Detroit Lions 7-Round Mock Draft: Detroit bets on upside

SideLion Report

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a new seven-round mock, the Detroit Lions bet on upside but still address some needs.

With the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine in the rearview mirror, the next month of the pre-draft process is filled with Pro Days, where prospects get a showcase opportunity at their school. The Detroit Lions‘ brass, with five of the first 100 picks in April’s draft and nine picks overall, are in position to add some impact young talent.

Starting with the second overall pick, the Lions have options and can go multiple directions. Nothing is completely off-limits–trading down from No. 2, to trading up from No. 32 (and/or No. 34) to taking almost anyone with that No. 2 overall pick.

In this mock for the Lions, I didn’t make any trades. The draft order is now the official one with compensatory picks locked in, and I used Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator.

Here is a new, seven-round mock for the Detroit Lions.

Detroit Lions 7-Round Mock Draft: Detroit makes bets on upside

First Round

2

Malik Willis

QB Liberty

Yep, I did it. There’s been a lot of buzz, and mock drafts, around pointing Willis to the Lions at No. 2 overall. He is passing all the pre-draft tests, on and off the field, for whatever that’s worth.

Talent-wise, there’s not a quarterback with more upside in this draft. Say what you want to about playing at a smaller school, but Willis produced in two seasons at Liberty (47 touchdown passes, 27 rushing touchdowns in 23 games).

If the Lions take Willis at No. 2, they better be right. But there’s also something to be said for identifying somone you like, whether you wind up right or wrong, and taking him or doing what it takes to get him. Pro Football Focus didn’t like this pick, grading it a D+, but Willis can sit behind Jared Goff for a year and take over in 2023.

The Lions will not get anywhere with a middle of the road quarterback, so they’ll have to take a chance sometime. This year, with the second overall pick, could be the time.

32

Boye Mafe

DE Minnesota

Mafe has been one of the risers in this pre-draft process, gaining momentum as a potential late first-round pick among a deep set of edge rushers. A strong Senior Bowl carried over to the combine, where he ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, had a 38-inch vertical and a 125-inch broad jump.

Mafe, at 261 pounds, looks like a solid fit for Detroit’s move toward using more four-man defensive fronts next season. With no wide receivers looking like a value fit, as could be expected based on some of the big moves made around the league to create draft needs, the Lions add an edge rusher to wrap up Round 1.

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