Who will the Lions Pick? Mike Fowler's Mock Draft

While the Lions have shored up many of their top needs through free agency acquisitions, a couple of others have popped up due to the inevitable free agent departures. Lions' insider Mike Fowler provides a mock draft that includes trade scenarios. In-depth and informational. You might be surprised to see who Mike has the Lions selecting.

While the Lions have shored up many of their top needs through free agency acquisitions, a couple of others have popped up due to the inevitable free agent departures.

Detroit needs to fill holes at weak side linebacker, guard, tight end, wide receiver and running back. If Detroit decides to trade down with the New England Patriots, their chances of filling all their needs in the first four rounds are excellent. If Detroit doesn't trade down they have to be patient and hope that things fall their way just as they did a year ago when Georgia linebacker Boss Bailey fell into their laps in the second round.

With that in mind, we've put together a mock draft with two different scenarios, one with the Lions draft at 6th overall and one with the Patriots trade.

Keeping the pick: Round 1: Kellen Winslow, Jr., Tight End, Miami - I've come full circle on this one. I loved Winslow's talent from day one, but was worried that there were too many impediments for the Lions to select him on draft day.

First there is the chilly relationship between Kellen, Sr. who, when calling out the NFL brass for the lack of opportunities for minorities to get front office positions cited Millen as his primary example.

"Matt Millen, where are his qualifications to do what he is doing?" Winslow said. "He didn't do anything (before), but he was given an opportunity to do the job."

Then there was Winslow's cheering the NFL's decision to fine Millen $200,000 for hiring Steve Mariucci without interviewing a minority candidate.

"We're happy that the league has decided to put some bite into the so-called 'Rooney Rule,' " Winslow said in commenting on the fine. "I don't care how much money you make -- $200,000 is a lot of money."

Then there is Carl and Kevin Poston, the agents who are representing Winslow. They have been the subjects of several contentious negotiations. They are said to be the reason the Washington Redskins are embroiled in a lawsuit with linebacker LaVar Arrington over a $650,000 bonus that the Poston's claim to have negotiated into Arrington's contract -- and a reason the Skins' are said to have dropped the tight end off their draft board.

However, Detroit is one of the few teams that have been able to establish good relationship with the Postons as evidenced by Detroit's ability to get Damien Woody's signature on a free agent contract this off-season.

Trading down to #21 and 32:

21 -Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami -

If Detroit trades down, look for them to grab a linebacker from a thin crop this year. At 21st overall, Detroit will likely see at least one of the top four line backing prospects, Miami's Vilma, Auburn's Karlos Dansby, or Miami's D.J. Williams or Florida State's Michael Boulware. Vilma is the pick here because he is a sure tackler who is excellent against the run and plays the pass nearly as well. If Vilma is gone - and that is a strong possibility - Detroit will likely elect for Auburn's Karlos Dansby. Dansby is more at home playing the strong side, but his ability to run sideline-to-sideline, rush the passer from off the edge and play in space make him an excellent fall back choice.

32- Ben Watson, TE, Georgia -

Watson raised plenty of eyebrows when he ran a 4.4 40-yard time at his pro day. While he is not the explosive playmaker that Kellen Winslow, Jr. is, he is a very effective playmaker who can come down with the occasional circus catch in traffic. He blocks well and is the fastest of all the tight ends in the draft. While Detroit was happy with the production of undrafted tight end Casey FitzSimmons last season, they clearly want and need an upgrade for this important piece of the West Coast Offense puzzle.

Second round:

Without trade:

Lee Evans, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin

Even after the acquisition of Tai Streets and with holdover Az-Zahir Hakim and Charles Rogers, Detroit wants to upgrade the receiving corps. Detroit was in a tough spot after Rogers injury and a less than 100% Hakim. Head coach Steve Mariucci won't be caught in that position again. A receiver like Evans is exactly what the Lions would love to see here, a first round talent for second round money.

While just 5-foot-10 and 190-pounds, Evans is a tough receiver with sure hands. He bails out his quarterback by fighting for the football and comes up with a ton of tough catches. Detroit would then be in a position to waive goodbye to Hakim and save some salary cap money allowing them to give Scotty Anderson, who showed flashes last season, one last chance at showing he can contribute consistently on the NFL level.

Without the trade:

Evans for all the reasons above.

With New England's second round pick:

Jake Grove, Center, Virginia Tech.

Grove is the best pivot man to come out in years, but has the ability to slide over and play guard, which he did his sophomore season at Tech. The Lions have a need to upgrade their talent level in the interior line. With the jury still out on Dominic Raiola, Detroit could eventually move Grove back to center and in the event of injury, the flexibility of having two players (Damien Woody) who can play the middle would allow the Lions a luxury few teams can match.

Remember, all this is subject to change with trades and free agent signings prior to the draft. Detroit could trade down with another team and change the scenario altogether, but I feel this is a critical year for an improving Lions team to turn the corner and be a playoff contender in 2005.

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