Lions Mock Draft 6.0: Trading back with the NFC Champions


With the NFL Draft only 14 days away, the Detroit Lions find themselves in an enviable position, boasting a roster that many consider nearly complete. With this luxury, their draft strategy focuses on enhancing depth and versatility, key ingredients for sustained success in the league.

The player they’ve chosen in the first round—a defensive back whose selection might spark a spectrum of reactions within the Lions’ famously opinionated fan base—epitomizes this approach. This player is anticipated to elevate both the secondary and special teams for Detroit. The additional acquisition of a fourth-round draft pick further underscores the Lions’ approach to the draft, aiming to strengthen the team’s foundation and “raise the floor.”

Pick 1 – Chicago Bears

Selection: QB Caleb Williams, USC

  • Analysis: No secret here, Caleb Williams will be a Bear on draft night.

Pick 2 – Washington Commanders

Selection: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

  • Analysis: The Commanders land their quarterback of the future and, channeling their inner 2023 Cardinals, trade back into the Top 5 in hopes of a quick turnaround.

Pick 3 – New England Patriots

Selection: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

  • Analysis: The fit for the Patriots seems perfect, however, this may not be the most ideal landing spot for McCarthy. The Patriots have a laundry list of needs heading into the 2024 season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. But every re-build requires elite leadership at multiple levels of the organization, and McCarthy brings that natural trait to New England on day one.

Pick 4 – Las Vegas Raiders (via Cardinals)

Selection: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

  • Analysis: In the ever-evolving air-raid offenses in today’s NFL, the Raiders decide to get aggressive. Like, really aggressive. The potential of a Davante Adams-Marvin Harrison Jr. is compelling (to say the least). Antonio Pierce moves up from pick 13 to land what some believe to be a generational wide receiver.

Pick 5 – Washington Commanders (via Chargers)

Selection: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

  • Analysis: Sure, the Commanders are in dire need of offensive line help. But tell me you wouldn’t be intrigued at the prospect of seeing Jayden Daniels connect with Malik Nabers for four more years…

TEASE: If you like LSU connections, there is more to come in this first round.  

Pick 6 – New York Giants

Selection: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

  • Analysis: Alt falls in the lap of the Giants, who need to solidify the trenches on the offensive side of the ball.

Pick 7 – Tennessee Titans

Selection: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

  • Analysis: Arguably the most athletic pass-protection offensive tackle in the draft, the Titans are building a wall to create time for Will Levis to find his targets Hopkins-Ridley-Burks-Okonkwo. This is a necessary move, considering the front 7’s of their division rival Texans, Colts and Jaguars.

Pick 8 – Buffalo Bills (via Falcons)

Selection: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

  • Analysis: Moving from 28 to 8 will likely be expensive for the Bills, but after losing Stephon Diggs it would be a home run to land one of the top three wide receivers in the 2024 NFL draft. The Bills seem to have discovered a run game with James Cook, but they need a reliable pass catcher for QB Josh Allen and Odunze might step in as the Bills number one immediately.

Pick 9 – Los Angeles Chargers (via Bears)

Selection: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

  • Analysis: Jim Harbaugh, armed with excess draft capital from the haul received at number five, starts to build a ruthless offensive line centered around Rashawn Slater by selecting Fuaga ninth overall. The most tenaciously physical blocker in the draft, I imagine he starts immediately at right guard before moving to right-tackle for the long-term.  

Pick 10 – Indianapolis Colts (via Jets)

Selection: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

  • Analysis: A solid blocker for Jonathan Taylor in the run game, the real sell for the Colts to move up for a TE is in the passing game. Bowers can be deployed off the line, in the slot or on the outside, providing versatile firepower to young QB Anthony Richardson. Pittman-Downs-Pierce-Bowers has potential to be a top-5 pass catching group, with skills to create mismatches at each level of the defense.

Pick 11 – Minnesota Vikings

Selection: QB Drake Maye. North Carolina

Pick 12 – Atlanta Falcons (via Broncos)

Selection: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

  • Analysis: Turning Turner into a dirty bird is a popular move in mock drafts, and its no surprise why. Pass rush is the Falcons most glaring hole on their roster, and Turner is “special” potential.

