Pass-rusher, cornerback and elite prospect at offensive tackle are the popular choices for the Lions’ No. 1 pick. Any of those would fill a need and constitute a successful first-round pick in the eyes of most Lions draftniks.
But what if the best at all three positions are gone? Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no.
What then? A contingency plan is in order.
The Lions faced a similar fate in 2008, when they were looking for an impact defender. Eight of the first 11 players drafted were on defense, including linebacker Jerod Mayo of Tennessee, a mild surprise going to the Patriots at No. 10.
The Lions eventually traded down two spots with Kansas City, from 15 to 17, and took offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus of Boston College. The pick worked out fine. Cherilus was a five-year starter at right tackle and signed a big contract last month with the Colts as a free agent.
What constitutes Draft-Doom: 2013 is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, that would be my eyes. I get to be the stand-in for Morgan Freeman playing the role of the President of the United States addressing the nation with planet earth under imminent attack.
What to do in the face of disaster?
Here is my disaster relief plan in “Shock Mock: Draft-Day Doom 2013” if the Lions must implement when the four picks go off the board in the following scenario:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: They take offensive tackle Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
Impact in Lions’ war room: No sweat. Odds were they’d take a tackle. If it wasn’t Joeckel, it would be Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Defensive end Ziggy Ansah of Brigham Young goes off the board.
Impact in the Lions’ war room: Coached him at the Senior Bowl. Liked him. Raw, but a great athlete. There’s still Fisher and a cornerback, and the Raiders are up next. They’re liable to do anything – even draft wide receiver Tavon Austin because they love speed.
3. Oakland Raiders: Cornerback Dee Milliner of Alabama will wear the Silver and Black.
Impact in the Lions’ war room: Sheesh. The Eagles are up next, and their new head coach, Chip Kelly, coached defensive end Dion Jordan Oregon, but the offensive line is old and battered.
How about calling Philly and talking trade? All lines busy? Cellphone towers out? Western Union closed? How about a Candy-Gram?
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eight seconds left on the 10-minute clock as Commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“With the fourth pick in the 2013 draft . . . “
(Is there a time lag? This is taking forever.)
“The . . . Philadelphia . . . Eagles . . . . Select . . . “
(The players are right. The commissioner is ruining football – AND the draft.)
“Offensive tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.”
Impact in the Lions war room: What did Morgan Freeman just say?
5. Detroit Lions: Implement the disaster plan? It sounds right and dramatic, but the truth is, this scenario might be a disaster in my eyes or of many Lions fans, but it’s nothing that would catch the Lions or any team unprepared.
If the first four players are off the board in this scenario, here are the possibilities:
Trading down: It’s a stronger option with those four gone, – but that’s assuming that Ansah would be pass-rusher that the Lions covet most.
The most likely trading partner would be a team that wants a quarterback. If it’s the Bills or Jets with picks 8 and 9 respectively it could be worthwhile because of the depth of pass-rushers. The risk in trading down much further is getting a player of lesser quality with the first pick for the sake of adding a draft pick.
Take offense: The fifth pick is too high for a guard, even one valued as highly as Chance Warmack of Alabama. I don’t buy Lane Johnson being an option as the No. 3 tackle behind Joeckel and Fisher. Guard Jonathan Cooper isn’t rated as high as Warmack, but he might be a better fit for the Lions. Still, it’s too soon for a guard.
Tavon Austin? Wide receiver? Explosive talent, great return man, and a tough football player at 5-8, 174 pounds. Tempting, but probably not.
Take defense: Ultimately, the right thing to do. Trust the board.
Realistically, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd of Florida is a long-shot to be on the board. If he is, he might be stronger trade bait than a quarterback.
The choice has to be between pass-rusher and cornerback, and while the Lions are unproven at cornerback except for
Take your pick between Barkevious Mingo of LSU and Dion Jordan of Oregon.
Either one fills a need with a quality player.
Morgan Freeman can announce the pick.
After that, he can go back to Driving Miss Daisy.
The world has survived a draft crisis.