MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Most analysts have Lions going defense

The 2016 season is officially in the books after New England's 34-28 Super Bowl win over Atlanta.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick joked the day after that he planned to get right back to work, since he was five weeks behind some of the other teams in preparing for free agency and the draft.

The Lions have been in the free agent and draft process for a few weeks now. The next major date to mark on the NFL calendar is the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Feb. 28-March 6.

With the focus now shifted to free agency and the draft, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at the first round of mock drafts out there, and where the analysts think the Lions might go with the 21st pick:

Daniel Jeremiah,

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: Charlton is a rangy athlete who fits the mold the Lions look for in their edge rushers. He makes plays on all three downs.

Bucky Brooks,

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Why: The Lions must find a way to add balance to an offense that depended solely on Matthew Stafford's play from the pocket.

Lance Zierlein,

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

Why: Detroit would love to find another pass rusher, and Williams offers the edge speed that could help the Lions immediately -- even as a third-down specialist.

Chad Reuter,

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Why: The Lions have had issues in the secondary for years. Wilson gives them a physical presence on the edge, and could move to safety as well.

Mel Kiper Jr.,

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

Why: Williams (6-4, 250) is a fantastic pass-rushing talent who can be unblockable at times. He had 19.5 sacks the past two seasons. Williams would have to put on some weight to play end in a 4-3, but his talent is undeniable.

The Lions were second to last in sacks in 2016 (26), and Ezekiel Ansah had only two after a breakout 2015 season in which he had 14.5. This is a clear need, especially with few pass-rushers available in free agency.

Rob Rang,

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: Stellar play from quarterback Matthew Stafford has diverted attention from a Detroit pass rush that struggled with star Ziggy Ansah limited by an ankle injury.

The Lions need not look far for help. Only emerging as a full-time starter for Michigan this season, Charlton developed into one of the country's better edge rushing prospects, boasting exciting initial quickness and bend given his 6-5, 272-pound frame.

Dane Brugler,

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

Why: Detroit needs to address the issues at cornerback, but adding an impact rusher like Williams would help everyone on the defense.

Chris Burke,

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Why: The obvious: The Lions need help on defense, at linebacker, end, cornerback and possibly tackle. But with starting right tackle (and former first-rounder) Riley Reiff about to become a free agent, there's a hole at a key O-line spot, too.

GM Bob Quinn might have his pick of OTs at this spot. Robinson was a left tackle for Alabama, but his powerful presence would translate well to the right side; Taylor Decker could maintain his LT spot.

Emily Kaplan,

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

Why: GM Bob Quinn needs to add some defensive talent and he knows it. McDowell didn't have a great year in East Lansing, but that's in part because he has been hampered by several injuries. But he has the tools (not to mention the 6' 6", 276-pound frame) to wreck havoc.

Matt Miller,

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Why: I can already see the tweets about the need for a defensive end on this defense with the first pick, but general manager Bob Quinn is a true best-player-available scout, and Florida's Quincy Wilson is that player. He also fills a need in a secondary that looked lost in 2016.

After Darius Slay struggled through a hamstring injury for much of the season, it became clear that depth and a talent upgrade are needed around him at cornerback. Quandre Diggs looks like a solid nickel cornerback, but a true outside presence is a need.

Wilson, at 6'1" and 213 pounds, can be that aggressive press corner this defense is crying out for. You could pick a running back, defensive end or safety here and get no complaints from me, but reading the tea leaves and predicting what Quinn will do in Round 1 points to a cornerback.

Nate Davis, USA TODAY

Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky

Why: A tackle in college, he probably projects to guard in the NFL due to his short arms. Either way, he's a fit for the Lions, who could lose the right side of their offensive line (T Riley Reiff, G Larry Warford) to free agency.

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