It’s NFL draft season and here is the first edition of the 2018 Detroit Lions mock draft. The upcoming free agency could really throw a wrench in the team needs, but even middling veteran additions should not completely change GM Bob Quinn‘s draft strategy.
REMINDER: There is still a ton of speculation as far as where some prospects will fall in the draft. I personally feel a majority of the following players should be selected higher, but I have also seen other mocks with the prospect falling in the same range.
FIRST ROUND (20th overall)
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Forget about Landry’s injury-plagued 2017 and look back on his 16.5-sack 2016 season. At 6-foot-3, 252-pounds, he had an elite combine with game film to back his measurements. Perhaps most impressive was his 6.88 3-cone drill (95th percentile for edge rushers).
Landy has that natural bend and burst around the edge that teams covet. The Lions should be focused on players that can get to the quarterback in round one– Landry fits the bill.
When Harold Landry uses his hands – mixed in with his get off/loose hips to flatten to QB.. It’s beautiful to watch pic.twitter.com/7tnWg3xcqi
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 8, 2018
SECOND ROUND (51st overall)
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Hurst, unfortunately, did not pass his physical at the combine due to an irregular EKG reading. He is undergoing further testing. Reports have surfaced that the University of Michigan was aware of the condition and cleared him to play anyway. The severity of the ailment seems to be a bit subjective.
I may be in the minority, but he is my top-rated defensive tackle in this class. Pro Football Focus had the highest grade on him for any interior defensive lineman as well. His upside is worth the risk at this stage in the draft.
If not for the heart issue, he would be squarely in the conversation for the Lions in the first. No one has a quicker, more disruptive first step. His style of play is reminiscent of Geno Atkins or Aaron Donald. I’m not saying he will have that type of success, but he fits the mold.
THIRD ROUND (82nd overall)
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Lions fans will be sweating bullets waiting for Quinn to select their feature running back. Luckily for Detroit, the running back class is one of the deepest positions and a quality starter can be found in the mid rounds– as is the case most years. I also fully believe that a back will be added in free agency to mitigate the dire need.
Penny led the nation with 2,248 rushing yards and 23 TDs in 2017. He comes from a system that has put up some serious rushing numbers in the past.
At 220-pounds and a 4.46 40-yard dash, he possesses the size and speed of a true workhorse running back. The biggest concern will be his pass protection, but outside of that, he is one of the more complete backs in the draft. Vision, power, break-tackle ability, and agility is all there.
FOURTH ROUND (113th overall)
Frank Ragnow, G/C, Arkansas
Ragnow is somewhat flying under the radar. Projected anywhere from the 2-5th round, it wouldn’t surprise me if he fell into the earlier range of that prognostication.
Once again, the guard/center class is another position group that is fairly deep at a position of need. Ragnow could step in and replace another Arkansas interior lineman (Travis Swanson) on the Lions offensive front.
The 6-foot-5, 307-pound center is known for his power in the run game, but his pass protection might even be better. According to Pro Football Focus, Ragnow allowed a measly one quarterback hurry last year while lined up at center. He did play one game at right guard and surrendered two hurries. No matter the case, he allowed a total of three hurries on 488 snaps.
FIFTH ROUND (144th overall)
Genard Avery, LB, Memphis
At this point in the draft, it’s all about finding guys that can contribute in some way to the team. Any player that turns into a solid full-time starter is a bonus.
Avery is a player that ripped up the combine and forced me to take a closer look at the film. He is a jack of all trades. Despite not having ideal length for a pass rusher, his quickness was very effective when getting after the quarterback. His 4.59 speed at 248-pounds gives him the ability to play inside yet cover sideline to sideline. Opponents were frequently found getting tackled for a loss. Avery’s 22 TFLs ranked in the top ten of the FBS.
There is not going to a perfect prospect this late in the draft. Needless to say, there are some flaws in his game, but there is also a lot to like that could be utilized well under HC Matt Patricia.
SEVENTH ROUND (211th overall)
Dane Cruikshank, S/CB, Arizona
After a solid East-West Shrine game and an even better combine, Cruikshank will be drafted on athletic potential alone. The 6-foot-1, 209-pounder looks like a safety but moves like a corner. He is a very willing tackler who often struggles in coverage. Sounds like the perfect special teamer.
You don’t expect much out of a seventh rounder, but he could fulfill a very similar role as longtime Lion, Don Carey.
The former JUCO transfer does carry a good amount of confidence, maybe to a fault.