Allen Park — With the NFL's scouting combine in the books, we have slightly more complete resumes for many of the prospects in the upcoming draft. As for individual team needs, those figure to shift significantly in the coming weeks, with free agency opening March 18.
While we wait to see how rosters around the league will change later this month, we thought it might be a fun exercise to project out the entire draft for the Detroit Lions in a seven-round mock draft.
And, because there are no rules with this exercise, we opted to kick things off with a trade, sending Detroit's No. 3 pick to the Miami Dolphins for a first-, second- and third-round selection.
Finally, please note selections after the third round don't have a specific pick number attached, since the final draft order won't be determined until compensatory picks are announced later this month.
First round, No. 5
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
A little more than a month ago, I mocked Auburn's Derrick Brown to the Lions with the No. 3 pick because I viewed him and Okudah having similar grades and defensive tackle being the bigger position of need. But the more I’ve thought about the difficulty of finding a top-tier corner, on top of Okudah’s excellent week at the combine, I’m convinced he’s the right pick for the Lions. The question has now become, will Okudah make it to the Lions if they move down?
Second round, No. 35
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
No matter how the Lions address the position in free agency, they’ll likely still be in the market for defensive tackle depth via the draft. At 290 pounds, Blacklock is a little lighter than you’d like at the position, but he's shown the necessary power to handle two-gap assignments in college, which is a necessity to play in Detroit’s scheme. Athletically, he should improve the team’s ability to push the pocket on passing downs.
Second round, No. 39 (via Miami)
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Do the Lions need a running back? It’s certainly not at the top of the offseason shopping list, but adding Taylor makes the backfield better. The selection would probably signal the end of Bo Scarbrough’s time in Detroit, but pairing a durable and speedy workhorse like Taylor with Kerryon Johnson offers thrilling potential.
Third round, No. 67
Terrell Lewis, edge, Alabama
Lewis wasn’t able to stay healthy in college, missing significant chunks of time with elbow and knee injuries, but the reward is worth the risk in the third round for an edge defender who possesses first-round talent. He has the necessary size to handle edge-setting duties and showed some real pass-rush prowess as a senior, racking up 35 pressures on just 259 snaps in those situations.
Third round, No. 70 (via Miami)
Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
Barring a free-agent addition, Jackson would immediately become the front-runner for the starting job expected to come open when the Lions let Graham Glasgow depart in free agency. Whether it was with Rutgers or at Ohio State, Jackson proved to be a premier pass protector, allowing just one sack in three seasons. Unfortunately, he’s probably not going to give you the same level of production as a run blocker.
Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Jefferson had steady production in four years between Ole Miss and Florida, but not the kind of numbers that wow anyone, peaking at 49 catches for 657 yards and six scores as a senior. He’s currently dealing with a foot fracture, so we aren’t likely to get testing metrics before the draft, but the son of former Lions receiver coach Shawn Jefferson is a technician, capable of playing all three receiving spots, making him a perfect No. 4 on the depth chart.
Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
The Lions could always re-sign Logan Thomas, negating the need, but Moss is the type of tight end you target if you need a willing and capable blocker in the ground game. In case you forgot, the Lions definitely could use someone with that skill set. Son of Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus is no slouch as a pass-catcher, snagging 47 balls last year.
Like Jefferson, Moss is also dealing with a broken foot, which will limit him during the weeks leading up to the draft, but shouldn't be a factor once the offseason program gets under way.
Fifth round (via Seattle, Quandre Diggs trade)
Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
One of the players the Lions coached at the Senior Bowl, Wilson might not be the greatest athlete, but he’s tough and has a nose for the ball. That shows up in his gaudy tackle numbers. With Jarrad Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin on the last year of their deals, Wilson provides developmental depth at middle linebacker and immediate potential as a special-teams contributor.
Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M
OK, this late-round projection is admittedly a little lazy, but the Lions are in the market for the punter and the top of the sixth round is a reasonable spot to consider one. You can make a case Mann is the best option in this draft. He showcased his leg strength throughout his junior year, averaging 51 yards per boot and earning the Ray Guy Award. In 2019, the average dipped to 47.1 yards as he put a premium on control via hang time and directional punting. That resulted in 26 punts inside the 20, compared to just four touchbacks. Mann also has experience handling kickoff duties, which is a required skill for Detroit's next punter.