2011 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions

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It’s almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team.  This room is called the “War Room” for a reason.  Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don’t believe the team can do without.

In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they’re on the clock.  We’ll cover all 32 teams, but today’s segment is dedicated to the: Detroit Lions. 

Since the Lions jettisoned Matt Millen during the 2008 season and began the post-Millen era by selecting quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall selection in the ’09 draft and followed that up by taking Ndamukong Suh with the second pick of the ’10 draft, things have begun to look up in Detroit.  Other good personnel moves have the Lions entering 2011 with expectations to be more competitive in the NFC North than they have been for a while, but it’s still a work in progress.

The most urgent need for this team is protection for Stafford, who’s struggled with injuries in his brief NFL career. Detroit could look at a guy like Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith or Nate Solder with their 13th overall selection—that is if they don’t trade down. Center could also be a focus for this team in the middle rounds. Staying on the offensive side of the ball, Detroit could look for help for Jahvid Best in the later rounds by taking a bigger runner who could perhaps come in on short-yardage plays.

On defense, the Lions have a few holes as well, most notably at outside linebacker and cornerback. If they cannot retain Chris Houston, who’s a free agent this offseason, they could look at a corner in the first or second round, and then maybe again in a later round. The Lions could pick up a second or third round linebacker as well.

Detroit Lions Mock Draft

Round 1 (#13): Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Eagles: I like the Lions to take the best available offensive tackle here if they don’t trade back. For a team hoping to compete in the division sooner rather than later, Castonzo makes the most sense because he’s the most pro-ready.

Round 2 (#44): Curtis Brown, CB, Texas Longhorns: Cornerback is an area of need in Detroit and Brown could be a good pickup in the second.

Round 3 (#75): Mason Foster, OLB, Washington Huskies: Julian Peterson is gone and the Lions need to add a young outside linebacker to what is turning into a good defense. Cornerback is not out of the question here even though they took one in the second in this mock.

Round 4 (#107): Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU Tigers: The Lions need to be serious about keeping Stafford healthy.

Round 5 (#154): Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock: Yet another offensive lineman to bolster and improve the offensive line. This could also be where the Lions look at power running backs like Stevan Ridley of LSU.

Round 7 (#205): Eric Gordon, OLB, Michigan State Spartans: This could be a terrific value on a guy who could go in the middle rounds. Help at linebacker is needed for a team on the verge of competing for a division title.

That’s how it played out in our Mock of the Detroit Lions “War Room”

Please Note: We will be Hosting a LIVE CHAT during the 2011 NFL Draft. Please join us and take part in the discussion in the room. We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions as the 2011 NFL Draft progresses in real time.

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    Danny Hobrock, is our College Football Editor and NCAA Football On-Air Personality. Danny's writing on College Pigskin has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DannyHobrock