5 Potential Lions Draft Targets at Pick No. 29

2024 NFL Draft - Lions Pick No. 28, Kool-Aid McKinstry

The NFL Draft is fast approaching and speculation continues to ramp up among fans, including die-hard Detroit Lions supporters. The Lions currently hold the 29th overall pick in the draft, and if they stay put, there are a few directions they could go.

General manager Brad Holmes is known for being unpredictable, but here are a few intriguing options that make sense.

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

After losing Josh Reynolds in free agency, Dan Campbell and Ben Johnson continue to seek a new wideout for their offense. Thomas could be their answer. The LSU product has elite size and speed, running a 4.34-second 40-yard dash and standing at an imposing 6–foot-3. He often outshined his teammate, Malik Nabers, in college, and there’s no reason to believe his domination can’t continue at the next level.


Thomas has every tool he needs to become one of the best wide receivers in the league. He’s truly a premier offensive weapon — he has the potential to be lightyears better than Reynolds ever was. In Detroit, he’d step into the now-vacant X wide receiver role, playing the part of an outside wide receiver who can make tough catches with regularity and take the top off the defense as needed.

Thomas would take an already strong Lions offense to a nearly unstoppable level. The board must fall favorably for Brad Holmes to select Thomas without trading up, but it’s possible.


Read our scouting report on Brian Thomas Jr. here.

Graham Barton, OL, Duke

It wouldn’t be flashy, but selecting Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton would be a savvy move. He’s a versatile, powerful player with experience at both center and offensive tackle, although the 6-foot-5 Barton likely projects as a center or guard at the next level. He’s fluid, athletic, and well-rounded, and he would immediately give the Lions’ roster a boost.

Detroit likely has its starting offensive line in place already, but looking for long-term players should be a priority. All three of the team’s current interior offensive linemen are dealing with injuries or age in some form, so having a high-quality replacement with positional versatility would be very wise.

Barton is an outstanding prospect and could start sooner rather than later. He’s a stalwart, the kind of player you can always depend on to get it done up front. This pick ensures that Detroit will continue to have an elite offensive line for years to come.


Read our scouting report on Graham Barton here.

Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Even with the additions of Carlton Davis III and Amik Robertson in the secondary, Detroit still needs help at outside cornerback. The room lacks depth, and on top of that, there’s nobody signed to a long-term contract.

Enter, Kool-Aid McKinstry. The former Alabama star is coming off a college season in which he was named an All-American, and it’s easy to see why he earned that honor. McKinstry has good size, athleticism, and a polished skill set. The former five-star recruit has a good feel for the game and the NFL upside of a No. 1 corner.

McKinstry could be a breath of fresh air for a Lions team that has lacked elite talent at cornerback ever since Darius Slay was traded. This seems like the perfect combination of talent and fit for the Lions on Day 1 of the draft.

Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri

Metro Detroit native Darius Robinson has made a strong case to be a first-round pick throughout the pre-draft process. The Missouri product has great size at 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds. Plus, he’s strong and physical with long arms. There are some questions about his pass-rush technique, but there’s also a lot to like about him. The upside is clearly there.

Robinson is a name that has been closely linked to Detroit throughout the draft process ever since he dominated the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and we’ll find out about the legitimacy of those rumblings soon. The catch is that he is a bit of a “tweener.” He projects as someone who can line up at either defensive tackle or defensive end, but it remains to be seen which of those is his better fit. In that sense, he’s a lot like Josh Paschal, but Robinson is a better prospect than Paschal was.

If the Detroit front office thinks Robinson can consistently play the edge rusher spot along with Aidan Hutchinson, he’s a very strong candidate to be the pick.

Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

The Lions have both starting defensive tackle spots accounted for already, but the value and upside here are too good to pass up. Newton is a defensive tackle with a mean streak and an elite skill set. His measurables don’t leap off the page, but the Illinois product simply gets it done, play after play.

He illustrated his dominance by racking up an impressive 44 pressures in his most recent college campaign — tied for first among all collegiate tackles last season. Collapsing the pocket from the interior is immensely valuable in today’s NFL, and Newton is extremely good at doing just that. He’d provide immediate injury insurance for Alim McNeill or D.J. Reader and could take over a starting spot down the road.

The Lions continue to demonstrate their interest in Newton leading up to the draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land in Detroit. He seems to fit the Dan Campbell mold.

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