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Detroit Lions 7-Round Mock Draft: 0-8 edition

  • The Draft Network
  • November 1, 2021
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The Detroit Lions are midway through year one of the Dan Campbell-Brad Holmes era and things are off to a slow start. At 0-8, the Lions are the lone winless team remaining in the NFL and most recently suffered a 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Given the need to overhaul the roster and change the culture, expectations were low for the Lions in 2021, so the lack of success on the field shouldn’t come as a surprise. The good news is that Detroit is loaded with assets to keep building in the coming offseason, including 11 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. As things currently stand, five of those are scheduled to come among the top 100 selections. 

Let’s examine how the Lions can use its abundance of draft capital to help turn things around in the Motor City: 

Round 1, No. 1 Overall: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

The Lions are trending toward earning the No. 1 overall pick and there isn’t a quarterback in the coming draft that is worthy of the selection—Detroit doesn’t need to force that selection. The better idea is to wait on a quarterback and get appropriate value for the top pick in the form of a blue-chip talent at a premium position. Thibodeaux has been a game-wrecker for Oregon and has every trait necessary to be among the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the NFL. 

Round 1, No. 32 overall: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

In his fourth season as a starter for Pitt, Pickett has a reasonable claim that he’s been the best quarterback in college football in 2021—which has significantly elevated his draft stock and he’s now in the first-round conversation. In eight starts this season, Pickett has tallied 2,755 passing yards with 26 touchdowns, just three interceptions, and a 69.2% completion percentage. He’s making throws to all levels of the field and continues to deliver in clutch moments. He has good size, mobility, toughness, and is an ascending talent that gives Detroit a chance to find the long-term answer at the most important position on the field.

Round 2, No. 33 overall: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State 

While the Lions have plenty of needs, bolstering the wide receiver corps should be among the highest priorities. Detroit does have a few intriguing possession-style targets but lacks speed at the position, which would immediately be solved with the addition of Dotson. While he isn’t the biggest receiver, Dotson plays well above his weight class and features outstanding hands, ball skills, route-running ability, yards after catch skill, and is a true threat to every level of the field. 

Round 3, No. 65 overall: CB Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech 

Detroit has some appealing young players at cornerback, but it’s a critical position and the Lions have to find the right mix of options to be a better defense against the pass. Waller is an underrated talent that has been tasked with a variety of coverage techniques at Virginia Tech and that scheme versatility will be an asset for him in the NFL. Waller has outstanding ball skills and the type of skill set to develop into an impact starter at the next level. 

Round 3, No. 98 overall: EDGE Amare Barno, Virginia Tech

It’s important for the Lions to prioritize premium positions with early draft picks and a double-dip at pass rusher makes sense for Detroit who can use more options and take advantage of an insanely deep crop of edge defenders. Barno is a hybrid edge with outstanding burst, flexibility, and length. He will fit perfectly into Detroit’s multi-front defense and give the Lions a dynamic developmental option to play on the edge.

Round 5, No. 143 overall: LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin 

Given the messaging that has come from Campbell about what type of team he wants to build in Detroit, Chenal is a perfect fit. He’s an enforcer playing downhill, showcasing terrific instincts, physicality, and playmaking ability attacking the line of scrimmage. His style of play is perfect for the NFC North and would help the Lions become a more tough and physical football team. 

Round 5, No. 176 overall: CB D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina

There always tends to be value in the middle of day three when it comes to finding slot cornerbacks and that’s the case here with Strong. He doesn’t impress with his size, but he’s an appealing nickel corner with his quickness, toughness, tackling ability, and ability to drive on routes. He’s an aggressive and confident defender that has the perfect makeup for life in the slot at the next level.

Round 6, No. 180 overall: OL Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina

The Lions’ offensive line is banged up but has plenty of talented options. With that in mind, and especially with so many draft picks, the Lions should continue finding ways to add to its offensive line depth and Ezeudu is a terrific option on day three. He’s experienced at multiple spots up front and his mean streak meshes well with the type of team Detroit wants to be. Ezeudu gets after it in the run game and features a stout anchor in pass protection.

Round 6, No. 218 overall: RB Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky 

I’m not sure Campbell will be able to resist Rodriguez in the coming draft. Rodriguez is a physical, downhill runner that forces defenders to make business decisions. He can provide depth at running back for Detroit while offering an exciting short-yardage skill set. He’s a physical football player that fits the identity Detroit is looking for. 

Round 7, No. 230 overall: S Joey Blount, Virginia 

Blount has been a productive player for Virginia across his four seasons as a starter. He plays from a variety of alignments including the high post, slot, and in the box. He features ideal size, length, and athleticism, profiling as a depth player and core special teams player in the NFL.

Round 7, No. 245 overall: TE Chase Allen, Iowa State 

Allen’s production as a receiver in college doesn’t impress, but his appeal at the next level comes from his ability to block and serve as a true in-line tight end. He’s a serviceable pass-catcher but can provide immediate value as a blocker and he’s an experienced special teams player.

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