With the off-season closely approaching for NFL teams, rumors start to swirl about players and picks potentially being on the move. Recently, it has been reported that the Detroit Lions may move one of their first round picks to get star cornerback Jalen Ramsey from LA. When a team has 2 first round picks like the Lions, trading one of them away for a player or trading down in the first round to receive more draft capital becomes more likely. Today I will explore the latter of those 2 situations in the third edition of my four round Lions mock draft:
R1P14, R3P76, 2024 R2
R1P14: DEVON WITHERSPOON, CB, ILLINOIS
Witherspoon has been flying up draft boards as of late, and he may not even be available at this point in the draft. All signs are pointing to him being the first corner off the board, and for good reason. He was arguably the best defensive back in college football this year, and while he is not exactly a freak athlete compared to other players at his position, he would fill a needed hole in the secondary across from Jeff Okudah.
R1P18: TRENTON SIMPSON, LB, CLEMSON
Simpson is the modern NFLs golden boy of prospects. A true height/weight/speed freak, Simpson is lanky and rangy enough to fit the mold of the linebacker position today, and he draws a striking similarity to fellow Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons in the versatility that he has on the defensive side of the ball.
R2P48: JORDAN BATTLE, S, ALABAMA
It is never a bad idea to take someone who was a standout defender at a high level SEC program, and that’s exactly what I think the Lions should do here. Detroit needs to load up on the defensive side of the ball in the 2023 draft, and they get a pro ready safety with their third pick in the draft.
R2P55: SAM LEPORTA, TE, IOWA
No, Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra are not starting caliber tight ends. The Lions need a Hockenson replacement, and where better to go than tight end university in Iowa? Leporta is a balanced player who can provide value at both blocking and receiving. While he does not have the ceiling that Hockenson had as a prospect, he can be a solid starting tight end for a budding Detroit Offense.
R3, P76: NICK HERBIG, EDGE, WISCONSIN
Herbig is someone who will be a draft crush for me this off-season. He is not projected as a day 2 pick currently, but honestly I do not see why. I believe that he is a top 5 edge rusher in this class, and there is no glaring issues in his game outside of maybe being a little on the smaller side.
R3P81: CEDRIC TILLMAN, WR, TENNESSEE
In my second edition of this mock draft, I used this pick to draft Jalin Hyatt, another volunteer wide receiver. And while I think Hyatt is the better prospect, Tillman makes more sense for Detroit’s system as a true big bodied X receiver. He has some issues with drops and separation, but someone with the tools to become elite should not make it past the third round.