After finishing the 2020 season with a 5-11 record, the Detroit Lions have made several changes. They hired Dan Campbell as their new head coach and Brad Holmes as their new general manager. Then, Detroit made a blockbuster move, trading former No.1 overall pick Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. In return, the Lions received Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick (88th overall), and two future first-round picks. The Lions are looking at a long rebuilding process, but at the same time, don’t expect them to roll over for their opponents. Without further ado, let’s dive into the Lions pre free agency seven-round mock draft.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.
Round 1, Pick 7: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Expect the Lions to be active on draft day. They only have six picks currently, and according to rumors, want to add a third first-round pick next year. However, in this mock draft, there are no trades. Assuming the Lions stay at pick seven, a quarterback isn’t out of the question but not the favorite either. Instead, the Lions take a wide receiver. Kenny Golladay will likely be back next season, whether on the franchise tag or with a long-term deal; however, Marvin Jones won’t be back. Smith had a record season at Alabama and would form an excellent duo in Detroit with Golladay.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 23, 2021
Round 2, Pick 41: Joseph Ossai, DE, Texas
Last season, the Lions struggled to get to the opposing quarterback, totaling only 24 sacks. Furthermore, Romeo Okwara was the only player on the team to have more than 3.5 sacks last season, and he’s a free agent. Even if he is back, the Lions have to find a way to generate pressure. During his time at Texas, Ossai got used in several ways. However, but when asked to rush the passer, he had success. Over his last two seasons, Ossai totaled 11.5 sacks and 29 tackles for a loss to go along with six total turnovers. Ossai is still developing, but if he hits his ceiling, the Lions will have solved their pass rush problems.
Round 3, Pick 72: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Recently the Lions released cornerback Desmond Trufant after one season in Detroit. Furthermore, 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah was wildly inconsistent as a rookie. The Lions have some productive depth at cornerback. However, in a division full of elite wide receivers like Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and potentially Allen Robinson, the Lions can’t have too many good cornerbacks. Campbell didn’t put up flashy numbers at Georgia, as he had only one interception. However, he had nine passes defended over the past two seasons. Campbell won’t be a day one starter as a rookie, but he has the upside to earn a starting role before the season is over.
For more on Campbell, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 3, Pick 88: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
While the Lions have plenty of holes on defense, the offensive line needs some work as well. While Taylor Decker has the left tackle spot locked down, the right tackle spot is unclear. A year ago, the Lions signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a five-year contract. However, he struggled in his first season in Detroit and has an easy out in his contract after the 2021 season. While Tyrell Crosby can play right tackle, he is better suited at guard. Meanwhile, Brown was a staple at the right tackle spot during his time at Northern Iowa. Brown is raw and might not a redshirt year to develop, but he has the tools to be the Lions’ starting right tackle in 2022.
Round 4, Pick 112: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Many believe Goff got thrown into the trade with the Rams for salary cap purposes; however, the Lions wanted him. Detroit may not think Goff is franchise quarterback, but he gives them an excellent bridge gap option till they find their next franchise guy. Meanwhile, Trask is one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft. But on early day three, he’s worth the risk. In his final season at Florida, Trask broke out, totaling 4,283 passing yards and 43 passing touchdowns. At this point in the draft, the Lions take their shot on Trask, knowing if he underperforms, they can draft another quarterback next year. However, if Trask turns out to be a franchise quarterback, the Lions will have the steal of the draft.
For more on Trask, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 5, Pick 154: Caden Sterns, SAF, Texas
Starting safety Duron Harmon is a free agent and likely won’t get a new contract offer. Furthermore, the other starting safety, Tracy Walker, is a free agent after the 2021 season. The Lions’ third safety, Will Harris, is a capable starter but shouldn’t earn that role without competition. During his time at Texas, Sterns was used in several ways, allowing him to make plays in the backfield and the secondary. In three years at Texas, Sterns had 8.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, and five interceptions. Given his versatility to play either safety spot, Sterns is an excellent target for the Lions with their final selection.
Caden Sterns: pretty good. pic.twitter.com/fZndeGpR6A
— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 22, 2018