I am taking a break from my draft research to provide my preliminary thoughts on what the Lions will do with the 13th overall pick in the first round on April 28th. It’s still far too early to project what player the Lions will pick, especially without knowing the status of the labor situation, but it’s looking very likely that free agency will not occur before the draft.
The majority of teams use free agency to aggressively fill their needs prior to the draft so they aren’t limited in their approach on draft day. If a team desperately needs a cornerback, but there isn’t a highly rated corner on their draft board when they are on the clock, they face the dilemma of passing up a more talented player to take a position of need. If teams are unable to fill specific needs prior to the draft, there could be more need based drafting than in normal years.
The Lions have drafted under the best player available strategy under Martin Mayhew and I don’t see that changing no matter what the situation is this season. Mayhew is concerned with building a long term contender rather than drafting for immediate gratification and short term gains. It’s good that the front office takes this approach because I don’t see the Lions filling a need position with the 13th pick.
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