If you’re not familiar with how the Detroit Lions roundup works, each week we collect data from the latest expert mock drafts published over the last seven days and compile them (with links to the original pieces) in one easy-to-access article. In addition to providing Lions’ fans with the names of prospects being paired with Detroit, we also provide commentary that points to trends, player fits, and overall team philosophy.
The big Lions news to drop this week was the trading of cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick. Okudah had fallen out of favor with the current coaching staff in Detroit and coach Dan Campbell explained that it “felt like, at this time, this is probably the best thing for us and for Jeff.”
As is common whenever a recognizable player is traded, the Lions are now viewed as having “a gaping hole at outside corner” and draft analysts are doing their best to help Detroit fill that need—bumping the cornerback projections back up to pre-free agency levels.
Adding youth at corner is a long-term need but no more so than it was before the trade. The Lions were aggressive in adding talent in free agency, helping solidify a competitive room for 2023, but only Cameron Sutton and Chase Lucas are signed beyond this season, so the Lions were likely already in the market for a corner.
Alright, let’s get started with this week’s roundup.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
No. 3: Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) - Lions trade picks 6, 48, and 81 for pick No. 3
After getting an uptick in recent quarterback projections, the noise has settled back down a bit. Richardson remains a polarizing prospect, but he is a potentially logical fit for the Lions who have the room to let him develop and even met with him at the Combine. However, it’s difficult to predict if the Lions would be willing to part with three top-100 picks in order to move up three spots to acquire him.
Offensive skill players
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
No. 18: Mel Kiper (ESPN), Charles Davis (NFL Network), Diante Lee (The Athletic), Jack McKessy (The Draft Network), Doug Farrar (Touchdown Wire), Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News)
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
No. 18: Jordan Dajani (CBS Sports)
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
No. 11: Mike Payton (Pride of Detroit) Lions trade picks No. 6 and 152, for No. 11 and 41
No. 18: BR Scouting department (Bleacher Report), Ben Brown (PFF)
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
No. 18: Will Brinson (CBS Sports)
Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
No. 18: Brad Menendez (Draft Countdown)
No. 18: Connor Rogers (NBC Sports Edge), Rhett Lewis (NFL Network), Tony Pauline (Pro Football Network)
As mentioned in last week’s roundup, Robinson has seen a consistently high amount of projections to Detroit recently. Having a second first-round pick is viewed as a luxury by many analysts, and most seem to think the Lions would be willing to take a flyer on an elite player at a declining position.
Wide receiver gets a bit more attention this week, and tight ends have been a staple projection ever since the T.J. Hockenson trade, but adding a pass catcher does seem to be on the Lions’ agenda this offseason. Dave Birkett of the Free Press noted this past week that the Lions made a play for tight end Foster Moreau in free agency—before his cancer diagnosis—and it seems likely they turn to the draft to address this need.
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern:
No. 6: Will Brinson (CBS Sports)
Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee
No. 18: Ryan and Erik (Pride of Detroit)
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
No. 18: Jeff Risdon (Draft Wire)
I remain vigilant that the Lions need to address their offensive line depth somewhere within the top-100 picks and refuse to rule out drafting an OL prospect at any of the Lions' options. Skoronski has been previously mocked to Detroit by local beat writers, Wright is a player I deem to be of incredible value at No. 18, and Torrence is a plug-and-play right guard.
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
No. 6: Ryan and Erik (Pride of Detroit), Charles Davis (NFL Network), Rhett Lewis (NFL Network), Jack McKessy (The Draft Network), Eric Froton (NBC Sports Edge), Tony Pauline (Pro Football Network), Brad Menendez (Draft Countdown), Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports), Josh Edwards (CBS Sports), Matthew Freedman (Fantasy Pros), Scott Bair (AtlantaFalcons.com), Jacob Infante (Windy City Gridiron)
Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
No. 18: Mike Payton (Pride of Detroit), Joel Klatt (Fox Sports), Shan Reddy (Stanford Daily), Nick Suss (The Tennessean)
Brian Bresee, DL, Clemson
No. 18: Mark Schofield, Joseph Acosta, Jared Mueller (SB Nation), Thor Nystrom (Fantasy Pros)
Seemingly every new piece of news surrounding Carter is negative, which has led to him “dropping” to the Lions at pick No. 6 in several mock drafts. But the overriding theme regarding the Lions stopping his fall is that the Lions’ culture is built to overcome any potential issues, as explained here by NFL.com’s Charles Davis and Rhett Lewis:
“Character concerns aside, the raw talent is undeniable. And the culture that the Lions have built in a short time under GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell makes Detroit a perfect landing spot for the former Bulldog.” — Davis
“Carter’s off-the-field troubles send him falling into the Lions’ lap and under the workmanlike tutelage of head coach Dan Campbell, who might have just the right temperament to maximize Carter’s supreme talent.” — Lewis
Kancey and Bresee continue to be the only other defensive tackle options considered in the first round for the Lions.
Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
No. 6: Mel Kiper (ESPN), Connor Rogers (NBC Sports Edge), Marcus Mosher (Raiders Wire), Alyssa Barbieri (Touchdown Wire), Shan Reddy (Stanford Daily)
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
No. 6: Mark Schofield, Joseph Acosta, Jared Mueller (SB Nation), Benjamin Robinson (Football Outsiders), Jordan Dajani (CBS Sports), Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
No. 11: Nick Suss (The Tennessean), Lions trade with Titans
No. 18: Kyle Yates (Pro Football Network)
Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia
No. 18: Russ Brown (Fantasy Pros), Matthew Freedman (Fantasy Pros)
There were a surprising number of projections including Anderson to the Lions, but with the Wilson hype train flying down the tracks, it’d be a welcome surprise for Detroit to have the option to draft the Alabama pass rusher. Speaking of Wilson, he also remains a popular choice and there are rumors that the Lions “really like” and “have a high grade on him.”
The projection including Van Ness is intriguing because of the trade suggestion that comes with him. Suss, a Tennessee-based writer, is suggesting that the Tennessee Titans could be interested in trading up to the Lions pick and may be comfortable giving up “multiple first-round picks and multiple second- and third-rounders to make this happen.”
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
No. 6: Jeff Risdon (Draft Wire), Thor Nystrom (Fantasy Pros), Doug Farrar (Touchdown Wire), Ben Brown (PFF), Kyle Yates (Pro Football Network)
No. 11: Diante Lee (The Athletic) - Lions trade pick No. 6 and 183 for 11, 72, and 2024 3rd
No. 11: Russ Brown (Fantasy Pros) - Lions trade pick No. 6 for picks No. 11, 72, and 2024 2nd
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
No. 6: Joel Klatt (Fox Sports), BR Scouting department (Bleacher Report)
No. 13: Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports) - Lions trade picks No. 18 and 55 to Jets for pick 13
No. 18: Sam Monson (PFF)
Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
No. 11: Sam Monson (PFF) Lions trade with Titans, no terms disclosed
No. 18: Scott Bair (AtlantaFalcons.com), Benjamin Robinson (Football Outsiders), Jacob Infante (Windy City Gridiron)
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
No. 18: Eric Froton (NBC Sports Edge), Marcus Mosher (Raiders Wire), Alyssa Barbieri (Touchdown Wire), Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)
Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
No. 18: Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune)
While Witherspoon and Gonzalez are the top choices if the Lions opted for a corner at pick No. 6, several of the mock drafts that had the Lions address the defensive line at No. 6, went with one of the other corners at No. 18—save Monson of PFF, who had them taking two corners, just not in the order most think.
A combination of Will Anderson at No. 6 and Deonte Banks at No. 18 (as suggested by Mosher and Barbieri) or a Jalen Carter and Banks combination (suggested by Fronton and Edwards), would be instant and massive upgrades to the Lions' defense.
Additional recent NFL Draft content from Pride of Detroit
Prospect visits (which continuously updates):
Alex Reno’s positional breakdowns:
- Ranking the Lions’ best options with the 6th overall draft pick
- Ranking the top RB fits for the Lions (NEW)
- Ranking the top fits on the offensive line
- Ranking the top cornerbacks
- Ranking the top defensive tackles
- Ranking the top off-the-ball linebackers
Erik Schlitt’s recent mock draft picks coverage:
- POD Community mock draft: No. 6, Devon Witherspoon NFL profile, fit with Lions
- POD CMD: No. 18, Darnell Wright NFL profile, fit with Lions (NEW)
- SB Nation mock draft: No. 6, Jalen Carter’s fit in Detroit
- SBN MD: No. 18, Darnell Wright adds to a strength (NEW)
More from POD:
- From Ryan Mathews: Ryan and Erik’s 7-round Lions mock draft 2.0 (NEW)
- From Mike Payton: Mike’s 7-round Lions mock draft (NEW)