Detroit Lions Podcast Presents Draft Writer Jeff Risdon’s First Lions Mock Draft For 2018.
In order to properly set this up, the four picks off the board before the Lions pick here at No. 20:
Tremaine Edmonds, OLB, Virginia Tech
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
First round, No. 20 overall
The pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Hurst’s fall has a lot more to do with the teams picking above here than any slight to his considerable talents. In this incarnation I had four QBs, four OL, five DE/OLB, two RBs, three DBs and one DT off the board.
Hurst was consistently disruptive for the talented Wolverines front, and the biggest NFL worry about him I’ve heard from scouts is that he’s not really an alpha dog up front but more of a co-leader of a strong pack. I think he’s better than that, a capable upfield rusher who is also excellent at handling his assignments in the run game. His size gives the versatility to play inside in a NASCAR rush package or on the strongside edge in either a 3- or 4-man front.
Second round, No. 51 overall
The pick: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
If you listen to the podcasts at all or follow me on Twitter, you know I loathe how Ameer Abdullah takes a static handoff and immediately runs sideways. Jones doesn’t do that. He attacks the hole north/south and brings great acceleration, even from a shotgun/static exchange. He’s also decent (if underutilized) in the passing game, but he really thrived on third and less than five: his final 22 carries in those situations, he converted 20 times. I’ve been reliably told by those familiar with his training he’s at least 210 pounds and will run faster than 4.52 in the 40 in Indy.
Third round, No. 82 overall
The pick: Deshon Elliott, S, Texas
Glover Quin is fantastic. He’s also 32, in need of both help around him and an eventual replacement. Like Quin, Elliott is a do-it-all safety. He can line up in single-high but also drop into the box or handle coverage responsibility in Cover-2 thru Cover-4. He was wildly productive in 2017, with six interceptions and 8.5 tackles for loss. Two of those picks went to the house, and his opportunistic vein is a nice balance for his average speed for the position.
Fourth round, No. 113 overall
The pick: JaVon Rolland-Jones, Edge, Arkansas State
The better question for most readers is probably, “who?” but Lions fans need to learn the name. Rolland-Jones finished tied for second in the nation in sacks (with Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman) as a 242-pound defensive end. He was a four-year starter and three-time All-Sun Belt honoree. Only Terrell Suggs recorded more career sacks amongst FBS-level players and his closing burst once he gets the edge is reminiscent of T-Sizzle.
During Shrine Game week, “JRJ” played primarily off-ball OLB (there is no blitzing in the game) and showed enough fluidity and speed to handle assignments. In Matt Patricia’s amorphous front, he can line up at 4-3 DE, move to SAM in an Over front, or play as a 3-4 rush OLB. The Lions hosted him for dinner in St. Pete, an indication of more than casual interest.
Fifth round, No. 144 overall
The pick: Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
A converted defensive end who blew up in the weight room (he’s squatted 670 pounds) during his time in Blacksburg, Teller is still developing his blocking ability. He does a good job of keeping his center of gravity low, an important trait for a top-heavy OL. He allowed just 2.5 sacks and committed only two penalties in his final 20 starts, including a shutout vs. Clemson’s loaded DL. His defensive background comes in handy in identifying the plan of attack coming at him. Despite his lean (for a lineman) build, he is not very good in space.
Seventh round, No. 211 overall
The pick: Jarvion Franklin, RB, Western Michigan
Like I’m not going to draft a MAC player…Franklin was a consistently productive four-year contributor with very effective between-the-tackles running. At 5-11 and 230 pounds, he’s got ideal build for a power runner and he also brings good vision and balance to the table. I like that he’s been a willing member of a backfield-by-committee already.
As an added bonus, here are five priority free agents I would sign:
Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech
Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio U.
Jaylen Dunlap, CB, Illinois
Marcus Baugh, TE, Ohio State
Brad Lundblade, OG, Oklahoma State
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow Jeff Risdon on Twitter @JeffRisdon.