ESPN’s Todd McShay is out with a new mock draft and his pick for the Detroit Lions has changed from defense to offense since his previous edition.
The last time Todd McShay released a mock draft on ESPN.com he had the Detroit Lions selecting Alabama middle linebacker Reggie Ragland. In his post-combine mock, McShay has the Lions going in another direction completely, changing his pick from defense to offense.
This time the pick is Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker. McShay offers the following commentary:
"Matthew Stafford was sacked 89 times the past two seasons, so the Lions have to address their offensive line somehow this offseason. Decker has good experience and is a solid fit at right tackle — a specific need for Detroit up front. A highly efficient run-blocker, Decker plays with enough toughness and range to hold up in pass protection at the next level."
The interesting thing about the change from McShay is that his previous mock had Ragland going to the Lions with Decker still available (he went 18th to the Indianapolis Colts) but that the change this time isn’t because Ragland wasn’t available. Ragland drops to 27th overall to the Green Bay Packers this time around.
In his write-up for Ragland, McShay cites a potential fall due to team needs and positional value. The Lions certainly have a need at middle linebacker after parting ways with Stephen Tulloch but general manager Bob Quinn noted that the Lions will play more nickel than base defense and that three down linebackers are rare these days.
Unless the Lions feel like Ragland is a special prospect, they could very well decide to go in a different direction with the 16th pick and backfill Tulloch’s spot on the roster a different way. That’s where Decker could be a nice fit.
He’s the fourth offensive tackle drafted in McShay’s mock behind Laremy Tunsil (first overall), Ronnie Stanley (sixth) and Jack Conklin (13th). The insinuation that the Lions would be drafting the fourth-best player at a position with the 16th overall pick would cause heartburn for some fans but all it takes is a little hindsight to remember that Odell Beckham was the third wide receiver taken in his draft class and would have a more wise pick tenth overall than Eric Ebron.
You can see McShay’s full first round mock on ESPN.com (insider subscription required).