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O'HARA'S MOCK 3: The first prediction

Mock 3 1.0 is the first prediction for who the Detroit Lions will take with the third pick in the 2020 draft, and as in previous years it's just that – the first prediction.

There is more to come before the Lions make their first pick on April 23.

It's the Lions' highest draft position since 2013, when they took defensive end Ezekiel Ansah of Brigham Young with the fifth pick.

"You would hope the guy would be an impact player at three," General manager Bob Quinn said in his postseason press conference.

It's a prime position and gives the Lions legitimate options to trade up or down, or to stay put and hope to add an impact player.

Having such a high pick brings more scrutiny, and more pressure to get it right.

It's the highest draft position in Quinn's five seasons in Detroit. The previous high was last year, when the Lions drafted tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa eighth overall. The previous high before that was 2016, when Quinn took offensive tackle Taylor Decker of Ohio State 16th overall.

Here are the picks in Mock 3 1.0:

1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)

Status: One pick won't fix everything on a team that bottomed out in a fourth straight losing season and ranked 29th on defense and 26th on offense.

Options: Take a quarterback or the top-rated defensive player. Trading down is possible but not likely, given that the Bengals are in a position where opportunity fits need.

Pick: QB Joe Burrow, LSU. It's time to move on from Andy Dalton, who was serviceable at best in nine seasons as the starting quarterback. Being an Ohio high school star makes Burrow an even better fit for the Bengals.

Impact on Lions: None. The pick is predictable.

2. Washington Redskins (3-13)

Status: New head coach Ron Rivera was a master rebuilder with the Carolina Panthers. He inherited a team that was 2-14 in 2010 and got it to 12-4 in his third year. The key was drafting quarterback Cam Newton first overall in 2011, his first year.

Options: It all depends on how Rivera feels about Dwayne Haskins. Four obvious choices are in play: Stand pat with Haskins; draft a quarterback, take the best defensive player or trade down for multiple picks.

Pick: Edge rusher Chaser Young, Ohio State. He didn't finish the season strong, but he's the top defender in the draft.

Impact on the Lions: Having Young off the board takes away the top player at a position where the Lions need the most help – before free agency, at least.

3. Detroit Lions (3-12-1)

Status: Retooling after the bottom fell out in 2019 with a season-ending – and season-wrecking – nine-game losing streak. The offseason begins with a mandate from ownership to field a playoff contender in 2020. Having a premium draft pick is a significant asset.

Options: Drafting this high seems like it should be cut and dried, but it's just the opposite. With every good option comes one or two that seem better. Here's a six-pack to consider:

1. Trade down: A popular option for draftniks every year to get extra picks. The Dolphins are a prime candidate with three picks in the first round (5, 17, 27) and two in the second starting with their own at 39.

The contingency on any deal should be that the Dolphins take Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 and leave the remaining top defenders on the board.

The downside on trading down is that the Giants will take a player the Lions want at No. 4.

2. Trade up: The target would be Young, whose performance in his last two games against Michigan and Clemson was uninspiring.The likely price to move up one spot would be similar to what the Bears paid to switch spots from 3 to 2 with the 49ers in 2017: Third and fourth-round picks in 2017 and a third in 2018.

That's a steep price, especially considering how Quinn consistently has gotten value with mid-round picks in his four drafts.

3. Et Tua, Detroit Lions?: There is no denying his talent, or the caution flags flying because of his injury history at Alabama.

The issue for the Lions is that drafting any quarterback this high is a pick for the future with Matthew Stafford still in his prime. It doesn't give the Lions the immediate impact they need.

Bottom line: I don't think it's crazy to take Tua. And I don't think it's crazy not to.

4. Defense: It's where the Lions need help, and staying at No. 3 would give them a choice of Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and whoever's stock might rise in the next three months.

5. Offense: This draft is loaded with prime receivers, with CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma and Jerry Jeudy of Alabama worthy of top 10 consideration. It's also a strong draft for running backs. Productive receivers and running backs are available every year.

6. Stand pat: That means consider every reasonable alternative before making the pick at No. 3.

Standing pat and drafting to help the defense is the option for Mock 3 1.0.

It's a tough choice at this point between Okudah and Brown.

Brown can provide a penetrating interior force that the Lions lacked on any level in 2019. The lack of that presence is one reason the Lions had only 28 sacks, their fewest since 26 in 2016 and second fewest in the last 10 seasons.

Okudah is a walk-in starter opposite Darius Slay – assuming Slay is back with the Lions in 2019. And if he isn't, cornerback will be an even a more pressing need.

Pick: Cornerback Jeff Okudah, Ohio State.

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