Mel Kiper, Todd McShay Fill Every Lions Need Fast With Incredible Mock

Brad Holmes Rod Wood

Getty Brad Holmes and Rod Wood mix it up during Lions training camp in July 2021.

There have been several mock draft scenarios that have played out for the Detroit Lions in the last few weeks, but arguably, there have been few as appealing as a recent three-round mock from ESPN.

The site’s duo of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay put together a mock update where they alternated picks. The outcome was a pretty interesting one for the Lions, who benefitted from the additions of both insiders on each side of the ball.

Right off the bat with the sixth selection, McShay gets the Lions on the board by landing Tyree Wilson out of Texas Tech, a player the Lions might already love in the draft.

“I was hoping Jalen Carter would fall here, but Wilson is a really good fit with the Lions, who had well-documented defensive issues last season. Pair him with Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, and that edge rush could cause problems for opponents,” he wrote in the piece.

As the draft progresses, McShay comes up again with selection 18 for the team. With this pick, he goes with Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, a player who might be underrated with regards to size, but plays big on the field.

“OK, I like this. We’re building one heck of a defensive line in Detroit after landing Tyree Wilson earlier. Sure, Kancey is undersized (6-foot-1, 281 pounds), but he is explosive and can make an impact as both a run-stuffer and an interior pass-rusher,” McShay wrote.

Finally, on the defensive side of the ball at pick 55 in the second-round, Kiper adds linebacker Drew Sanders from Arkansas, a player that he says could compete for a starting role on the inside.

“We’ve given Detroit two defensive linemen and a running back so far, but I still spot a void at linebacker. I want to see Sanders compete for a starting spot on the inside. At 6-foot-4, he could be used as a great blitzer too. He just makes plays,” Kiper wrote in the piece.

As a whole, those three players could help in upgrading the Detroit defense in a big way. After an offseason of bolstering the secondary, there might not be a need for the Lions to gamble at cornerback early on. In that scenario, this kind of draft situation would be a huge win for the team given the players they would be inserting into the mix.

Lions Boost Offensive Weapons Within Mock

Shifting to the offensive side of the ball, the Lions also improved dramatically within this mock draft. Both Kiper and McShay did not ignore that side of the ball when picking out new players for Detroit.

With pick 48 in the second-round, McShay gave the Lions Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, a player he says can do some dynamic things for the Detroit offense on the ground, and help the team’s passing game as well.

“I’m not sure Gibbs falls this far, but the Lions would love this scenario. They signed David Montgomery and already have D’Andre Swift, but Gibbs brings a different element to the offense than the former, and the latter hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Gibbs is nearly impossible to tackle in the open field and could put up big numbers as an after-the-catch playmaker for Jared Goff in the pass game,” he wrote.

Kiper came up with the 81st selection in the draft’s third-round, and sent Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker Detroit’s way, a prospect he sees as solid overall.

“Schoonmaker might be a little underrated in this deep tight end class. He is solid but not spectacular. With T.J. Hockenson gone, Detroit doesn’t have much in its tight end room. And now we’ve filled all of the Lions’ needs, haven’t we, Todd?,” Kiper wrote.

Between the defense and the offense, all major needs were checked off in the first three rounds, and that’s without the team using any selections in rounds four through seven. Offensively, these players would add some teeth to the Detroit group at important spots on the field.

Mock Would Solve Most of Detroit’s Major Needs

This mock draft is particularly interesting, because it finds a way to blend several of Detroit’s needs early in the draft without touching any of the team’s later round picks.

Defensively, the team needs help up front and at linebacker, and for Detroit to land arguably one of the best defensive end prospects in Wilson in addition to a top tackle prospect in Kancey would be interesting, because it would give them a pair of the best players in the draft within the defensive trenches.

In terms of the offensive upgrades, the Lions would score with both Gibbs and Schoonmaker as well. Detroit doesn’t need an upgrade at running back badly, but they could decide on one if the right player was available. Additionally, Schoonmaker would beef up Detroit’s talent at tight end, and the team has looked at him in the process.

There’s a lot to like about this mock from a Detroit perspective, and if it played out, the Lions would improve in plenty of ways on both sides of the ball.

Read More