7-round Lions mock draft: Trading back edition

USA Today

In the last edition of the seven-round mock draft for the Lions, we explored the concept of trading up from No. 29. This time around, the idea is to see what might happen if GM Brad Holmes and the Lions opt to trade back from No. 29 and out of the first round altogether.

There is precedent here for the Lions to trade back, of course. Just last year, Holmes dealt the No. 6 overall pick and a third-rounder to the Arizona Cardinals to move back to No. 12 overall and also picked up No. 34 and No. 168 (fifth-rounder). Moving back from No. 29 isn’t as dramatic and would not bring back as much of a return, but it’s a way to bolster the draft war chest to either make more picks or combine together to target a specific player shortly after the initial pick.

1st round: Trade back

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The trade: Lions deal No. 29 to the Washington Commanders for Washington’s picks at No. 40 and No. 100, which is the final pick of the third round. It’s a perfect value match on the Rich Hill draft trade value chart, which is much closer in approximation to reality than the more popular but antiquated Jimmy Johnson trade chart.

Washington moved up to land Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry after addressing quarterback at No. 2 overall. The Commanders have No. 36 and No. 40 in the second round and three third-round picks, so they have the ammunition to trade up without depleting their draft resources too much.

For Detroit, getting No. 36 instead of No. 40 would mean the Commanders wouldn’t also give No. 100, but rather a later-round pick, or perhaps the Lions sending back a later pick of their own.

After the (hypothetical) trade, the Lions have No. 40, 61, 73 and 100 on Day 2.

No. 40: Marshawn Kneeland, EDGE, Western Michigan

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No. 61: Cooper Beebe, IOL, Kansas State

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Beebe is an outstanding guard prospect with a boatload of experience and rock-solid game. He’s not the most explosive athlete and lacks ideal length even inside at guard, but his technique, power, footwork and attitude are all top-shelf. He could start right away but would likey be the top interior reserve as a rookie.

No. 73: Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

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Melton fits the bill for a press-man outside cornerback with excellent ball skills. He’s got enough speed and strength to contribute right away, especially if he cleans up his tackling.

No. 100: Javon Baker, WR, UCF

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A one-time backup to Lions wideout Jameson Williams at Alabama, Baker emerged as a viable NFL prospect in his final season at UCF.

Here’s what we said about Baker in his Lions draft profile,

Baker is an odd type of wideout. He’s a deep threat who doesn’t have great speed, a nifty craftsman of a route runner who looks like a contested catch type of receiver.

The speed is indeed off-putting; the 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine was expected, but Baker doesn’t win with straight speed. Akin to Amon-Ra St. Brown, his ability to change speeds and use his strength and savvy help Baker mitigate the lack of blazing jets. He can win inside or outside as a No. 4/No. 5 receiver early on and has the potential for the hiccup 100-yard games every so often.

No. 164: Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State

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The bolstering in the secondary continues with the plucky Jones, a hard-nosed cornerback capable of playing outside or in the slot. Jones has great long speed and good ball recognition, though his eyes sometimes get a little too big, especially in run defense. He’s a nice “grit fit” in Detroit, too.

No. 201: Jordan Jefferson, DT, LSU

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Jefferson is a repeat projection from the last mock draft, and all the reasons remain. He’s a very effective rotational nose tackle with a little bit of pass rush juice.

No. 205: Trey Taylor, S, Air Force

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Taylor continues to sail under the radar despite being the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back in 2023. His character, in-game intensity, aggressive play and underappreciated skills make Taylor an easy fit for this Lions team.

No. 249: Frank Crum, OT, Wyoming

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Crum is the same size as Taylor Decker at 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds, and like Decker doesn’t have especially long arms. A four-year starter for the Cowboys, Crum showed he could move people in the run game at Wyoming and has developmental skills to be at least the No. 3 tackle as a rookie.

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