Jeff “The Riz” Risdon Lets Us Into His Innermost Fantasies – Where Drafting For The Lions Is Concerned, At Least.
This is not a predictive mock. This is what I would do if I were Bob Quinn and making the decisions. It’s very much a fantasy mock. I tried to make the selections realistic in terms of player availability.
Fantasy Mock Draft: First Round
I’m all about upgrading the pass rush, both in the short and long term. Harold Landry is the dream pick and I’d sprint to the podium at No. 20 if the versatile Boston College product is available. In my scenario Landry and Marcus Davenport are both off the board as edge rushers, so that complicates the choices. Not that I would take Davenport, but still…
My choices then come down to this player pool:
-Leighton Vander Esch
Payne is my highest-rated player of this group, but he’s not a pass rusher. The Lions already have a slightly lesser version of him in A’Shawn Robinson. I want someone to play next to, or on the outside shoulder, of that guy. Vander Esch is a big projection as a pass rusher as he’s been an off-ball LB. I think he’d be a great fit on the defense, but because the dropoff at impact pass rusher is so incredibly steep, I can’t make him the choice here.
That leaves Bryan and Hurst. Both are really impressive athletes who win with quickness and stringing together steps and moves. Both can play tackle or end in different packages. The difference is, Hurst finishes plays and can impact the run game. Bryan doesn’t do either very well. Easy call.
Mo Hurst, DL, Michigan
Fantasy Mock Draft: Second Round
The rest of the draft is generally best player available with the emphasis on positions that need to be filled over the next 1-2 years, if not immediately.
The player I want here is Austin Corbett, who played left tackle at Nevada but will play left guard in the NFL. It’s iffy that he’s on the board at 51. Other choices here are the cluster of RBs, notably Ronald Jones, Kerryon Johnson and Sony Michel. I think it’s less likely they are still available than Corbett. My Mike Gesicki infatuation doesn’t work in Detroit, as the Lions already have their big/fast outside receiver in Kenny Golladay.
Epiphany: it’s my fantasy mock. In my “other” fantasies, Blake Lively and Tiffany Amber Thiessen are always willing to play ball, so to speak…I’ll get what I want.
Austin Corbett, OG, Nevada
Fantasy Mock Draft: Third Round
This is where my look goes a lot more toward the future than the present. I’m not expecting any player taken after the second round to start as a rookie. The fact they don’t need to start in Detroit is a sign of how well Quinn & Co. have stocked the roster.
I’m a big fan of Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates. If he’s on the board, he’s the pick. Alas, I think he’s going in the second half of the second round and won’t sniff the 80s. I like Uchenna Nwosu from USC as an edge presence here too, but I suspect he’ll be gone.
I’m tapping an athletic marvel who needs some technical refinement before he’s a full-time player. The good thing is, he can already contribute in packages at a spot of dire need. When the opposing offense goes small or spread, he can play as an edge and bring heat around the tackle. He can also man the edge with a hand in the dirt when Coach Patricia calls on the NASCAR rush package. He’s Ziggy’s heir apparent at rush end.
Tyquan Lewis, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Just the straight picks on Day Three…
Fourth Round: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Fifth Round: P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
Seventh Round: Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State
Alright, I lied; if you’ve listened to the podcast or are familiar with my work, you know I can’t not say something…
Freeman has carried a heavy workload but he’s a power back with speed who can catch the ball. He runs forward at 230 pounds and can make guys miss in small quarters impressively for a bigger back.
Hall dominated at Shrine Game practices and followed that up with an exceptional pro day. He has the upside to start and be an attacking 3-tech; he had more tackles for loss in three separate months (32.5 total) last year than Taven Bryan did in two seasons (9) at Florida. He’s also blocked 9 kicks on special teams.
James is a slot receiver who would be more highly regarded if he had stayed healthy in 2017. He’s quicker than fast but also fast and instantly transitions from receiver to runner. James is precisely the sort of player who has given the Lions defense fits in recent years. Maybe having him to practice against can help.