1. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas —
The Lions selected defensive end Ezekiel Ansah in the first round on Thursday night. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t solidify the defensive front. While many defensive ends have fell into the second round, Okafor is my favorite 4-3 defensive end in this class.
Sure, he missed all but the bench press at the NFL combine due to a bruised hip flexor he suffered at the Senior Bowl. He then followed that up by running a 4.91 40-yard dash at his Texas pro day.
However, tape doesn’t lie. He gets off the ball with ease, shows incredible strength in run defense — played defensive tackle for Texas as a sophomore — and has the quickness to get around the edge. He’ll never blow you away with athleticism, but has drawn high raves as a leader and through his work ethic.
Okafor displays a powerful punch and arm extension which allows him into the backfield. His quick hands allow him to disengage lineman and help in run defense.
If the Jason Jones signing says anything about a sheme change in Detroit, Okafor would be a terrific fit from day one. His senior year at Texas, he had 12.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback pressures, and four forced fumbles.
2. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee —
In twitters live #mocksix, featuring my colleague Zac Snyder as the Lions GM, he took Justin Hunter with the 36th pick. Hunter has the size, standing 6’4 196 lbs., and speed — ran a 4.43 forty-yard dash at the NFL combine — combination that intrigues NFL scouts.
ESPN’s Todd McShay had this to say on Hunter.
If you’re looking for someone to run vertical routes and stretch the field … a poor man’s Randy Moss, that’s what Justin Hunter is. … He’s a silky-smooth route runner, and he’s the guy quite honestly when they needed a throw, when they needed to pick up a first down, when they needed a play at Tennessee, that’s where they went. It wasn’t to the other guy, Patterson. He’s the one who showed up consistently on tape. I think he’s a better football player than Cordarelle Patterson.
Many believe he will be available in the second, but will the Lions take a third straight wide receiver in the second round?
3. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State –
If not for an ACL injury, Carradine would have been a top-10 pick. He is very fast off the edge with a nice repertoire of moves. His good hands allow him to shed blocks and uses his explosiveness to crash the pocket.
Bleacher Reports Sigmund Bloom had this to say:
Carradine is the most natural pass-rusher in this draft class. He bends and turns the corner like he was born to do it, and he’s strong enough to stagger an offensive tackle with his punch. “Tank” has a killer instinct when he is close to the quarterback and uncoils to seal the deal with sure results when he is in range. His whole game is aggressive, and offensive tackles are always on their heels when they are trying to block Carradine.
If the Lions want to solidify their defensive end position, Carradine could be the pick.
4. Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State –
No, I don’t think the Lions pursue Manti Te’o in the second round. Instead, it’s Arthur Brown. He is incredibly athletic, playing great in space as a pass defender. Athletic enough to cover tight ends or backs, he has great instincts and runs sideline to sideline making plays (ran a 4.58 forty-yard dash at his pro day).
Mike Mayock had this to say:
“This kid really can play. Played inside at Kansas State and a lot of people think he’ll stay inside at the next level. But I kind of like him as a 4-3 WILL [weak side]. He can run. He stays square. He’s tough. He comes downhill. He tackles… I think he’s a second-round pick all day long. He’s a guy who, if you got stuck at the end of the first round, you’d feel comfortable betting on him.”
If the Lions want to fill their hole at outside linebacker, Arthur Brown could be their pick.
5. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State —
If the Lions pass on Dee Milliner in the first round, they may look at cornerback in the second. With three corners drafted last year, it seems unlikely they take another one here. MLives Anwar Richardson had this to say.
However, Detroit is stacked at cornerback. Mayhew used three draft picks on cornerbacks last year. Bill Bentley was a third-round selection, Chris Greenwood followed in the fifth-round, while Jonte Green was a sixth-rounder. Bentley was placed on injured reserve after starting in three of four games last season, Greenwood did not play due to an abdominal injury, while Green started in five of the 15 games he appeared in.
That may be the case, but there’s no denying Banks talent. At 6-foot-2 215 lbs., he has the size and strength to play press-man coverage. Banks has great length to make it very difficult for quarterbacks to get the ball around him. In addition, he has good ball skills.
If the Lions are looking for a corner in the second round, Banks could very well be the pick.