Pick 13 – Arizona Cardinals (via Raiders)

Selection: DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

  • Analysis: The Cardinals have roster needs that rival the Patriots in this year’s draft. Instead of drafting MHJ at pick 4, they accept a haul from the Raiders and start to build their defense in round one. Considering their division rivals feature the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Kyren Williams and Kenneth Walker, the Cardinals go with a disruptor right in the middle of their defensive line to build around.

Pick 14 – New Orleans Saints

Selection: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

  • Analysis: Mims only started eight games at Georgia, so there is still some development needed, but his measurables are off the charts. This is a pick for the future, but also one that keeps both Derek Carr and Alvin Kamara happy.

Pick 15 – New York Jets (via Colts)

Selection: T Troy Fautanu, Washington

  • Analysis: Fautanu could be a long-term replacement for 33-year-old left tackle Tyron Smith, or injury insurance for both Smith and right-tackle Morgan Moses. His ability to slide into either guard position gives him exceptional value to the Jets right away. The extra capital received from moving back five picks allows New York to draft a talented wide receiver as one of their next two draft picks.  

Pick 16 – Seattle Seahawks

Selection: DT Byron Murphy, Texas

  • Analysis: A trench warrior who may be the draft’s best disruptor from the interior of the defensive line. Just as the Cardinals opted for Newton at 13, the Seahawks need a disruptor to attack the talented NFC West quarterbacks while also providing strong run defense against McCaffrey, Williams and James Conner.

Pick 17 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Selection: OL Graham Barton, Duke

  • Analysis: I can’t decide which of the five offensive line positions is the biggest need for the Jaguars…so, what the heck, might as well draft a unique offensive lineman with true 5-position flexibility. Plug and play him wherever you please, Trent Baalke.

Pick 18 – Cincinnati Bengals

Selection: WR Brian Thomas, Jr., LSU

  • Analysis: In the scenario that the Bengals do not retain WR Tee Higgins, how does this sound: Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Brian Thomas Jr. Whatever fear sounds like to NFL defensive backs is what it sounds like.

Pick 19 – Los Angeles Rams

Selection: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

  • Analysis: Adding Verse’s power and explosiveness off the edge opposite of 2nd year edge Byron Young and 2nd year DT Kobie Turner captivates GM Les Snead who is in search of more pass rush following the retirement of Aaron Donald.

Pick 20 – Dallas Cowboys (via Steelers)

Selection: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

  • Analysis: After four straight picks without a trade, Jerry Jones decides to make his first move of draft night by trading up to pick 20 and selecting the best center in the draft.

Pick 21 – Miami Dolphins

Selection: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

  • Analysis: Edge rushing isn’t necessarily a glaring need for the Dolphins, but Latu is too talented to pass up on. The deepest, most mature pass-rushing “bag” in the draft would be tantalizing in a front seven that includes Nick Chubb and Shaq Barrett.

Pick 22 – Philadelphia Eagles

Selection: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

  • Analysis: Impressive athleticism and prototypical traits for the cornerback position will likely make Mitchell a top-20 pick, and there is no way that Howie Roseman passes on Mitchell if he fell to 22.

Pick 23 – Minnesota Vikings (via Texans)

Selection: EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State

  • Analysis: The Vikings struck out with the signing of free-agent Marcus Davenport in 2023, but they’re approaching their second first-round pick with the same strategy. The floor of Chop Robinson may be terrifyingly low, but you could argue his ceiling is as high as any defensive player in this entire draft. With both premier DT’s off the board, the Vikings add Chop in an attempt to pressure Jared Goff and contain Caleb Williams and Jordan Love.

Pick 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers (via Cowboys)

Selection: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

  • Analysis: In past mock drafts I’ve leaned towards a cornerback or an offensive lineman going to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here, though, the Steelers opt for a savvy, uber-versatile wide receiver out of Georgia, Ladd McConkey. I know I know, the Steelers haven’t drafted a receiver in the first round in the last seventeen years. But after shipping Diontae Johnson to Carolina, Mike Tomlin brings in McConkey to provide reliability, leadership and competition alongside George Pickens.

