Last week I left my comfort zone and dropped my first mock draft. So, here I am again with another mock draft for you, but this time we’re doing things a bit differently. I wanted to do two different things with this draft. First, I wanted to trade down in the first round. Second, I wanted to do was try to not draft the same players that I drafted in last week's draft. For the most part, I succeeded in that.
Let’s get into this mock.
First off, let’s talk about a trade. A lot of times when you use mock draft generators, you’ll get some unreal trade offers. So I decided to decline those and try to find a trade partner myself. I found one in the Atlanta Falcons and we did a deal. Let’s take a look at the trade.
Detroit Lions get: The 8th overall pick, 43rd pick, and 190th pick.
Falcons get: The 2nd overall pick, which they used that pick Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
Round 1, pick 8: Edge Jermaine Johnson
Last week, we had a theme and that theme was athleticism. Now, we’ll be looking for athletes again, but this week, the bigger theme is utility.
Utility is why I selected Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. He did a lot of different things in college. At Georgia, he played outside linebacker, and at Florida State, he played edge both standing up and with his hand on the turf. He did all this very well. He also happens to be a tremendous athlete. He had a 9.23 RAS score after the NFL Combine and his pro day. There’s a reason he’s risen up the draft board this offseason.
Round 1, Pick 32: DT Perrion Winfrey
The old adage is football games are won in the trenches. So with that in mind, building up the lines is smart business. The Lions could use a force in the middle of their line. How about a guy that’s athletic and can be a utility? Winfrey is that guy. Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network can tell you why.
“A particularly exciting part of Winfrey’s profile—beyond his athleticism and his natural leverage—is his versatility. With his size and athletic framework, Winfrey can line up in a multitude of different spots. Last year, he took reps everywhere from nose tackle to 5-technique, and his skill set allows him to stunt between different positions on a single rep. His best role in the NFL will probably be as a 3-technique, but Winfrey isn’t confined to that alignment.”
Winfrey was also one of our standouts from Senior Bowl week, albeit from the National team that the Lions were not coaching.
Round 2, Pick 34: Receiver Christian Watson
The Lions receiving corps are a mystery to me. They might be good to go in 2022 with DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Josh Reynolds. But, still, an extra piece would be nice.
Watson absolutely wowed everyone at the Combine when he ran a blistering 4.36 40-yard dash. On top of that, he put up a RAS score of 9.96. He also happens to be 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds. He’s a monster out there.
Round 2, Pick 43: Linebacker Quay Walker
Walker had a RAS score of 9.63, and he helped the Georgia Bulldogs win it all this year. He’s not Nakobe Dean, but what he does have on Dean though is size. While Dean is 5-foot-11 1⁄2 and 231 pounds, Walker is a much bigger 6-foot-3 1⁄2 and 241 pounds. Even with the added size, Walker doesn’t cede any athleticism. His strength is also exciting. Ian Cummings of PFN explains.
“Walker’s play strength is another factor that separates him from other linebackers. He undoubtedly has the size and strength to take on offensive linemen at the second level. The Georgia ILB latches onto opposing linemen’s pads, then rips down anchors with violent force.”
Round 3, Pick 66: Tight end Isaiah Likely
I failed at my mission here. I just really like Likely. I had to take him again. Here is my rundown on Likely from last week.
Round 3, Pick 97: Guard Lecitus Smith
The Lions' offensive line is definitely a strength for this team, but depth is important, and the Lions need to keep their future in mind. Smith can add instant depth to the Lions at the guard spot and potentially take over for Halapoulivaati Vaitai eventually. He’s a big, meaty guy who can push other big, meaty guys around. A power blocker that can pull, Smith would be a great fit for a Lions team that values the run game. The Lions have seen what Smith can do already, too, as he was on their Senior Bowl team.
Round 5, Pick 177: Safety Smoke Monday
Here’s one for the name bracket. This dude has the coolest name I’ve ever seen in my 36 years of life. Even his real name (Quindarious) is cool.
Does smoke have all the smoke for the Lions? This team needs help at safety. While I would prefer the Lions take a shot at a safety much earlier than this, sometimes the board doesn’t fall your way. Monday is going to be a project for the Lions. There are some questions about his speed and whether or not he can keep up in the NFL. There are also some questions about his coverage skills altogether.
That’s why you pair a player like this with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. This is what they’re good at. They can get the best out of a player. It might be a risk, but it’s a risk that could pay off. Plus, this is the fifth round. This is where you take high-upside guys.
Round 6, Pick 181: Cornerback Joshua Williams
Sticking to the secondary, the Lions could use more depth at corner. Enter Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams. I know fans can sometimes be scared of the small school players, but according to PFN’s James Fragoza, Williams may be a big fish in a small pond.
“The Fayetteville State CB is a small-school player with big-school talent. When studying FCS and lower prospects, you want them to dominate. And Williams did just that throughout his D2 career. Although the level of competition will be a rather large knock against Williams, he did what he was supposed to and lock down his opponents.”
Round 6, Pick 190: Tight End James Mitchell
Two tight ends? Are you crazy?
Yes, I am crazy, but hear me out. What did I say we were looking at in this mock draft? Utility. Mitchell offers that for the Lions. While he spent most of his time playing tight end at Virginia Tech, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Mitchell played outside, inside, and in the slot. He also played some running back and even returned punts.
When you have a guy on the team who can do a bunch of different things, you tend to find a place for him, and he’ll almost certainly be a special teams player immediately. So don’t read too much into the tight end of it all. Mitchell is a weapon. The downside is Mitchell is recovering from knee surgery. The upside is this is why you’re able to get him in the sixth round.
Round 6, Pick 217: Linebacker Mike Rose
You can never have too many linebackers on your team. Sitting at this spot I wanted to go with the best player I could find and his athleticism and background jumped off the page. He was the Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, and he has a 9.07 RAS score. Not bad.
He also comes with a lot of experience. As a four-year starter at Iowa State, he played 49 games and was a leader on the defense there (team captain in 2021). He’s one of those guys who makes you wonder why he’s falling so far, especially when the scouting report shows he’s good in coverage and even better stopping the run. This one feels like a steal.
Round 7, Pick 234: Offensive lineman Dylan Parham
Parham is the only other guy besides Likely that I had on last week’s mock. He’s here again because I realized the Lions could get him later than they could in last week’s mock. Admittedly, it seems unlikely he’d fall anywhere near this fall, but he was there, so I had to take him. You can read my rationale for the pick here.