The Detroit Lions had a successful 2016 campaign by reaching the NFL Playoffs with a 9-7 record, but unfortunately they were eliminated in the Wild Card by the Seattle Seahawks to a score of 26-6. As the team battled all year, good things have to come to an end and you have to move on forward, which is why I will do a Lions seven round NFL mock draft.
This Lions have interesting players on both sides of the ball, but in order for them to become a legit NFC contender, they need to add some talented players in this upcoming draft.
Now, the Lions hold the 21st pick in the NFL Draft. They could attack the 21st pick by either improving the offensive line, defensive line, or cornerback position.
With the 21st pick, the Detroit Lions select Taco Charlton from the University of Michigan. The fellow Wolverine will continue to play in the state of Michigan. This makes perfect sense for the Lions, as they need pass rushing help next to Ziggy Ansah. Ansah had his worst season in his NFL career by only recording two sacks in 13 games. Getting Charlton should take some pressure off of Ansah. The Wolverine is a project player like Ansah was coming out of college, and I think he will figure it out.
Next, the Lions stay on the defensive side by addressing the cornerback position in the second round. Every Batman needs a Robin and I think the Lions finds Slay’s Robin in this year’s draft. The player that the Lions should go with here is Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado. Awuzie will push Nevin Lawson to the slot. The Colorado product is a lockdown corner that has tons of experience, as he was a four-year starter for the Buffaloes, plus he has good closing speed and big leaping ability to be disruptive in stopping the pass.
Let’s turn to the offensive side of the Lions roster, as they will most likely address the hole left by Riley Reiff at the right tackle position. Reiff will become a free agent when the NFL season is over and I would not rule out a possible reunion, but just in case they take a tackle here to fill that hole. So with that being said, the Lions take Avery Gennesy, who I scouted at the Shrine Game. He had a phenomenal Shrine Week. The Texas A&M product can hold his own ground and he can move really well, as some say that “Gennesy could be the most athletic tackle out of Texas A&M in the last decade.” He plays all over the line, has a heralded football IQ, the ideal size, and arm length to be a future Pro-Bowler in the NFL. He starts day one at the right tackle position for Detroit. He also, went against potential first-round pick Myles Garrett every day in practice.
Entering the fourth round, the team needs to find a durable tight end, as Eric Ebron gets injured easily, plus they need a tight end who can block. Jeremy Sprinkle from Arkansas is a unique tight end, as he reminds others and me of an “old school” tight end. Interestingly, he actually has some straight-line speed, which most “old school” tight ends lack. Sprinkle catches the ball cleanly, gets good RAC, and also blocks well, which overall makes him the best complement to Ebron. He will make his money being a threat near the red zone over catching down the seam.
When Ndamukong Suh left Detroit for Miami, the pressure coming from the defensive tackle group died. The Lions drafted A’Shawn Robinson last year in the second round, and it seemed that the rookie was the only one performing from the defensive tackle group. So let’s find him his inside partner. In the fifth round, the Lions take Charles Walker, who played for the Oklahoma Sooners, but left the team early in the season to focus on the NFL Draft. He is a quarterback hunter and loves to bull rush right up the middle to apply pressure and pain on the opposition. He is good at stopping the run as well.
The Lions have two picks in the sixth round, which is nice, as they have quite a few more holes to fill. Out of their two sixth round picks, the first one will be spent on a wide receiver. Amba Etta-Tawo is a receiver I would take here, as he has the talent to become a regular in this league. The Lions receivers have some height, but not the type of height to go up and challenge on a 50-50 jump ball, which that is Etta-Tawo’s strength. He actually has good route running ability and will make his quarterback take notice of him, as Syracuse force feed him the football.
The second sixth round pick will address the linebacker position. Another player I scouted during Shrine Week was Calvin Munson, who is an outside linebacker that is versatile and tough enough to play the middle if needed. This San Diego State product is limited athletically, but uses his awareness, toughness, and timing to excel at the game of football. This is a good player to add to the team.
Finally, the last pick should be used on another linebacker, but it is scaring me how the Lions have one center on the team, which they have two, but Graham Glasgow is the starting left guard, as Laken Tomlinson is looking like a bust. So, if Glasgow is the starting left guard, the team should find Swanson a backup. Cameron Tom is a player I would take here. He is a unique player. He has the wingspan of a tackle, but height of a guard, and weight of a center. He is a project player. He might not never play a down in a regular season game, but the Lions could mold him into a utility lineman that is worth having around on the roster. Honestly, if he adds some more pounds and round out his body, he could be the Lions starter in the future. Lastly, the Southern Miss talent was also at the Shrine Game, and he was very quick and smooth.