Despite not being a “draft guy” in years past, this year I’ve tried to put a lot of work into changing that aspect of my game. With that in mind, I’m doing something I’ve traditionally been uncomfortable with: a seven-round mock draft for the Detroit Lions.
Let’s jump right into it.
Round 1, Pick 2: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux
I’ve gone back and forth on just about every situation for the Lions with the second pick. I’ve considered Malik Willis, Kyle Hamilton, Travon Walker, and just about everything in between. I’m going with what makes the most sense: that’s a player who can get to the quarterback. After all, the Lions were the third-worst team in the NFL when it came to sacking quarterbacks in 2021.
Since Aidan Hutchinson is likely to get drafted by the Jaguars with the first pick. Kayvon Thibodeaux is the way to go here. Thibodeaux is an athletic beast who graded out with an elite 9.6 RAS. I know some are worried about his ego and there are some concerns that he doesn’t put forth the best effort every snap. I just don’t see it on film. What I do see is a very talented and athletic player the Lions should take.
Round 1, Pick 32: Safety Jaquan Brisker
Speaking of athletic, Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker posted a 9.11 RAS after a stellar NFL Combine. That’s perfect because opposing offenses are going to be calling 911 on him all year long in 2022 and beyond. I’m kidding, but seriously, though, they will.
The Lions are in need of safety help after they did not address the position in free agency outside of bringing back Tracy Walker. What attracts me the most is Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings scouting report that had me thinking about former Lions' great Glover Quin.
“Brisker follows the quarterback’s eyes, but he’s also aware of the space around him. He doesn’t get tunnel vision, and that instinctive awareness makes him very adaptable as a player.”
Round 2, Pick 34: Linebacker Chad Muma
Ideally, the Lions have a shot at Georgia’s Nakobe Dean at 32 in the real NFL Draft. If not, Wyoming’s Chad Muma is a fine linebacker that the Lions should be absolutely stoked to have.
Muma is another athletic player—notice the trend?—with an elite 9.74 RAS score. That’s pretty good for a 6-foot-3, 242-pound linebacker. Muma can do it all. He can cover, he has closing speed and is a tackling machine. Muma could very well be what the Lions hoped Jarrad Davis could be when they drafted him.
Round 3, Pick 66: Tight end Isaiah Likely
If Likely falls to this spot, the Lions need to have Brad Holmes run to the podium and announce the pick himself.
One thing we learned about the Lions' offense late in the season is that it has the potential to be super fun and super dangerous with head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson at the helm. With that in mind, it’s time to stack up the weapons for Jared Goff. He already has a big athletic tight end who is capable of making plays in T.J. Hockenson. How about getting him another? There are no rules that say you can only have one.
Likely’s athleticism (he’s more fluid than his 4.94 RAS suggests) and big-play ability only make the Lions more dangerous. Opposing defenses will constantly be wondering where Jared Goff is going to put the ball. At 6-foot-4 Likely has the ability to go up and get it in the end zone, something the Lions really missed in 2021.
Round 3, Pick 97: Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson
We know so little about what the Lions are going to do in this draft, but one thing we do know is that the Lions reportedly have interest in Kentucky’s Robinson. So why not plug him in right in here?
Robinson is not the biggest guy by any stretch. He’s only 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds. The Lions don’t need a big guy, though. What the Lions do need is a speedster who can catch the ball from just about anywhere. Robinson is that guy.
Round 5, Pick 177: Guard Dylan Parham
Parham’s athleticism is so off the charts that I had to jump on the opportunity to land him. He had an 8.76 RAS and earned the second-lowest quarterback pressure percentage in the country last season. The guy can move and he can keep players away from his quarterback.
Parham is a guy who can come in and flex in and out of the guard spot and even play some tackle if need be. In the meantime, he’ll need to take some time before potentially growing into a starting role. The Lions should definitely keep an eye on where this guy falls in the draft—because it may be earlier than this spot suggets.
Round 6, Pick 181: Safety Bubba Bolden
The Lions could still use more help at safety. As it stands, they have essentially have Tracy Walker, Will Harris, and C.J. Moore on the roster among some other guys who may not be able to make the cut in camp. Enter Miami safety Bubba Bolden.
Bolden is another guy that is an athlete. He’s going into the draft with a 9.49 RAS and ran a nice 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine. Bolden could come in and make a case for some playing time among Walker and Brisker.
Round 6, Pick 217: Fullback/tight end Connor Heyward
It’s superback time. Yes, the Lions already have a fullback and they are stocked up at running back, but why not have a guy on the team who can do multiple things anyways? If you’re a Michigan State fan, then you know Heyward played running back, fullback, tight end, and sometimes even wide receiver during his time as a Spartan. If there’s one thing the league can’t have too many of, it’s players who can do a bunch of things.
Round 7, Pick 234: Wide receiver Jalen Nailor
Here’s one for me. The Lions are probably well-stocked at receiver, but one more guy in the building couldn’t hurt, especially one who can help out in the return game. They call the man “Speedy” for a reason. It’s because he can flat-out get away from you. Nailor finished second in the Big Ten in yards per catch last season. In 2020, he led the conference in that same category. The Lions are a team that needs help in that very category.