The Senior Bowl marks the start of the path to the draft, but the Combine is where we start to see if players will perform to expectation. I am using TDN’s (The Draft Network) Predictive board for this draft, my personal favorite year to year.
Round 1 Pick 2: Aidan Hutchinson EDGE Michigan
Thibodeaux and Hamilton are still here, and while people may tout Thibs for having a higher upside, his drive for football is in question, I think the Lions can squash that bug since they have Penei Sewell, a guy who went head-to-head with him every day in practice. I think they take Hutchinson because he has a higher floor, and will produce year to year, it doesn’t hurt he’s a hometown kid, and will continue to play at home. Not a knock-on Thibodeaux, I just think Hutchinson fits the “Bite off kneecaps” mantra in Detroit. His impact with either of the Okwara’s on the other side could skyrocket abysmal pass rush.
Other Options: Kayvon Thibodeaux and Kyle Hamilton
Round 1 Pick 32: David Bell WR Purdue
Jaquan Brisker was tempting here, but with the Jaguars wanting to build around Trevor Lawrence and DJ Chark likely moving on from Jacksonville, I do not know if David Bell would still be here at 34. He fits exactly what the Lions are looking for in an X receiver at 6’2” and 210ish pounds, and I’d really like to see how he runs in the combine, if it is faster than a 4.45, I’d almost lock him in at 32. I also like the idea of having a 5th year option on a skill position player.
Other Options: Jahan Dotson, Christian Harris, and Jaquan Brisker.
Round 2 Pick 34: Jaquan Brisker S Penn State
Almost took him in the first round, but I took Bell because I did not know if he would be there. Brisker is a dual threat safety, he can play in the box, but also has the ball skills to play Free Safety and make an impact. The Lions need a safety, and I think they nab their guy here at 34 for years to come. It was almost just as tempting to go back-to-back WR.
Other Options: Jahan Dotson, Roger McCreary, and Desmond Ridder.
Round 3 Pick 66: John Metchie III WR Alabama
Desmond Ridder is still on the board somehow, and as much as I like him, I just do not think that is realistic. Make no mistake, if he or Sam Howell are on the board at 66, I would take them, around 1 talent available in Round 3 is a no brainer. Here I take John Metchie III, overshadowed his whole career by guys like Ruggs, Williams, Waddle, and Smith, make no mistake he is an amazing WR talent. He is pretty much going to be a complement to Amon-Ra in that they can both play the Z and the slot, I think taking him here opens up the offense quite a bit more and leaves so much room for creativity, especially if you stack them. This was probably the most difficult decision, especially with Damone Clark on the board.
Other Options: Skyy Moore, Damone Clark, Drake Jackson
Round 3 Pick 97: Quay Walker LB Georgia
These Georgia Linebackers this year are something else, Quay Walker has grades from the 1st round to the end of the 3rd, TDN has him as their 88th ranked player so it’s definitely a possibility for him to be here at 97. He was not amazing in coverage but has the traits to do so, the reason he is here is because he is a WILL linebacker that is considered a little bit of a project, he just has a motor for days and fits the culture here, imagine him and Derrick Barnes as the centers of this defense for years to come.
Other Options: Greg Dulcich, Marcus Jones, Channing Tindall
Round 5 Pick 176 Hassan Haskins RB Michigan
I know, our RB room is pretty full right now, but I expect Igwebuike to be cut before the season, so really including Cabinda it would realistically leave 4 RB’s in the room, Haskins is a guy I think can model his game after Jamaal Williams, they’re a similar type of RB, and I believe he has upside as a pass catcher, with him and Swift in the backfield for the Lions, the sky is the limit if he is given a year or two to develop.
Other Options: Alex Wright, Josh Thompson, Justyn Ross
Round 5 Pick 179: Chase Lucas CB Arizona State
At 5’11” 184, he doesn’t necessarily project as an outside corner, but it adds depth to the CB room, and he has a lot of potential, if he could put on maybe 10 pounds of muscle and maintain his speed, there is a spot on the roster for this guy. He’s a willing defender, just doesn’t necessarily have all the intangibles to make him a higher pick. He has his moments, especially in man coverage.
Other Options: Justyn Ross, Alex Wright, Isaac Taylor-Stuart
Round 6 Pick 217: Markquese Bell S Florida A&M
He is a versatile safety that predicts as more of a strong safety, I think this is a guy that can come in, play in the box, and challenge Will Harris for his role as a backup. At 6’2” 205, he has the size to make it, but will he be able to keep up with the NFL is the question.
Other Options: Charlie Kolar, Yusuf Corker, Joshua Ross
Round 7 Pick 231: Michael Woods II WR Oklahoma
He was paired with Treylon Burks at Arkansas before he transferred, he’s expected to go late because his route tree, ability to separate, and he can’t necessarily make people miss in the open field. But he is a willing run blocker who I personally think would fit the style of the offense and at non else compete for a roster spot and be a good backup down the road. He is definitely an intriguing prospect, but definitely a guy you would want to develop, and maybe get to open up his hips a bit more.
Other Options: Luke Fortner, Ellis Brooks, Charleston Rambo
Round 7 Pick 239: Nephi Sewell LB Utah
Honestly, I did not consider any other options here, he may not be the best prospect, but he can develop into something the Lions could use. His name is Nee-Phi (Like the Greek letter) not Nefi like a lot of people are pronouncing it. Make your 7th overall pick from last year happy by selecting his younger brother.
With Quay Walker, Brisker, and Hutchinson we build our defense for the future, and pick up valuable pieces on offense with Metchie and Bell. I think a draft like this could be one that helps set us up for the years to come. This draft is key to the Rebuild Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell have planned.
What are your thoughts? Who did you like, what would you change?