Barring Trade, Lions Could Take Ed Oliver In First Round Of Draft

Then again, a trade down seems likely.

Jamie and Stoney
April 24, 2019 - 2:21 pm

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Who will the Lions pick eighth overall in the NFL Draft Thursday night? 

Well, there's a growing consensus they won't pick there at all. 

General manager Bob Quinn has been clear about his interest in trading down, and the Lions will have some takers behind them. It will depend largely on how things play out in front of them. 

But in the event the Lions stand pat, who might be their guy? How about a defensive lineman who was once considered the top player in the draft. 

"If they stayed at eight, I think there could be a scenario where Ed Oliver was there," NFL insider Jason La Canfora told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. "I think he would be very much under consideration."

Even after an underwhelming junior season at Houston, it would be surprising to see Oliver slide that far. Most mock drafts have him going in the top five. He's a bull on the interior of the defensive line with pass-rushing skills to boot. 

Alongside the likes of Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison, Da'Shawn Hand and A'Shawn Robinson, Oliver would give the Lions one of the deepest defensive fronts in the NFL. 

La Canfora also pointed to tight end as an option for the Lions if they stay at eight, despite the haunting images of Eric Ebron. T.J. Hockenson would be the guy. 

Detroit isn't the only team looking to trade out of the top 10. The Jets, who own the third overall pick, are also in the mix, La Canfora said. But he likes the Lions' chances better of making a deal, because there aren't many teams interested in trading as high as No. 3. 

"I think they have a better shot at trading out than maybe the Jets. Because the Jets, if it's not Washington, really who is it? But at eight, there is going to be somebody who’s still kind of dangling out there or it's just a player who a team is like, 'Okay, at this point I don’t want to risk the guy we love going four more spots. Let’s just do what we have to do to move up from 13, 14, 15-ish to eight,'" said La Canfora. "I think (the Lions) may be able to pull something off." 

As for a couple Michigan products, La Canfora said Devin Bush's stock is rising while Rashan Gary's is falling. Bush, who not long ago was considered a late first-round pick, has become a popular top-10 selection and the first linebacker off the board after LSU's Devin White. 

"Four, five days ago I thought one of these linebackers might drop, and then just doubling back with GM's this week and guys who don’t have a dog in the fight, they’re like, 'No, those two linebackers are going to go. If you have either one of them getting past 12, you’re out of your mind.' I've had too many people I trust in the last couple of days tell me that," La Canfora said. 

White has been frequently mocked to the Lions, but, like Oliver, it's unlikely he falls to eight. 

"I think White is in play all the way up at four. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Oakland did that. And then if that’s the case, I can’t see Bush getting past a run of teams, 10, 11, 12, who he would be a perfect fit for," La Canfora said. "I hear (Broncos head coach) Vig Fangio is pounding the table for him. I don’t know that Fangio wins that debate (with Broncos GM John Elway), but it's worth having. And then Cincinnati is a natural fit and Green Bay is a natural fit. I think both those kids are off the board in the first third of this round, maybe both in the top 10." 

Gary, meanwhile, has seen his value slip, the most recent concern coming in the form of a torn labrum. He and Bush have essentially swapped places on the draft board, with Gary now looking like a "late first-round" pick," said La Canfora. 

"The medicals are an issue, and then I don’t think Gary has rubbed some of these defensive coordinators exactly the right way either," La Canfora said. "I think he’s coming off the board somewhere in the late 20s would be my guess right now. I think depending how the board falls, you start looking at Seattle and Baltimore. They need some pass rushers. I think his sweet spot is somewhere in there ... backend of the first round."