Some of the needs for the Detroit Lions are subtle. Others are blatantly, obviously obvious. At two positions specifically -- offensive and defensive line -- it is glaring.
That's been the focus of most mock drafts done by ESPN Insiders Todd McShay and Mel Kiper so far, although the majority of selections have been defensive linemen. On Wednesday, McShay stuck with the lines for his third mock draft. He just switched sides of the ball.
McShay selected Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker for the Lions at No. 16 this time around and it's a fair pick for Detroit considering who was available at the time. Offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin were off the board, as was defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson. So was receiver Laquon Treadwell.
Decker is an intriguing prospect because he's 6-foot-7 and has strong footwork from his background in basketball. He admits his height can cause issues because it makes it more difficult for him to get low to gain leverage on defensive edge rushers, but there's a benefit as well. And the Lions need offensive tackles after allowing Matthew Stafford to be beaten up the past two seasons.
"Generally you’re going to have longer limbs so you can create more leverage and guys can’t get to your chest, get to your body," Decker said. "So it can be a good thing or a bad thing depending. I don’t think it’s something that has served me poorly in my career."
He'd also prefer to be a left tackle, although he is cross-training at right tackle heading into the draft. He also has the added benefit of working with LeCharles Bentley, the offensive line guru who also trains Lions right guard Larry Warford. He'd be a good pick for the Lions and would give Detroit some flexibility with Riley Reiff in 2016 (and beyond if the Lions re-sign him after next season).
Of course, looking at the mocks wouldn't be complete without considering other options McShay passed on. He went with Decker over a plethora of defensive tackles that could fit Detroit, including Kiper favorite Jarran Reed (he was the Lions pick in both of his mocks so far), Louisville's Sheldon Rankins and Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler. Two top linebackers, Ohio State's Darron Lee and Alabama's Reggie Ragland, were also on the board and could be potential Lions picks considering the need for more speed and surer tackling at the position.
So far what the mock drafts have been showing is there will be multiple talented options for Detroit in the middle of the first round of Bob Quinn's first draft.