The Detroit Lions are sitting in a good spot with the third pick in the 2020 draft, but don't expect them to be there when they turn in the card with their first-round pick on April 23.
I'm projecting the Lions to trade down in my Mock 3 3.0 Post-Combine mock draft.
After spending a week watching the Combine workouts in Indianapolis and listening to the speculation, rumors and chatter about the prospects, my third mock draft has the Lions leveraging their prime pick. They can trade down for extra picks and still add a quality player who will give them immediate help on defense, where they need it most.
I gave the Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah of Ohio State in my first mock draft and edge rusher Chase Young of Ohio State in my second pre-Combine mock draft. The Young pick was the result of a projection that the Dolphins would trade up with the Redskins to No. 2 to draft a quarterback.
I still have the Dolphins trading up, but with the Lions to No. 3.
Here is my Mock 3 3.0, which has been expanded from projecting the first three picks to the first five.
And there's a suggestion that it could be expanded further.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Any doubt on this pick ended at the Combine when Joe Burrow said he'll play in Cincinnati if the Bengals draft him.
Bengals pick: QB Joe Burrow, LSU.
2. Washington Redskins: "Before we do anything with the No. 2 pick, we've got to see what happens with the No. 1 pick," new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said at the Combine.
Chatter at the Combine, and everything since, indicates that it's unlikely the Redskins will trade down. Getting stuck with the best player in the draft, who's from the D.C. area, isn't a bad consolation prize.
Redskins pick: Edge rusher Chase Young, Ohio State.
3. Miami Dolphins (trade with Lions): This deal makes sense for both teams.
From the Dolphins' side, the war chest of draft picks they've accumulated as trade assets includes three first rounders. No team interested in moving up can match that. The Dolphins need a quarterback who can be the face of the franchise, and Tua Tagovailoa fits that need better than anybody in this draft – including Burrow.
From the Lions' side, trading down with the Dolphins still lets them take an impact defender at No. 5, plus get a quality prospect with one of the other draft picks they get in the deal.
And, if the Lions want to get ultra creative, there might be another deal for them to make.
Dolphins pick: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama.
4. New York Giants: In 13 games last year rookie QB Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times, threw 12 interceptions and fumbled 18 times, losing 11 of them. Better protection up front will help cut down on some of those turnovers.
Giants pick: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville.
View photos of the offensive linemen working out at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
5. Detroit Lions: They've already made one deal with the Dolphins. Is there a chance to work the phones and make another with the Chargers?
The Chargers could trade up one spot from No. 6 to guarantee getting their quarterback of choice – Tagovailoa if he's still on the board, or Justin Herbert of Oregon.
In this second trade, the Lions would get the same player with the sixth pick that they'd get with the fifth, and they'd add another draft pick, probably in the third or fourth round, based on the trade compensation charts.
Sticking with one trade, and not knowing at this point who the Lions sign and lose in free agency and the trade market, there are three reasonable options on defense with the fifth pick: Okudah, linebacker Isaiah Simmons of Clemson, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown of Auburn.
Brown's Combine performance was somewhat disappointing. He did not show well at what amounted to an important job interview.
Simmons' time of 4.39 In the 40 was spectacular. Okudah was impressive in his Combine drills.
Lions' pick at 5: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State.
Bonus: What they get for trading down with Miami might be used to draft another player – like running back Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin.