Conventional wisdom holds that the Detroit Lions should be looking at a skill position with the No. 10 overall pick in the NFL draft, perhaps a cornerback or a wide receiver to complement Calvin Johnson. But former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly doesn't necessarily believe the Lions will make the pick based on need.
Casserly pointed to the Lions' new coaching staff and how that might affect their draft strategy. In particular, new head coach Jim Caldwell arrives after spending two years in Baltimore, which has been known for using the "best player available" philosophy.
And when NFL clubs draft with a "best player available" mindset rather than for need, what results is often a draft-day shocker.
"Even though they'll have a plan position-wise, there could be a surprise here depending upon who is there," Casserly said on Wednesday's "Path to the Draft."
The beauty of the "best player available" draft philosophy, of course, is that a club's choice becomes completely unpredictable. Needs drive assumptions where the NFL draft is concerned, and the clubs that can separate themselves from a need-based pick become dangerous to the teams drafting behind them.
If the Lions do draft with the "best player available" philosophy, the names that appear at No. 10 on NFL.com's big boards are an interesting lot. Gil Brandt's top 50 has linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 10; Daniel Jeremiah's 10th-ranked player is offensive tackle Taylor Lewan; and Bucky Brooks lists quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as his No. 10 player.
Despite considering the possibility of a surprise, Casserly said he sees a cornerback -- Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert -- as one of the most likely options for Detroit at the No. 10 pick, citing new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin's propensity for man-to-man corners.
"Cornerback to me is the major priority on this football team," Casserly said. "Justin Gilbert to me is the top corner. I think No. 10 is too rich for him, but if you don't take him at 10, you don't get him."
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread