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Detroit Lions, NFL Mock Draft 2017: Predicting picks in rounds 1-7

By
Howard Balzer, NFLDraftScout.com
Wisconsin Badgers DE/OLB T. J. Watt celebrates the Badgers' 24-16 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos in the 2017 Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas on January 2, 2017. Watt could be an early pick taken by the Detroit Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft. File photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Wisconsin Badgers DE/OLB T. J. Watt celebrates the Badgers' 24-16 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos in the 2017 Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas on January 2, 2017. Watt could be an early pick taken by the Detroit Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft. File photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

The Detroit Lions have eight picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 21 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.

They believe they answered some questions on the offensive line in free agency, although they also lost some line talent. The Lions are banking on tackle Rick Wagner and guard T.J. Lang being an upgrade over departed tackle Riley Reiff and guard Larry Warford.

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Running back is not listed as one of the top priorities, but it could be. Ameer Abdullah has yet to live up to expectations, while Theo Riddick is versatile, but not a consistent threat as a runner.

Help in the front seven on defense will likely be a focus in the early rounds.

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

Here is a look at the Lions' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

RELATED NFL Mock Draft 2017: Three quarterbacks in first round, team needs

FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2012 . .2013 . .2014 . .2015 . .2016

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TOTAL PICKS . . . .8 . . . . . .9 . . . . .8 . . . . .7 . . .10

RELATED Detroit Lions still haven't talked extension with Ziggy Ansah

STARTERS . . . . . .2 . . . . . .5 . . . . .3 . . . . .1 . . . .3

BACKUPS . . . . . .0 . . . . . .1 . . . . .1 . . . . .5 . . . .7

OTHER TEAMS . . .0 . . . . .2 . . . . .3 . . . . .1 . . . .0

OUT OF LEAGUE . .6 . . . . .1 . . . . .1 . . . . .0 . . .0

Top three draft needs

1. Linebacker: The Lions signed Paul Worrilow as a potential DeAndre Levy replacement, but still need an infusion of playmakers in the middle of their defense. For now, Worrilow, Tahir Whitehead and Antwione Williams are the projected starters at linebacker. While they also added Nick Bellore (49ers), it's possible the Lions use a first-round pick on an upgrade, and almost surely will draft a linebacker by the end of Day 2.

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2. Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin is a free agent and could return at some point this spring, but the Lions need another pass catcher at a minimum as insurance for Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. For now, Keshawn Martin, Jace Billingsley and TJ Jones are Nos. 3-5 on the depth chart; that is not an inspiring trio.

3. Defensive end: Ziggy Ansah should be better after he struggled most of last season with a high ankle sprain, but the Lions don't have a clear-cut starter at left end. Cornelius Washington, Kerry Hyder, Armonty Bryant and Anthony Zettel also are on the roster, but Ansah is the only proven pass rusher of the bunch.

MOCK DRAFT

Below is a list of every pick for the Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com Sr. Analyst Dane Brugler. Who would you take? Let us know in comments.

1/21): T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin (6-4, 252, 4.69)

2/53: Duke Riley, LB, LSU (6-0, 232, 4.58)

3/85: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (6-2, 204, 4.56)

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4/128: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (5-11, 233, 4.59)

5/165: Johnathan Ford, S, Auburn (5-11, 205, 4.39)

6/205: Channing Stribling, CB, Michigan (6-1, 188, 4.59)

6/215: Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern (6-3, 258, 4.72)

7/250: Andrew Eide, G/C, BYU (6-5, 302, 5.17)

Now it's your turn. NFLDraftScout.com is ready to help with its list of the top 1,000 prospects in this draft.

--Frank Cooney and TSX NFL team insiders contributed to this analysis.

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