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Mel Kiper Jr. beefs up Detroit Lions’ defensive line in latest 3-round mock

Mel Kiper gives Matt Patricia some fun new toys in his latest 3-round mock

Arkansas v Mississippi Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Todd McShay did his best to create a “Grade A” three-round mock draft for the Detroit Lions. And, surprisingly, he did quite well. His picks of guard Will Hernandez, running back Nick Chubb and defensive end Jalyn Holmes earned him an average grade of a B from Lions fans, which is far more popular than the reviews he got for his two-round dueling mock with Mel Kiper Jr.

Speaking of Kiper, on Wednesday it was his turn to hand out a three-round “Grade A” mock for all 32 teams. Here were his selections for the Lions.

Round 1: DT Taven Bryan, Florida

With some of the top defensive line talent—like Bradley Chubb, Da’Ron Payne, Vita Vea and Marcus Davenport—already off the board, Kiper tapped the Florida-to-Detroit pipeline for their first-round pick.

I think a lot of Lions fans would expect to hear Harold Landry’s name here if the board fell this way (Landry went 28th), but Bryan would be a welcomed pick, too. This was the same pick Kiper made in his Mock Draft 3.0, and his reasoning was surprisingly sound (outside of the part where he said cornerback should be in consideration here).

As our own Ryan Mathews wrote at the time, Bryan would fill Detroit’s desperate need for 3-technique defensive lineman, as the only player that can really fit that description right now is Akeem Spence. Bryan doesn’t have the eye-popping production at Florida, but all the athletic traits are there.

Round 2: RB Nick Chubb, Georgia

In the second round, Kiper and McShay both slotted Chubb to the Lions. It’s easy to see why. If the Lions are truly moving to a more power-blocking scheme along the offensive line, Detroit couldn’t get a better back in this draft. As mentioned on Tuesday, our own Alex Reno loves how Chubb fits in Detroit, and even has him ranked higher than any back not named Derrius Guice or Saquon Barkley.

Round 3: DL Breeland Speaks, Mississippi

Kiper goes back to the defensive line for Detroit’s third-round pick and selects a player that is sure to be a finalist in the 2018 Name Bracket tournament (his name is a sentence!).

Breeland Speaks is a versatile defensive lineman who is still getting his act together. After failing to make much of an impact as a rotational player in his freshman and sophomore years, Speaks blew up the scene in 2017, tallying 61 tackles, 8.0 TFLs and 7.0 sacks from various positions on the line. He earned second team all-SEC honors that season, while finishing second on the team in tackles and sacks.

Many project him to be a best fit as an interior defender or a 3-4 defense end, and that’s exactly what his athletic profiles says, too:

Interestingly enough,’s Lance Zierlein’s NFL comparison for Speaks is former Patriots defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois—whom the Lions were pursuing (and still may be) in free agency.

Considering the Lions have really only added on player along the defensive line, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll be selecting at least one in the first two days of the draft. Speaks fits the mold of someone Matt Patricia may be interested in, but questions remain about his lack of productivity in his first two years at Ole Miss, and the Lions may not want to wait this long to address the position.

Time to vote. What grade do you give Kiper’s mock, and do you like it better than McShay’s three-rounder?


What grade do you give Mel Kiper’s 3-round mock for the Lions?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    (273 votes)
  • 54%
    (831 votes)
  • 22%
    (348 votes)
  • 4%
    (63 votes)
  • 1%
    (19 votes)
1534 votes total Vote Now


Whose 3-round mock do you like better?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    McShay (Will Hernandez, Nick Chubb, Jalyn Holmes)
    (578 votes)
  • 47%
    Kiper (Taven Bryan, Nick Chubb, Breeland Speaks)
    (517 votes)
1095 votes total Vote Now

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