This time last year, the Detroit Lions replaced Jim Schwartz with Jim Caldwell and tasked their new head coach with taking the talent on hand to the postseason. That's exactly what Caldwell and the Lions did, going 11-5, finishing second in the NFC North and playing in the Wild Card round. Unfortunately for Detroit, the Lions lost their seventh consecutive Wild Card playoff game, dating back to 1993.
Sean Yuille, manager of Pride of Detroit, is tasked with finding a way to help the Lions take the next step in our 2015 NFL mock draft. His priority with the No. 23 overall pick? Improving the team's offensive line.
23. Lions: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Yuille: This pick came down to three players from the Sunshine State: Florida’s D.J. Humphries and Florida State’s Eddie Goldman and Cameron Erving. Taking Goldman would have filled the Lions’ need for some extra depth at defensive tackle, but I feel like that need can be addressed in the second round, especially with Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker already in place. As for Erving, he’s an excellent center, but the Lions already have Travis Swanson taking over that starting spot. I’m sure Erving or Swanson could move to guard if necessary – and the Lions do have a need at left guard – but I also feel like the interior offensive line can be addressed later in the draft.
This left me with Humphries. Admittedly, opinions vary quite a bit on him, but as Daniel Jeremiah has said, Humphries has the potential to be a day one starter. By adding him at left tackle, the Lions could move Riley Reiff, who was the No. 23 overall pick in 2012, over to right tackle, which may be a better fit for him. In essence, taking Humphries would help upgrade two starting spots on the offensive line, and that would go a long way toward getting this unit back to a respectable level after a dismal 2014 season.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: Choosing Humphries comes down to how highly you rate him. Personally, at least among offensive tackles, I have Ereck Flowers of Miami rated higher. He may not be as athletic as Humprhies, but he should be able to make a bigger impact early in his career. Of the three players mentioned above, though, I would have gone with Humphries as well. That’s even considering how highly I have Goldman rated. It’s something of a projection moving Reiff to the right, but Humphries has the potential to be a Tyron Smith-like blocker.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- 19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
- 20. Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
- 24. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
- 1-23: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
- 2-54: (coming April 15)
SB Nation presents: Where D.J. Humphries ranks among offensive tackles in the draft