The draft is finally almost here, which means the time for studying prospects and flushing out big boards and reacting to draft rumors is about over, and so is the time to make a guess on what the Lions will do.
I think staying put at No. 8 or trading down are equally plausible at this point, and that’s why my final guess for the Lions’ first-round pick is Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns.
Those who have followed my draft coverage here probably know how high I am on Burns. He is the No. 6 Lions prospect in my final rankings. I think he has the best initial get-off of any pass rusher in this draft as well as the most versatility.
But mock drafts are about what we think the teams will do, not what we would do. After correctly predicting Bob Quinn’s first two first-rounders in Detroit, Taylor Decker in 2016 and Jarrad Davis in 2017, I fell into this trap last year in sending them the pass rusher in Harold Landry, when a center like Frank Ragnow should have been more in the cards with Matt Patricia’s desire to bring toughness and a running game to Detroit.
In a mock draft last week, I gave the Lions T.J. Hockenson as a reaction to that miss. I didn’t feel great about it, partly because it’s so group-think-based, and I reserved the next week to think it over.
After doing so, Burns is the player I think winds up with Detroit by the end of the night.
First of all, Hockenson could go No. 7 to the Jaguars, who just signed Nick Foles, who had such success with Zach Ertz and Trey Burton in his brief time in Philadelphia. He’s more likely than Burns to be gone. He’s also more likely to go to the Packers, Dolphins or a team trading up if the Lions are able to move back, either with a quarterback-needy team like the Bengals or Redskins or with someone in search of Ed Oliver like the Falcons.