The Detroit Lions find themselves on the clock, rounding out the top 10 of our Fan Mock Draft after a disappointing 7-9 season that submarined following their loss to the Eagles under the dizzying snow at Lincoln Financial Field. The Lions headed into that game at 7-5, atop the NFC North, only to lose the final four games of the season, with the Eagles causing the first blow.
As a result, the Lions are under new management on the field, with former Indianapolis Colts and Wake Forest head coach Jim Caldwell taking over for the departed Jim Schwartz. The differences between Caldwell and Schwartz are quite stark, as the team moves from a fiery defensive-minded head man to a stoic offensive mind in Caldwell.
Personnel-wise, the Lions remain a team defined by their offense. Matthew Stafford's rocket arm is the flash and the combination of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the backfield provide substance, but Calvin Johnson is the one who makes things sparkle. The Lions brought in former Seahawks starting wideout Golden Tate in free agency to help create some room for Johnson to work, but it wouldn't be a complete shock to see the Lions double down on receivers here by tabbing someone like Odell Beckham Jr.
Up front, the Lions protected Stafford quite well last season, but there is still an opening for a starting tackle, so Taylor Lewan or Zack Martin are possibilities.
Defense, though, is what the Lions are expected to address. Despite the presence of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle, Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald could be considered the best player on the board and would help the Lions create even more interior disruption. The Lions could also get creative and move Anthony Barr to defensive end, creating a starting defensive line of all recent first-round picks.
Stephen Tulloch mans the middle linebacker position in Detroit, but there's always room for steady sideline-to-sideline play and Alabama's C.J. Mosley would provide that. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier is a different kind of player but athleticism might intrigue general manager Martin Mayhew as well.
The biggest need for the Lions remains in the secondary, though, where the team has had consistent struggles over the past few years. There is no consensus as to the draft's top cornerback, so Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller are all options.
Finally, safety is as likely a selection as any position and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama is becoming a popular projection for this spot. The thought is that the Lions are more in need of a free-safety-type like Clinton-Dix than someone like Calvin Pryor, considered a more traditional strong safety.
The Lions certainly have plenty of options in this scenario. How do you see It playing out? The choice is yours …
1. Houston Texans -- LB Jadeveon Clowney
2. St. Louis Rams -- T Greg Robinson
3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- QB Johnny Manziel
4. Cleveland Browns -- WR Sammy Watkins
5. Oakland Raiders -- LB Khalil Mack
6. Atlanta Falcons -- OT Jake Matthews
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- WR Mike Evans
8. Minnesota Vikings -- QB Blake Bortles
9. Buffalo Bills -- TE Eric Ebron