ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has finally thrown his hat into the mock draft game this week, officially signaling the beginning of Mock Draft Season.
On Friday, Kiper released his Mock Draft 1.0, and his pick for the Detroit Lions is one that is already all-too-familiar. After Joe Burrow predictably lands with the Bengals and Washington annoyingly takes Chase Young, the Lions select Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick in his mock.
“Okudah, the top corner in this class, reminds me a little bit of Stephon Gilmore, whom Patricia coached for a season in New England,” Kiper wrote. “The Buckeye is also a stellar tackler off the edge.”
We’ve already offered our thoughts on Okudah—who was also Todd McShay’s selection for Detroit in his first mock. He’s physical: check. He’s perfect in Detroit’s man-to-man scheme. And I, personally, believe he’s worthy of a top-three pick.
Perhaps more noteworthy in Kiper’s mock is what happens after the Lions’ pick. Both the Dolphins (Tua Tagovailoa) and the Chargers (Justin Herbert) pick a quarterback at five and six, noting just how hungry teams in the top six may be for a quarterback. The trade down talk for the Lions will only continue to grow as we get closer to draft day.
Also of note, everyone’s favorite draft riser—linebacker/safety/edge defender Isaiah Simmons went fourth overall to the Giants in Kiper’s mock. And if you’re wondering what Senior Bowl standout Javon Kinlaw did to his draft stock, Kiper had the defensive tackle slide in at nine to the Jaguars.
You can check out his entire Round 1 mock here (ESPN Insider required).