The first 40 picks in the POD community mock draft have been made and the Detroit Lions are once again on the clock.
After selecting WR Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) in the first round, I presented the best top-six players on my draft board to fans and asked them to vote for which player readers would select if they were in my shoes.
Here are the results of the voting (Note: I made my selection prior to the voting):
- Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky — 50 percent of the vote
- Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama — 16 percent
- Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana — 14 percent
- Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida — 9 percent
- Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington — 5 percent
- Other players suggested by POD commentators — 4 percent
- Joe Tryon, DE, Washington — 2 percent
Narrowing the field
While I started with these six choices, I quickly narrowed them to three based on talent, short-term and long-term need, as well a positional value. I came to the same conclusion as the voters, the obvious top choices were Davis, Dickerson, and Johnson. Let’s take a look at how all three fit into these categories.
Davis is one of the most talented linebackers in this class and his ability to win in coverage would fit right in at inside linebacker (currently Alex Anzalone) and has the skill set to develop into a MIKE (Jamie Collins) with more time on the field. In the short term, Davis would likely come off the bench, with an opportunity to take on a significant amount of snaps as the year progresses. In the long-term, he has a chance to earn a starting role in 2022, if not sooner.
Dickerson is the second-best interior offensive lineman in the class, carries a first-round ranking for me, and would be an immediate starter at right guard. His presence would give the Lions a mauler on the inside and push Halapoulivaati Vaitai in a battle with Tyrell Crosby at right tackle, which in theory would make both spots better. As an immediate starter, he has both short and long-term value.
Johnson is exactly what the Lions are looking for in the secondary as he can play deep, in a split-zone, and man up pass catchers in the slot. With only Will Harris and Dean Marlowe to beat for a starting role, he would be the front-runner to start opposite Tracy Walker. Like Dickerson, he fills a big need in the short and long term.
From a positional value standpoint, it’s important to look back at how Brad Holmes and the L.A. Rams valued each position during his eight years as director of college scouting.
I completely understand fans' infatuation with Davis—it’s been ages since the Lions have had a do-it-all linebacker—but the Lions only use two off-the-ball linebackers, and one of them is a part-time starter. It’s just not as big a priority position in this scheme. In the eight years Holmes was in L.A., the Rams only drafted an off-the-ball linebacker seven times, and six of them were selected with pick No. 147 or later. The anomaly was Alec Ogletree in 2013 under a different front office and coaching scheme.
Conversely, over that same period, the Rams drafted 15 offensive linemen and eight of them were taken between pick No. 2 and pick No. 119 overall. At safety, they took eight players, and five of them went between picks No. 61 and 110.
Basically, if Holmes holds true to form, Dickerson and Johnson will hold a higher positional value than Davis.
When it came down to separating Dickerson from Johnson, the deciding factor came down to individual rankings. Dickerson holds a late first ranking for me, while Johnson carries an early second. Even though safety is the bigger immediate need for the Lions, they are at a spot where they need to take the best player available, and that meant selecting Dickerson.
Now it’s your turn, hand out a grade for this pick and leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from the 16 percent of you who think it was the right move.
What grade do you give the Lions selection of IOL Landon Dickerson with pick No. 41?
This poll is closed