We are full-on into mock draft season, and with the Senior Bowl dominating the local sports news cycle, now is the perfect time to blend these two worlds with a Detroit Lions-focused seven-round mock draft, with a fresh Senior Bowl twist.
Here are the parameters for this mock draft:
- I’ll be using the Mock Draft machine at The Draft Network
- I will assume the role of Lions general manager Brad Holmes and draft all seven rounds (projected 10 selections), with the other 31 teams being simulated
- I will ONLY be picking players that participated in this week’s Senior Bowl
- The simulator won’t be held to the same restriction
- No trades allowed
The purpose of this exercise is to give Lions fans an opportunity to learn more about the players in this week’s Senior Bowl.
Round 1, pick 2: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Is Johnson worth the No. 2 overall pick? Probably not. But he was the best player at the Senior Bowl, and if the Lions aren’t taking a quarterback here—I don’t think they are—then I’m taking the best player available.
Johnson didn’t measure in Mobile, but the length is undeniable. He is long, and he understands how to use it to his advantage when rushing the passer or setting the edge. He came to play this week putting his skills on full display and should have solidified himself as a first-round pick—probably somewhere between pick No. 10 and 20.
Round 1, Pick 32: Malik Willis, QB Liberty
The juice was too good to pass up here. I believe Willis has played himself into the middle of the first round and probably won’t be available here in real life, but in this simulation, he was so I grabbed him.
His physical traits—elite athleticism and arm strength—have always made him an appealing option, but he showed the intelligence to absorb the Lions playbook and make adjustments to his game on the fly, which is a massive component in succeeding as a signal-caller at the next level.
Round 2, Pick 34: Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
Wyatt is another player who may have played himself into the first round in Mobile with his elite first-step and ability to wreck offensive plays in the backfield. His linemate at Georgia, Jordan Davis, gets all the love, but don’t be surprised if Wyatt is the first defensive tackle off the board in April.
Round 3, Pick 66: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Arguably the best receiver at the Senior Bowl, Tolbert is talented enough to start Day 1 in the NFL, as long as he continues to show development in his game—specifically in getting separation from press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
Round 3, Pick 97: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
The first four selections were all from the American (Lions coached) roster, but I switched over to the National team to get my MIKE linebacker of the future. LSU’s Damone Clark was seriously considered here—both are 6-foot-2 1/2, 240 pounds, run like the wind, and are highly intelligent—but Muma’s instincts and long-term production make him a safer bet for me.
Round 5, Pick 176: Yusuf Corker, S, Kentucky
After a significant break between picks, I used the projected compensatory pick to grab Corker, a split-zone safety who would complement Will Harris and Tracy Walker (assuming they re-sign him). Corker would immediately challenge for third safety duties, which could get him on the field when the Lions use Big Nickel sets.
Round 6, Pick 180: Damien Pierce, RB, Florida
I almost took Pierce with the Corker pick but I figured Lions fans would scream if I used a fifth-rounder on a running back. But now in the sixth round, I figure it sounds nicer and softens the blow a bit. In reality, this is a steal of a pick, but the way running backs have been devalued in the draft recently, it’s something I could realistically see happen—especially with his proficiency as a pass blocker.
Yes, I know the Lions appear loaded at running back, but D’Andre Swift is often injured, Jamaal Williams is in a contract year, Jermar Jefferson can’t get on the game-day roster because he doesn’t play special teams, Godwin Igwebuike had a case of the fumbles late in the season, and as fun of a story as Craig Reynolds is, he has only played in five NFL games. Add in Lions general manager Brad Holmes’ tendency to drafting running backs—he took one last season, and the Rams drafted a running back in six of the eight years he was their college scouting director—and it seems inevitable the Lions will grab a running back in the draft more often than not.
Round 6, Pick 217: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan
Another steal of a pick. Goedeke is a former tight end who converted right tackle, but projects inside in the NFL. He injured himself on the first day of Senior Bowl practices, but he was taking snaps at both guard and center. The Lions appreciate that kind of versatility in their reserve offensive linemen.
Round 7, Pick 230: Josh Williams, DB, Fayetteville State
At 6-foot-2 1⁄2, 193 pounds, with 32 1/4” arms, Williams has an extremely appealing frame for a developmental defensive back. This week, he has shown that he is not only big, but physical and fast as well, recording a top speed of 21.75 MPH, which lead the National team during Tuesday’s practice.
Round 7, Pick 238: Connor Heyward, H-Back, Michigan State
I wanted to land a tight end earlier in the draft and had UCLA’s Greg Dulcich on my radar at pick No. 97, but opted with the linebacker instead. Getting Heyward this late in the draft helps reassure me with my choice, as he would be an instant contributor on offense and special teams. An FB/H-Back/TE option, Heyward is exactly the type of player who makes a roster because of his positional versatility and willingness to put in the work.