New Mock Draft Has Lions Snagging Surprising ‘Day 1 Player’ Early On

Jaquan Brisker

Getty Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker makes a tackle against Ohio State in 2021.

If the Detroit Lions were watching the NFL’s divisional playoffs this weekend, they should have seen the benefit a good defense can provide a team.

A better defensive effort could have won the game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as the Buffalo Bills in crunch time, so the Lions need to be aware how important it can be to build that side of the ball up as they set their sights on becoming a true contender.

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Fortunately, a new mock draft offers just that kind of upgrade for the Lions. Pro Football Focus and writer Trevor Sikkema put together a new mock which manages to get the Lions plenty of help on that side of the ball while ignoring the team’s decent-sized offensive needs.

First, Sikkema has the Lions adding Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson with the second-overall pick. After that point, Sikkema sends the Lions Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker with the 31st pick in the draft. Brisker comes at a spot where many don’t see the Lions making an upgrade but where one could be needed for the defense. As Sikkema writes, Brisker is a solid downhill defender that could play a role from day one for the team.

Detroit’s secondary was roasted at times during the 2021 season, so helping the pass rush while also boosting the back end could be a great solution for the Lions to help their defense evolve come the 2022 season. That is a new scenario this mock shows the potential for which could help elevate the team.

Brisker’s College Stats & Highlights

The Penn State safety is an intriguing prospect for the Lions to remember. Brisker was very productive during his time with the Nittany Lions, putting up 151 tackles and 5 interceptions. He also had 14 passes defended on the season, and showed off some size and speed on the field in looking like a solid prospect for the future.

Jaquan Brisker 2021 Highlights | Penn State DB | 2022 NFL Draft ProspectBallhawk safety for the Nittany Lions. 2020 Stats: 63 Tackles, 2 INT, 1 FR, 5 PBU2021-12-21T22:17:40Z

That’s the kind of playmaking the Lions could appreciate that could benefit them in a big way on the back end of their needy defense for the future.

Lions Defense Could Benefit From 2022 NFL Draft

Could the Lions select an edge rusher high in the draft and then double up with a player for their secondary later on? It might not be that much shocking of an outcome in the end given how the Lions roster looks at this point. This year, Detroit’s best pass rusher was Charles Harris, who is a free agent. The team got uncommon production elsewhere on the roster from names like Julian Okwara who had 5 sacks, as well as rookie Alim McNeill who had 2 sacks on the season. Other than that, though, there wasn’t much consistent about Detroit’s approach on defense. The team could need a pair of players to help really turn the tide in terms of sustaining pressure and making sure the opposing offense remains uncomfortable in a big way.

On the back end, the Lions could lose veteran safety Tracy Walker, and might choose to move on from Dean Marlowe and Will Harris as well. If they renovate the position as a whole, they could look to add a new player like Brisker who could step in and play an immediate role for the team.

The good news for Detroit? They should have multiple early picks to work with, so the pressure is off as it relates to drafting for need. The Lions proved last year they can find players, snagging Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth-round as well as McNeill in the third-round. That kind of talent identification ability could allow them to take the best player available to them this April.

If the Lions elect to power up their defense, that could come in handy for them moving down the line.

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