You hear their voices, see their faces and read their words – and now you get another chance to see how good they are at predicting who the Lions will draft in the first round Thursday night.
In our annual Detroitlions.com Media Mock Draft, local media members take two swings at predicting what the Lions will do with the 16h pick overall – the Dream Pick, if the stars align perfectly for the Lions, and the Reality Pick, based on who realistically will be available at No. 16.
As always, feel free to disagree – but don't touch the dial or turn the page:
**Dan Miller, Fox 2 and Lions' play-by-play radio voice:
Dream pick - OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State: I don't see this happening because his stock is rising, and with the Titans dropping to 15 they figure to take the highest rated tackle on the board. I'm guessing that will be the third tackle between Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and Conklin in some order. I anticipate all three will be gone. If one is left, he's the pick.
Realistic pick - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson: I don't know what the Lions think of Taylor Decker of Ohio State. He seems to be in this range for some team and a bit lower down for others. If they project him as a long-term answer at tackle on either side, I'd think he merits strong consideration and could be the guy. I'm guessing they go defensive line. After watching Denver harass quarterbacks on the way to the Super Bowl title, let's take a page from their book and add Shaq Lawson to Devin Taylor and Ziggy Ansah on the edge for Detroit
Doug Karsch, WXYT-97.1-FM:
Dream pick - OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State: When projecting players from college to the NFL it's gotten much harder as the college game goes to more spread concepts, while the NFL still wants their linemen with their hand in the dirt capable of mauling. Conklin comes from a program in which the offense more closely resembles what teams in the NFL want to do offensively. Conklin would start at LT from day one, allowing Riley Reiff to slide over to RT. Of course, that's the dream.
Realistic pick – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama: He's a plug and play run-stuffer for years to come. I expect Conklin to be gone, which sets up new GM Bob Quinn for the perfect 'Patriot Way' move – move back several spots and add an additional draft pick(s). Now there are several players later in the first round that make sense: DT Vernon Butler or A'Shawn Robinson. And with an extra selection in the second or third round, make sure you get Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo – he reminds me of Andre Rison or Cris Carter – a pure TD machine. If the Lions find no takers for their pick and stay at No. 16: Reggie Ragland.
Scott Anderson, WXYT-97.1-FM:
Fantasy pick – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State: Because the Lions did not land a top notch offensive tackle in free agency, that need is now screaming for attention, specifically the LT position. The stars would have to align for Conklin to be available at 16, but that's what dreams are for, right? The big fella is versatile and has made a name for himself in a pro-style offense over the last few years and at the very least could score in goal line situations ... just ask Penn State!
Realistic pick – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State: Back to Earth here, because I think Conklin will be taken in the top ten. The Lions need to make an impeccable evaluation about Decker. If there is a discernible dropoff in talent compared to Conklin, make a move defensively and plug the middle with Alabama LB Reggie Ragland. However, if Decker is deemed to be nearly as good as his Big Ten cohort, then the Lions should welcome the Buckeye, allowing them to move Riley Reiff to the RT and improving the overall line play.
**Devin Scilian, WDIV-TV-Channel 4:
Dream pick - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: With Calvin Johnson gone, I think the offensive line becomes even more critical. My thinking might be changed if somehow CB Vernon Hargreaves of Florida were to still be on the board, but I don't see that. So my wish is for Ronnie Stanley to be there for the taking.
Realistic pick - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson: The more reasonable expectation is that the Lions are going for defense, and they'll take Lawson. I'd rather go O-line, but I can live with a nasty defensive front where Ziggy Ansah is ready to create a new identity for the Calvin-less Lions.
Ken Brown, WJR-760-AM, Lions flagship station:
Dream pick – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: He drops to No. 12, and the Lions move up to get him.
Reality pick – OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia: He moves to DE in the pros.
Steve Courtney, WJR-760-AM, Lions flagship:
Fantasy pick - OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State: Tough as it gets, and durable. I saw a lot of him in East Lansing. He could be plugged right in!
Reality pick - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson: A destroyer up front in an elite conference – effective against the run and pass, and a great work ethic!
Jeff Risdon, Sidelion Report editor, RealGM Senior NFL/Draft columnist:
Fantasy pick - DT Andrew Billings, Louisville: Attacking nose tackles with his kind of strength and potential don't come around very often. I have to take a swing on a unique talent.
Reality pick – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: But if he's gone, OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State. He'll remind GM Bob Quinn a lot of OT Nate Solder (Patriots' first-round pick, 17th overall in 2011), who worked out well in similar circumstances.
**Ryan Ermanni, WMGC-105.1-FM:
Dream pick - RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State:Matthew Stafford was sacked 89 times in the last 2 seasons, and while the thought might be to grab the best offensive lineman in this situation, adding a game-changing running back would add an element to this offense that the Lions haven't had since Barry Sanders retired.
Realistic pick - OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State: Safe pick. For the reasons I listed above, you can't go wrong by adding a guy that could help protect Matthew Stafford. While defensive line is an area of need, there is enough depth that you could get an impact guy at that position in rounds 2 or 3.
Rico Beard, WMGC-105.1-FM:
Dream pick - DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State: The Lions trade up to draft Bosa. Bosa is the top DE in the draft, and pairing him with Ziggy Ansah would give the Lions an excellent pair of bookend speed rushers.
Realistic pick - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson: I would pick Shaq for the same reason as I stated with Bosa. It would give the Lions a good pair of young bookend rushers.
Matt Shepard, WDFN-1130-AM:
Dream pick - OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss: He's the premier left tackle in the draft, and it would help two positions for this team. You solve the LT job and allow Riley Reiff to move to RT and solve that position as well. Tunsil is compared to Trent Williams because he has a rare combination of athleticism and skill for the position. But he'll be long gone before the Lions pick at 16.
Realistic pick - OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State: If I can't get Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley, I'd take Conklin. He plays mean and tough. He's durable, and I think he's a plug and play guy. I could be tempted to wait for the second round and get Jason Spriggs of Indiana for my tackle, but I'll stick with Conklin and get my defensive end in the second round – Kevin Dodd of Clemson.
Jennifer Hammond, Fox 2:
Let me start by saying, just because the Lions lost Calvin Johnson doesn't mean they need to get more playmakers on offense. That was taken care of in free agency with the signing of Marvin Jones. Plus, let us not forget Theo Riddick, Eric Ebron and Golden Tate – the men who could take another step as premier performers – even in the absence of No. 81.
With that said ...
Fantasy pick – CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State: I'd like to see the Lions focus on picking up a player who can not only defend the other high-flying offenses in the NFL but add versatility on defense – where the Lions lost key players in the offseason. That's why in a perfect world (and only in your dreams) Ramsey would be a perfect fit for the Honolulu Blue and Silver at No. 16.
Reality pick – OT Taylor Decker, THE Ohio State University: I know most people are expecting the Lions to solidify the defensive line with another edge rusher, but it's the other side of the trenches I expect Detroit will shore up. This is time of year when smoke screens are thicker than the Redwood Forest, and a man who is built like a tree would provide exactly the insurance policy – and opening-day starter capabilities – that Bob Quinn, Jim Caldwell, and most importantly Matthew Stafford, would love to have on the right side of the offensive line.