Detroit Lions Mock Draft: The Mock Draft Ft. Laiatu Lato & Kool-Aid McKindtry

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Laiatu Latu could be a top name to watch regarding falling prospects due to medical reports. And the Lions and Brad Holmes have proven to be down with taking a risk on injured college players, with Hendon Hooker, Jameson Williams and Levi Onwuzurike coming to mind.

Latu was considered medically retired from football after a neck injury ahead of the 2020 campaign at Washington. He required surgery and two years away from football to recover. The pass rusher transferred to UCLA in early 2022, and was soon cleared to return to action.

And in his return? Latu notched 85 tackles, including 35 for loss and 23.5 sacks across his two seasons for the Bruins. He won the Lombardi and Ted Hendricks awards along the way, leading the nation in tackles for loss per game at 1.8. Pro Football Focus graded him as the nation’s top-graded edge defender last season and ranks him 18th among all prospects. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound edge defender could be an ideal player to combine with Hutchinson with his 26.2% pass-rush win rate and more than solid run-stopping skills popping off the page.

Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Mocked by: CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards (Pick 29), CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell (Pick 29), The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner (Pick 29)

It’s hard to imagine Kool-Aid McKinstry not starting immediately if he landed in Detroit. The Alabama cornerback has everything you want in size and length, with his natural timing in knowing when to strike sticking out. McKinstry was the No. 13 recruit and top-ranked cornerback in the 2021 class out of Pinson Valley in Alabama, per 247Sports.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior cornerback was PFF’s 12th-best cornerback this season — and No. 40 in 2022.

McKinstry allowed only two touchdowns over those two seasons while seeing 119 targets in coverage. And let’s be real: he was targeted much less this past season because of the threat he posed to SEC quarterbacks. McKinstry was hit for allowing only 19 catches for 205 yards and one touchdown in 14 games this season. He’s a true outside cornerback, and that’s what this Lions defense needs most.

Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame

Mocked by: Walter Football (Pick 29)

Cam Hart’s name isn’t featured on too many first-round mock drafts. Pro Football Focus ranks him 126th among prospects, and ESPN slots him at No. 81. The Notre Dame cornerback is built for the next level. Hart is listed at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, and brings much experience as a graduate-level player.

Hart had his best game of the season against Caleb Williams and USC this past campaign, too, so that doesn’t hurt his stock. He allowed only 15 catches on 28 targets for 137 yards and no touchdowns, with a passer rating of 67.1 when quarterbacks threw his way. Hart intercepted only two passes across four seasons in South Bend, though. And those came back in 2021, two years ago.

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