It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another set of mock drafts. After last week’s Senior Bowl, most draft analysts have shifted their big boards. This will happen several times before we get to April’s draft, as events like the NFL Combine and several Pro Days will change the perception of this year’s draft class.
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar released his latest, post-Senior Bowl mock, and it pretty much presents a worst-case scenario for the Detroit Lions. Just look at the top five picks in the draft:
- Edge Nick Bosa
- Edge Josh Allen
- Edge Rashan Gary
- DT Quinnen Williams
- CB Greedy Williams
That may very well read as the Lions’ big board right now, as the Lions would almost certainly like to go with a front-four player with the eighth overall pick or possibly a cornerback—although Lions insiders believe they may not be looking for a corner in the first round.
Though Kadar gives the Lions some relief by making the next two picks on the offensive side of the ball, seeing five defensive players come off the board that early would be bad news. The only good that comes of that is just one quarterback has been selected by the time the Lions are on the clock, increasing their chances of a trade down.
But with no trades in this draft, Kadar ends up selecting one of the players who distinguished himself at Senior Bowl week: Mississippi State edge defender Montez Sweat.
“The eighth pick might be a little too high for Sweat, but lanky pass rushers with athleticism tend to rise on draft weekend,” Kadar admits. “Sweat could be Detroit’s long-term answer as a pass rusher.”
Sweat has seen his stock rise dramatically over the last couple years, tallying 22.5 sacks since 2017. He won’t dazzle you with his athleticism or bend around the edge, but his physicality and hand usage more than compensate for his shortcomings elsewhere.
Still, this feels like a bit of a stretch for the Lions at eighth overall. There are plenty of other examples of defensive line talent in this second-tier of players: Ed Oliver, Brian Burns, Jachai Polite and Clelin Ferrell are all still available. The Lions would be able to get a player on the level of Sweat’s talent if they were to trade down five spots or so.
Unfortunately, those things are always much easier said than done, and if the board falls this way, we may see Detroit reaching for a prospect they could’ve gotten later in the draft.