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2021 POD community mock draft: Detroit Lions select S Jamar Johnson in Round 3

The Lions get a big addition on defense with their third-round pick.

Indiana v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

I believe the Detroit Lions plan is to come away with the best player available with every pick in the 2021 draft and that approach led me to select WR Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) in the first round and IOL Landon Dickerson (Alabama) in the second. Now that we are into the third round, my strategy hasn’t changed, and this time it’s finally led me to the defensive side of the ball.

In yesterday’s fan poll of best available options, the overwhelming choice—more than double the votes of any other player—was Indiana safety Jamar Johnson.

Despite making my selection ahead of the fan vote, my view of the best available player lined up perfectly with the fan base and I also connected the Lions with Johnson at pick No. 72 in the draft.

This was an easy selection for me, as he was one of the players I considered taking at the top of Round 2 due to his ability to contribute at multiple spots in the secondary as a day one starter.

Understanding Johnson’s value in the secondary

The Lions have said they plan to model their secondary after the one defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn ran with the New Orleans Saints last year, and that means they need safeties who can play a heavy mix of Cover-1, Cover-2, and Split-zone concepts.

Here’s how the Saints split up their coverages last season:

Here’s an example of the Saints running Cover-1 man with three safeties on the field in their Dime set:

If the Lions are looking to replicate the Saints secondary, they will need safeties capable of playing in Single-high (Cover-1), deep free (Cover-2), man-coverage in the slot, and in the box.

Tracy Walker is capable of playing the box but has said he feels more comfortable away from the line of scrimmage at single-high and free. Unfortunately, he struggled in man-coverage last season, which could be an issue moving forward. Will Harris has flashed playing in the box but struggled in man and deep coverage. Dean Marlowe has shown the ability to play free and in the box, but like the rest of the group, lacks the necessary man coverage skills.

Enter Jamar Johnson.

One of Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes’ favorite players he identified and pushed for the L.A. Rams to draft was John Johnson, who just signed a big deal with the Cleveland Browns. The first-team All-Big Ten safety from Indiana in this year’s draft is basically his clone.

Jamar Johnson is capable of lining up at single-high, deep free, man coverage in the slot, and is very comfortable in split-zone:

Johnson’s range and instincts allow him to make plays on the ball, regardless of where he lines up on defense. Last season, he had four interceptions in the eight games Indiana played.

Johnson’s talent level combined with the Lions' desperate need for a safety who can cover makes him a viable option for Detroit at pick No. 41. The fact that he is still on the board at pick No. 72 makes him a steal.

So how’d I do this round? Let me know by voting in the poll and commenting below:

Poll

What grade do you give the Lions for drafting S Jamar Johnson with pick No. 72?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    A
    (601 votes)
  • 22%
    B
    (186 votes)
  • 4%
    C
    (41 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (6 votes)
845 votes total Vote Now