Each year, I put together what I believe would be the perfect draft for the Detroit Lions based talent available and needs.
The 2021 NFL Draft will be very interesting as the Lions have a new general manager in Brad Holmes, who came over from the Los Angeles Rams.
Holmes’ background revolves around evaluating college talent but he will have some help from the front office the Lions have built up during the offseason.
But before we get to what I believe would be the perfect draft for the Lions, we have to address the fact that the Lions will almost certainly trade Matthew Stafford in the coming weeks. There has been plenty of speculation as to which team will give the Lions the most in return and at this point in time, I really think it will be the Indianapolis Colts who end up giving the Lions the No. 21 overall pick and the No. 84 overall pick for Stafford.
If that trade goes down, the Lions would add two picks to the five they currently have.
Here is how the “perfect Detroit Lions 2021 NFL Mock Draft” would play out. (Note: I used the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator to keep me honest!)
ROUND 1 (No. 7 overall) – Zach Wilson (QB) BYU
If Zach Wilson is available at No. 7 and the Lions pass, I may put my head through a wall. Other than Trevor Lawrence, Wilson is the one other quarterback who I believe will be a franchise player in the NFL. My hope is that teams fall in love with Justin Fields and Wilson drops to No. 7. If the Lions do not think he will, and they are hell-bent on taking a QB with their first pick, they should consider trying to trade up. That, or wait until 2022.
ROUND 1 (No. 21 overall) – Gregory Rousseau (EDGE) Miami
The Detroit Lions absolutely MUST improve their defense and it all begins with solidifying the defensive line. If the Lions do acquire the No. 21 overall pick, and Gregory Rousseau is available, this would be a very easy pick.
ROUND 2 (No. 41 overall) – Dylan Moses (LB) Alabama
The Lions may have had one of the worst linebacker rooms in NFL history in 2020 and you can bet that Brad Holmes will do what he can to upgrade the position. Dylan Moses is extremely athletic and he can play any of the three LB spots.
ROUND 3 (No. 72 overall) – Ambry Thomas (CB) Michigan
Ok, this could be a slight reach but I truly believe Thomas will be a fast riser as draft boards start to come out. Thomas opted out of the 2020 season with Michigan, which could hurt his stock a bit since he was not able to put any new film out but he is a physical player who could start opposite of Jeff Okudah in the future.
ROUND 3 (No. 84 overall) – Tutu Atwell (WR) Louisville
This is another one that a lot of people will bash me for but I currently have Tutu Atwell as my No. 5 ranked WR in the 2021 Draft and I believe he is going to be one hell of a player in the NFL. Atwell is extremely fast and shifty and though he is undersized, he will end up being a top 15-20 WR in the league someday. Wow, that was even bolder than I thought!
ROUND 4 (No. 105 overall) – Nico Collins (WR) Michigan
Depending on how Nico Collins does during Senior Bowl Week and any pro day that he has will greatly impact where he is selected in the upcoming draft. I am hoping and praying that Collins falls to Round 4 and the Lions are able to snag him to play alongside Atwell for the foreseeable future. If Collins is not available here, I would strongly advise the Lions go with defense.
ROUND 5 (No. 139 overall) – Osa Odighizuwa (DT) UCLA
If Collins is selected in the 4th round, it will be crucial for the Lions to add another player on the defensive line. That being said, this is a 5th round pick, so it highly likely that this will be a move for depth rather than drafting a player to start immediately. Osa Odighizuwa is the brother of current NFL free agent Owa Odighizuwa. Though he did not have a very productive junior season at UCLA, Osa is extremely athletic for a DL and he has high upside.
*Expect for this mock draft to evolve over time but in the here and now, this looks…perfect!