Detroit Lions
2017 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions - Full Seven Rounds
Detroit Lions

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Detroit Lions - Full Seven Rounds

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 11:04 p.m. ET

January 7, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) reacts during a stoppage in play against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This off-season for the Detroit Lions will be the most crucial in years. Certainly it starts with re-signing their own guys and signing free agents but nothing is as important as the 2017 NFL Draft.

Normally, I try to stay away from NFL Mock Drafts, until my team is out of it. In Detroit, that happens relatively quickly but this year was a surprise. They made some plays, won some games, almost won their division and got into the playoffs. Only to let us all down in the first round after not making enough plays against the Seattle Seahawks.

Now that the Detroit Lions have been eliminated, the mock drafts have begun. So let’s start here where the Detroit Lions were the worst ranked defense in the NFL, this year. The worst part about their defense was their secondary. They ranked last in passing defense and have to stop trying to cut and glue pieces to the paper. Crumble it up and start all over. Even, if that means they let go of someone like Glover Quinn.


Did you know the Detroit Lions haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since Terry Fair in the 1998 NFL Draft? That’s inexcusable for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1993. Maybe this year will be different? Certainly, I sound like every hopeful fan. Let’s dive into the 2017 NFL Draft, shall we? 

December 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Sidney Jones (26) celebrates after the Pac-12 championship against the Colorado Buffaloes at Levi

First Round (21st overall): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

With their first round pick, the Detroit Lions should take a cornerback. Getting some help for Darius Slay makes the most sense. Nevin Lawson should not be relied on as your number two cornerback.

Throughout his time at Washington, Sidney Jones made a bunch of plays. In 40 career games, he recorded 145 tackles, 8 interceptions and 21 pass deflections. Jones brings not only great ball skills but good size to the position. He’s 6’0 and 185 lbs., with a fluid backpedal and is a physical player down field.

At times, Sidney Jones grabs too much cloth down field but he should transition nicely to a defense that’s in desperate need of a defensive back. 

Oct 15, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Madre London (28) runs the ball against Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (1) during the first half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Second Round (53rd Overall): Anthony Walker Jr., LB, Northwestern

Certainly there are a lot of questions regarding the Detroit Lions and their linebackers. More so, DeAndre Levy. He’s created quite the buzz in the local media and could opt for retirement. It was nice to see him return but again, major question mark. Overall, the Lions need a third linebacker in their defense and this would be an ideal fit.

At 6’1 235 lbs., Anthony Walker Jr., could be a nice fit for the outside linebacker position. There’s even some talks that he could play middle linebacker. Personally, I think he might be too small to play inside but either way, he bring playmaking ability to a defense that desperately needs a playmaker.

If DeAndre Levy were to return, Anthony Walker Jr., would pair up nicely with Levy and Tahir Whitehead. That would give them legit speed on the outside, allow them to stack the box against run heavy teams and even gives them a linebacker who can drop back into coverage.

Anthony Walker Jr., finished the 2016 season with 122 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception. He certainly shows how well he plays sideline to sideline and is just starting to mold into an NFL starting linebacker.

Nov 14, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels safety Dominquie Green (26) and defensive tackle Nazair Jones (90) tackle Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton (1) at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels won 59 – 21. Mandatory Credit: Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

Third Round (85th Overall): Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina

There’s been much belief that Haloti Ngata shouldn’t be on the Detroit Lions. At least, not starting for their defense. I would agree with that. At this time, the only defensive tackle with any value on their roster is A’Shawn Robinson who was a 2nd round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. At this time, they need to get some depth with their interior defensive line.

Nazair Jones would be an instant upgrade for their defense and if he tests well at the combine, he could become a second round pick. Right now, with just film, I’ve got him slated for the third round. He’s got tremendous upside but has gotten better from a production standpoint, every year.

I love his size at 6’5 and 300 lbs., plus he’s a quick footed and powerful defensive tackle. Not much of a pass rusher but tremendous run stopper. Pairing him alongside A’Shawn Robinson could allow players like Ezekiel Ansah and Kerry Hyder to get free and create pressure on the quarterback. 

Nov 12, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Josh Malone (3) catches a pass against Kentucky Wildcats safety Marcus McWilson (15) during the third quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth Round (Overall Selection Undecided): Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee

There’s no question that the Detroit Lions need another wide receiver in their offense. Golden Tate has been their most consistent option but he’s struggled with drops in key situation. While Marvin Jones has disappeared and Eric Ebron is drops more passes than he catches. With an aging Anquan Boldin and his postseason antics, the Lions could move on from him. With this selection, it makes sense to draft a wide receiver like Josh Malone.

The size and speed of Josh Malone is something to really monitor. At 6’3 and 200 lbs., he moves vertically with 4.4 speed. He needs to sharpen his routes but he’d be a great weapon outside for Matthew Stafford.

During the 2016 season, Tennessee had some hiccups with their quarterback, Josh Dobbs. However, Josh Malone was a consistent weapon for their offense. Always getting positive yards, recording catches and became a red zone threat. He finished the 2016 season with 50 receptions, 972 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Nov 7, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Bryan Cox (94) rushes as Vanderbilt Commodores offensive tackle Will Holden (74) blocks during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth Round (Overall Selection Undecided): Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt

There’s nothing more frustrating than when teams neglect a certain position. The Lions drafted heavily in the trenches last year and that needs to continue this year. Their achilles heal at the end of the year was the injuries that occurred on the offensive line. Whether it be Travis Swanson or Riley Reiff, the Lions don’t have enough depth up front.

Will Holden was the blindside protector for Vanderbilt but he should transition to right tackle at the next level. I don’t believe the Lions will retain Riley Reiff moving forward so they will have a huge hole at the right tackle position. If so, Holden is a fit. At 6’7 and 315 lbs., he provides length and decent footwork to become a starter at the position. With time, he will get better, just like he did at Vanderbilt.

With 34 career starts, Holden brings a lot of experience to the table. I believe he’s a better run blocker than pass blocker but he’s still had a passing grade in every contest he’s played in 2016. I’d say his best game was against Ole Miss, where their best defensive end, Marquis Haynes, only had three assisted tackles. Holden should become a starter for the Detroit Lions, whether it be as a rookie or in another year or two. 

Sep 24, 2016; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Charles Jones (24) is tackled by Missouri State Bears linebacker Dylan Cole (31) during first-quarter action at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Sixth Round (Overall Selection Undecided): Dylan Cole, LB, Missouri State

Despite the Detroit Lions taking a linebacker in the second round, they need more depth. Dylan Cole from Missouri State in the sixth round could be a potential steal. He’s 6’1 and 240 lbs., and has the ability to play inside or outside. At times, I see flashes of Chris Borland from Wisconsin and the late round pick, furthers that comparison.

Dylan Cole led the nation with almost 13 stops per game. He’s got great play recognition skills and is a tackling machine. He finished his four year career at Missouri State with 457 tackles. With this selection, the Lions get a player who can play special teams and with time and proper coaching, he could become a starter. The Lions need all the help they can get on defense, especially with their back 7 and Dylan Cole would be a great addition. 

Nov 26, 2016; University Park, PA, USA; Michigan State Spartans tight end Josiah Price (82) attempts a catch during the third quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan State 45-12. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Seventh Round (Overall Selection Undecided): Josiah Price, TE, Michigan State

After letting go of longtime tight end, Brandon Pettigrew, the Lions made it clear they need a backup tight end. Eric Ebron is hurt more often than not so getting some depth behind him is crucial. To find Josiah Price, the Lions won’t have to go far. He’s got good size at 6’4 and 250 lbs.

Josiah Price is a blanced tight end, who doesn’t do any one thing well. He’s good receiver across and a decent blocker. For the Lions, they get a player that won’t steal reps from Eric Ebron but would allow them to feel comfortable, if Ebron were to go down with an injury.

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