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
McShay’s first choice for the Lions is to go offensive line and bring in Fisher. With the retirement of Jeff Backus, Detroit has a whole up front to protect Matt Stafford. I like the idea of Fisher coming here and have no fear of him not playing the best competition in the MAC. He would be able to come in and start immediately for this team, and that is an upgrade.
His second scenario is Milliner, and as previously mentioned above I like that pick as well.
The third scenario is where I have a problem, with the Lions taking BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah. I agree with McShay that DE is a position of need, but I do not think as highly as others on Ansah.
He is a freak athlete and raw as hell, but do the Lions have the time for a guy like him to develop properly? Will a coach and a GM on the hot seat really take a guy who needs coaching, grooming and time to learn the game, and then give him all of that? I think if the Lions take Ansah they will rush him on to the field and he will become a major bust.
As for a third option, I think the Lions should wait and grab a DE later in the draft. Look for a guy like Chance Warmack to be an option here, or even better the Lions are able to move back.
Curtis and I will have a more in-depth mock draft coming up closer to the actual draft so keep an eye out for that. As always feel free to let us know what you think fans either at DetroitSportsBloggers.com or on Facebook and Twitter.