With the 2010 season over for all but 12 teams, it's time to start looking ahead to the 2011 NFL Draft. Although it is very early in the offseason and the draft is a long way away, it's always fun to start getting an idea of which players certain teams might pick. That is why SB Nation released its first 2011 NFL Mock Draft today. It's probably much too early to say who will for sure be picked and where, but it's still fun to look ahead and get an idea of players that might be considered for your team down the road.
Because the Detroit Lions have had such high picks the last couple seasons, only a couple players were really ever seriously considered. In 2008, Matthew Stafford was one of only a few players that people predicted the Lions to take, and last year the general consensus from the second the season ended was that Ndamukong Suh would be the pick if he was available. Basically, they were slam dunk picks, and the NFL mock drafts out there reflected that. With the Lions picking 13th this year, however, you can expect to see a lot of different names thrown around depending on the mock draft. Not only is the position the Lions will target in the first round up for debate, but so is the players at that position, meaning you can expect to find quite a few different opinions about which player the Lions should take with the 13th pick.
In SB Nation's aforementioned 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the Lions are predicted to select Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The basis for the pick is that drafting Jenkins would add to the Lions' reputation of picking "quality players." Also, adding Jenkins would improve the Lions' pass defense, which is characterized as "rather awful." That might be a bit harsh, but the fact remains that the Lions need to improve their pass defense, so predicting a cornerback to be the pick will be very common this offseason.
Interestingly, the SB Nation mock draft has two cornerbacks going in the top five of the 2011 NFL Draft. LSU's Patrick Peterson, perhaps the best defensive player in the draft, is predicted to be selected by the Denver Broncos with the No. 2 pick, and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara is slated to go fifth to the Arizona Cardinals. Cornerbacks aren't commonly picked in the top ten, so it would be unusual for two to go in the top five. For the Lions, the hope will be that Amukamara falls to them at No. 13 or at least enough to where they could potentially trade up. I'm sure Ndamukong Suh, a former teammate of Amukamara at Nebraska, is hoping that happens so they can once again be teammates.