MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Defensive line a popular pick for Lions

It doesn’t take the official beginning of the offseason for the mock draft season to get started. The Super Bowl is yet to be played, but that hasn’t stopped most of the national mock drafters out there from taking their first guesses at who the 32 teams in the NFL might be eyeing in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Which player is most popular for the Lions at No. 20 in the first go around of mock drafts?

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

Why: Price can play any of the three interior positions and his nasty demeanor fits with what GM Bob Quinn is building in Detroit.

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Why: The potential loss of Haloti Ngata, who's due to become a free agent, could leave a crater in the middle of the Lions’ defense. Hurst is a blue-collar 3-technique with the motor and game to be a disruptive force on the interior.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com

Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

Why: Ezekiel Ansah had a bounce-back year with 12 sacks, but he's a free agent. Will the Lions give him a long-term deal? Detroit's No. 2 sacker was former sixth-round pick Anthony Zettel, who had 6.5, so this is a clear area of need. Hubbard is probably better for team that plays a 4-3 like the Lions. He didn't have a consistent 2017 season, but he finished strong with 2.5 sacks at Michigan and 2.5 more in the bowl win over USC. Is he Joey Bosa? No, but that's why Bosa went No. 3 overall. Hubbard would be good value at pick No. 20.

Todd McShay, ESPN.com

Tremaine Edmunds, DE/OLB Virginia Tech

Why: Detroit has plenty of needs on defense but must be encouraged by the play of 2017 first-round LB Jarrad Davis. Regardless of whether the Lions re-sign pending free agent Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit needs more edge rushers. Edmunds has the versatility to cover and rush the passer, and he is a gifted athlete at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. He'll likely test well at the combine.

R.J. White, CBSSports.com

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Why: The Lions go local with this pick and take a defensive tackle who had 31 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in his final three years at Michigan. Hurst doesn't have the size that teams are generally looking for in an interior defensive lineman, but his quickness more than makes up for that deficiency and makes him in particular a great threat rushing the passer on third downs.

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Why: Vea is drawing comparisons to Haloti Ngata, which could help the Lions ease their grooming process of the young defensive tackle. The Washington star has size, strength and surprising pass-rush ability.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Why: Ignoring the pass rush might be difficult, especially if Ziggy Ansah goes elsewhere. But Detroit had the NFL's worst rushing attack and has finished in the bottom five in each of the last four years. Guice offers rare big-play ability and could take some of the pressure off quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Why: While the Lions will give edge defenders a long look, adding the massive Vea to the middle of the defense may be too good to pass up. More than just a 340-pound run stuffer, Vea had the nation’s No. 4 pass-rush grade (88.0) to go with his No. 3 mark in the run game (91.6). He can blow up blocking schemes and push the pocket, adding a necessary disruptor to the Detroit defensive line.

Matt Miller, Bleacher report

Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

Why: We don't know what scheme the Detroit Lions will run on defense, but one thing is for certain—there is a massive need for better edge-rushers. Ezekiel Ansah is a free agent, and while he did show improved play once healthy this season, he's a question mark moving forward. General manager Bob Quinn has roots in New England, where the defensive line was a priority for the franchise. In the 2016 offseason, Quinn invested in fixing the offensive line. He should spend his 2018 offseason looking hard at the makeup of the defensive line and investigating how to best turn over that unit. Harold Landry was the top-ranked senior on my draft board when the season began but did fall off this year due to injury down the stretch. He's a natural pass-rusher who can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 base defense and be an asset off the right edge.

Josh Norris, Rotoworld

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Why: Guice dealt with a thigh injury this season, slowing him down in practice and multiple games. Once he returned, he was outstanding. His cuts, spins and balance on contact allow him to create yards. I love Ameer Abdullah as an individual player, but it is not working out with the Lions. He has yet to eclipse 600 rushing yards in a season with the team.

Nick Klopsis, Newsday

Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

Why: Ziggy Ansah, who had 12 sacks, is set to hit free agency. Even if the Lions bring back their Pro Bowl defensive end, they’ll need to find more pass-rushing help. Only Anthony Zettel (6 1/2) had more than five sacks. Harold Landry was a very disruptive player at Boston College, and that helped him set the single-season school record for sacks in 2016 (16 1/2). Landry is quick off the snap and bends the edge very well when getting after the quarterback. He battled an ankle injury at the end of his senior season that kept his stats down, but when healthy, he was a productive force for the Eagles.

Eric Galko, Sporting News

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Why: Too long have the Lions relied upon mediocre running back rotations and Matthew Stafford to carry the offense. They have done well to bolster their offense with a strong supporting cast, but they need to add a runner like Guice, a complete back who can take pressure off the passing game.

Dan Kadar, SBNation

Tavern Bryan, DT, Florida

Why: The Lions may have picked A’Shawn Robinson in the second round in 2016, but they still need more talent on the defensive line. Bryan specializes at playing in a three-technique role that asks him to split gaps and get after the quarterback.

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