Detroit Lions Mock Draft: Todd McShay Goes Defensive End in Mock 3.0

Sep 17, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason (10) is sacked by Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris (91) in the first half at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason (10) is sacked by Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris (91) in the first half at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /
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ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay had his third mock draft of the 2017 draft cycle released today, and the Lions find a defensive end.

The Detroit Lions entered the offseason with room for improvement on both sides of the ball. So far in free agency, the biggest work has been on offense, namely on the offensive line in the form of signing T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner to take over for Larry Warford and Riley Reiff.

An area that hasn’t been addressed is the pass rush. This wasn’t a great year to get pass rush impact in free agency so perhaps that is by design. Free agency is certainly not an end point, so this isn’t necessarily cause for concern. As the Lions move into the 2017 NFL Draft, however, a big emphasis should be placed on defensive playmakers at all levels of the defense, including on the defensive line.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has a new mock draft out today, his third of the 2017 NFL Draft cycle. It seems he is in lock-step with the line of thinking above, picking Missouri defensive end Charles Harris for the Lions. McShay offers the following explanation with the pick:

"A twitchy athlete off the edge, Harris is just scratching the surface as a pass-rusher. He led the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss in 2015 and finished this past season on a tear (5.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and a forced fumble in his final four games). Ezekiel Ansah can’t be the only pass-rushing threat in Detroit."

On the surface, it might seem like a pick a lot of Lions fans could rally behind. After all, the Lions’ biggest remaining needs are on defense, including at defensive end. That is, until you consider McShay’s pick in the bigger context of his entire mock draft.

Temple’s Hasson Reddick has been one of the hottest names coming out of the combine and he was still on the board (he was the very next pick) when McShay gave Harris to the Lions. With linebacker being just as much, if not more, of a need for the Lions, it’s odd to see Reddick passed over for Harris. Reddick is currently ranked 25th on the ESPN big board, while Harris is not in the top 32.

But even if McShay was dead set on defensive end being the position the Lions should address with their first round pick, why Harris over Michigan’s Taco Charlton? Ranked 17th on the ESPN big board, McShay had Charlton going to the Dallas Cowboys with the 28th pick.

Myles Garrett (pick 1), Solomon Thomas (pick 2) and Derek Barnett (pick 11) were the only defensive ends picked ahead of the Lions taking Harris.

To make matters worse, McShay describes Harris as a “twitchy athlete” but that didn’t come across in testing at the NFL combine.

Maybe those numbers improve next week at Missouri’s pro day, but there is a lot of room for improvement before Harris hits even an average athletic profile. By Kent Platt’e RAS, Harris had one of the worst combines of any defensive end in attendance.

Next: Detroit Lions 7-Round Mock Draft 2.0

Todd McShay’s full Mock Draft 3.0 is available

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