The last two years, there was little doubt about which players the Detroit Lions were considering in the NFL Draft. With the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in 2009 and 2010, respectively, the pool of players was pretty clear. In 2008, for example, the only names out there for the Lions seemed to be Matthew Stafford and Aaron Curry. Last year, almost everybody figured the Lions would select Ndamukong Suh, and that is exactly what ended up happening.
With the Lions holding the 13th overall pick in this year's draft, there are many different names being tossed around as potential picks for Detroit in the first round. When you look at a 2011 NFL mock draft, there is a good chance the name will be different depending on the site. The last two years have provided a general consensus of players the Lions are considering, but this year you can pretty much throw the name of a player out there and find a mock draft with the Lions taking him.
Evidence of just how many different directions the Lions could go in comes in the form of SideLion Report's mock draft database. There are almost too many different names in the database to keep track of, but let's highlight some of the more commonly mentioned players that mock drafts have the Lions taking with the 13th pick.
Perhaps the most common name in the database is Miami (FL) cornerback Brandon Harris. Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara is listed a few times as well, but the thinking right now seems to be that he will be off the board by the time the Lions go on the clock. As a result, Harris may be the best available cornerback when the Lions pick, which is why many mock drafts have Detroit selecting him in the first round.
Another player that is mentioned a few times is UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers. There's no doubt the Lions have a big need at linebacker that will need to be filled this offseason, so it's definitely possible the Lions could select Ayers or perhaps a linebacker like Texas A&M's Von Miller, who is the Lions' pick in a couple mocks found in the database.
Some other players listed a few times are North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder. Some mocks have the Lions drafting an offensive lineman, but the vast majority of them have Detroit selecting a defensive player. The Lions' offense definitely can be improved upon talent-wise, but predicting a defensive first-round pick is a good bet this year.