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NFL Mock Draft 2015: Lions nab Todd Gurley at #23

The Lions try to find Barry Sanders' successor in our mock draft.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions' offseason has seen some of the team's biggest (literally) stars on defense leave for Miami (Ndamukong Suh) and St. Louis (Nick Fairley). Though they picked up Haloti Ngata from Baltimore, one might imagine that they would look for defensive help in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

However, Detroit's top running back is Joique Bell, a decent player but not one who would be considered a star by any stretch. The receiving corps could benefit from a boundary receiver to take pressure off Calvin Johnson as well.

In the 2015 APC Mock Draft, Kris Burke takes on Martin Mayhew's role as Lions GM, and with the 23rd pick, he selected...

Todd Gurley, running back, Georgia

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 222 pounds

Here's Kris on his pick:

The Detroit Lions have not had a solid running back since Barry Sanders. Those are tough shoes to fill and they don't need the next Sanders but a good back to take pressure off of Matthew Stafford is definitely in the cards for Detroit.

This is where Todd Gurley comes in. The Gurley vs. Melvin Gordon debate might not even exist if Gurley hadn't blown out his ACL last year. Thanks to that injury, Gordon likely will be the first running back off the board but the Lions could easily jump on Gurley even if MG3 is available.

Gurley is the more athletic between the two and is built more like a traditional running back. The injury concern is a big red flag, but the potential he has shown may be enough to get teams to overlook the ACL injury. Gurley didn't have the luxury of playing behind a Wisconsin offensive line either, meaning he had to make his own big plays quite a few times. aa He still needs some work in pass protection but that's the norm now for rookie NFL running backs. His addition to the Lions' backfield would give Detroit the perfect counter punch to Green Bay's Eddie Lacy, Chicago's Matt Forte and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (if he stays on the team).

The NFC North would once again be the "black and blue" division with those four running backs. Packer fans really don't want Gurley in a Lion uniform given their shaky run defense, but Detroit would do themselves well by selecting the Georgia back.

Pick Team Player Position School
1 TB Jameis Winston QB Florida State
2 TEN Leonard Williams DT USC
3 JAX Amari Cooper WR Alabama
4 OAK Randy Gregory OLB/DE Nebraska
5 WAS Dante Fowler, Jr. OLB Florida
6 NYJ Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
7 CHI Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
8 ATL Brandon Scherff OT Iowa
9 NYG Kevin White WR West Virginia
10 STL La'el Collins OT LSU
11 MIN DeVante Parker WR Louisville
12 CLE Danny Shelton DT Washington
13 NO Trae Waynes CB Michigan State
14 MIA Marcus Peters CB Washington
15 SF Malcom Brown DT Texas
16 HOU Landon Collins S Alabama
17 SD T.J. Clemmings OL Pittsburgh
18 KC Andrus Peat OT Stanford
19 CLE (from BUF) Ereck Flowers OT Miami (FL)
20 PHI Jaelen Strong WR Arizona State
21 CIN D.J. Humphries OT Florida
22 PIT Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri
23 DET Todd Gurley RB Georgia
24 ARI