Pick 25 – Green Bay Packers

Selection: C Zach Frazier, West Virginia

  • Analysis: Instead of waiting until day two, the Packers opt to bolster the interior of their offensive line at pick 25. The Packers have invested in running back Josh Jacobs and franchise quarterback Jordan Love, and the selection of Frazier helps out both. If they aren’t ready to give him the job over Josh Myers, Frazier can slide over to a guard position or provide adequate depth at either position in case of injury.

Pick 26 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Selection: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

  • Analysis: Terrion Arnold has it all, and it’s very unlikely he falls to pick 26. However, he did fall in this mock draft and the Buccaneers could not feel better about replacing Carlton Davis with this stud corner out of Alabama.

Pick 27 – Arizona Cardinals

Selection: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

  • Analysis: Back-to-back ‘Bama cornerbacks at 26 and 27, with the Cardinals adding McKinstry to the secondary after taking Jer’Zhan Newton at pick 13. The Cardinals have adequate draft capital following their trade out of the top-5 and will address the offense later in the draft.

Pick 28 – Denver Broncos (via Falcons via Bills)

Selection: QB Bo Nix, Oregon

  • Analysis: Bo Nix is in play for the Broncos at 12, but they’d be smart to dangle that pick as trade bait in hopes of snagging Nix later in the first round. After adding valuable draft capital when the Falcons traded back up to select Dallas Turner at 12, the Broncos use their first-round pick to get their quarterback on a five-year rookie contract and address more needs later in the draft.

Pick 29 – San Francisco 49ers (via Lions)

Selection: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

  • Analysis: The Niners need more of an outside cornerback than they do a safety, and the worry of the Lions selecting Clemson CB Nate Wiggins at 29 forces John Lynch to engage in a trade with Brad Holmes. After giving up pick 31 and pick 124, the Niners find their solution to the oft-targeted Ambry Thomas.

Pick 30 – Baltimore Ravens

Selection: T JC Latham, Alabama

  • Analysis: A certified mauler at right tackle. Close your eyes, say that again, and tell me you don’t immediately think of the Baltimore Ravens.

Pick 31 – Detroit Lions (via 49ers)

Selection: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

  • Analysis: BPA (best player available).  Adding a defensive back with a high football IQ and flexibility all over the secondary would give defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn another weapon to move all over his defense. I’d be the first to admit that DeJean’s broken leg suffered in November was a reason for concern, but the kid out of Iowa put on a show at his private workout. His positional versatility and scheme versatility is highlighted by his size, toughness and speed. These attributes would make him a weapon for Detroit on defense AND on special teams in the return game.

  • For full disclosure, DeJean isn’t close to my first choice for the Lions in round 1. However, adding a pick in the first half of the “100’s” is an absolute necessity. Adding pick 124 overall allows the Lions to take advantage of the value that DeJean brings with him, while also bolstering their trenches with quality depth that will be available in the middle of the draft when the defensive back talent drops off.  

Trade Details:

  • Lions receive: Round 1, pick 31 overall + Round 4, pick 124 overall
  • 49ers receive: Round 1, pick 29

Pick 32 – New York Giants (via Chiefs)

Selection: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington

  • Analysis: After Joe Alt falls into their lap at pick 6, the Giants send pick 47 and a future pick to the Chiefs to select Michael Penix Jr. with the final pick of the first round. Penix may steal the starting job from Daniel Jones immediately, but the five-year rookie contract gives the Giants the ability to be patient with the injury-prone, 23-year-old Penix.


All Lions Picks:

  1. Round 1, pick 31: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa
  2. Round 2, pick 61: DT Kris Jenkins, Michigan
  3. Round 3, pick 73: EDGE Austin Booker, Kansas
  4. Round 4, pick 124: G Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
  5. Round 5, pick 164: LB Michael Barrett, Michigan
  6. Round 6, pick 201: T Caedan Wallace, Penn State
  7. Round 6, pick 205: C Tanor Bortolini, Wisconsin
  8. Round 7, pick 249: TE Tanner McLachlan, Arizona


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK