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2024 Detroit Lions mock draft: Bolstering secondary the top priority
National Football League

2024 Detroit Lions mock draft: Bolstering secondary the top priority

Published Apr. 17, 2024 1:08 p.m. ET

The Detroit Lions are nobody's underdog.

After winning the NFC North for the first time ever and getting to the conference championship this past season, there will be a target on their back going into 2024. 

The brilliance of general manager Brad Holmes has ensured they don't have many holes to fill this offseason, however. And with his draft history, namely, getting four starters in the first two rounds alone last year, among a myriad of other good picks over the past three years, one can trust the Lions to maintain their new standard. Holmes has earned that. So has head coach Dan Campbell.

Detroit, which will play host to the 2024 NFL Draft, has shown it's a franchise not afraid to take their guys — regardless of positional need or value. They took running back Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall last year, followed by inside linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18. The Lions were mocked at the time. They're the ones laughing now.


The most glaring hole they do have is now at cornerback, despite trading for Carlton Davis from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month and signing Amik Robertson in free agency. They released Cam Sutton due to a Florida arrest for domestic battery, and the unit as a whole was plagued by injuries the last two seasons. The Lions need to ensure they have a solid outside rotation in the defensive backfield — one that can withstand a few inevitable bumps and bruises.

Outside of that, they could use another guard, some depth pieces along the offensive line and maybe another receiver. None of it is dire, though. Detroit already has a pretty good roster on paper.

Best case scenario? They make all their picks and get some great value along the way.

That's exactly the pretense for my full seven-round mock draft that follows. It's not necessarily predictive but more of what Lions fans should be hoping for in an ideal scenario.

Lions 2024 draft picks: No. 29, No. 61, No. 73, No. 164, No. 201, No. 205, No. 249.

Round 1 (No. 29): CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

We love it when a plan comes together. This is the Lions' No. 1 need and in the PFF mock draft simulator, Wiggins was also the best player available. He probably needs to put on a little weight (see above durability factor) but there aren't many corners in this draft, if any, that can straight-up cover a guy better than Wiggins. He's good in man and zone coverage and has discipline. He was flagged for defensive pass interference just once all last season for the Tigers, according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic. Plus, he's one of those got that dog in him players that would fit right into the Lions locker room. 

Round 2 (No. 61): G Christian Haynes, Connecticut

This is a phenomenal tackle class but not as great for guards. There are still quite a few good players, to be sure, but the second round is probably the sweet spot for these guys. Detroit has Graham Glasgow currently slotted into left guard and I think there could be room for some competition there. Haynes is The Athletic's fourth-ranked guard prospect and finished his collegiate career starting 49-straight games. One of the words used to describe him includes "grit," which is likely all the Lions need to know given that their team slogan is "All Grit."

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Round 3 (No. 73): EDGE Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan

I said it once, I'll say it again. I love it when a plan comes together. The prospect out of Western Michigan gets to stay in his home state and the Lions get great value on a damn good edge rusher to rotate with Marcus Davenport opposite Aidan Hutchinson. He's a little raw still and has room to add to his pass-rush arsenal, but he's got plenty of power and size at 6-foot-3, 267 pounds that you feel good about being able to coach him up. Getting him in the third round could also be considered a steal.

Round 5 (No. 164): T Christian Jones, Texas

No one is trying to take Taylor Decker or Penei Sewell's jobs, but keep a strength a strength. That's what the Lions can do by taking Jones in the fifth round. That's great value for a swing tackle that you'll likely need at some point or another during the season if last year was any indication.

Round 6 (No. 201): CB Josh Newton, TCU

Again, more great value. It's not super sexy because we're talking Day 3 picks here, but getting that coveted corner depth in the sixth round in a guy who has both inside and outside experience is a win.

Round 6 (No. 205): S Beau Brade, Maryland

Brade is a versatile piece that can provide depth behind a guy like Brian Branch for Detroit and getting him in the sixth round would be tremendous value as he's projected to go somewhere in rounds four or five. How accurate those projections are, that's anyone's guess but the Lions can use as much secondary depth as possible.

Round 7 (No. 249): EDGE Solomon Byrd, USC

Somehow we're at the end of this draft and Detroit hasn't taken a receiver. I doubt that happens before all is said and done next week, but the value here was further adding depth to the defensive edge rotation.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had previous stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.


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