Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn was impressed with the depth in the NFL draft at defensive tackle early in his preparations. On Thursday, he said he felt there was solid offensive line depth as well.
And on Thursday night, ESPN Draft Insiders Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay held an alternating-pick three-round mock draft, where they picked players off the board for each team. Considering the multiple needs of the Lions, Kiper and McShay hit on some positions of need for Detroit, although maybe not the players you'd think.
In the first round, McShay selected Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed at No. 16 for Detroit. Reed has been linked with the Lions throughout the draft process and was the popular pick in early mock drafts for Detroit. That opinion had changed in recent months, but it is back again with less than a week to go until the draft.
Reed would give Detroit stability on the interior of the defensive line at a position where the Lions have some depth, but the majority of that depth is not necessarily going to be around in 2017.
The surprise was more of who McShay left on the board to take Reed. That included Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee, Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker and Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson. All three also have been popular mock draft picks for Detroit.
In the second round, McShay took LSU linebacker Deion Jones for Detroit. His size could be an issue, especially since his position likely would overlap with DeAndre Levy. Honestly, he'd be a surprise pick for the Lions here, but he has the chance to be a good player.
Based on who was left on the board, I might have taken Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas, Notre Dame center Nick Martin or gamble on Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence as a potential value play. Since defensive tackle likely would be off the table due to the Reed pick, guys like Kenny Clark, Austin Johnson and, yes, Robert Nkemdiche would be out of play.
In the third round, Kiper addressed offense for Detroit with a familiar name -- Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbridge. He's a player who has shown he can make the acrobatic catch and was one of the better receivers in the Big Ten last season. The Lions need a receiver and Burbridge would be a No. 3 option with room to grow.
Of course, the Lions might consider the player taken a pick later by New England, Boston College safety Justin Simmons, as well. Simmons would be a good, athletic fit for the Lions.
The noticeable thing here is the lack of offensive linemen selected by Kiper and McShay. I just don't think that'll happen for the Lions in the first two days of the draft. At some point, I'd anticipate the Lions drafting an offensive lineman but other than that, Kiper and McShay did a good job handling needs and upgrading the Detroit roster.