Round 1, Pick No. 8: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
When I wrote my first mock draft of the offseason, I remember mocking a player not named Brian Burns to the Detroit Lions at No. 8 overall. To that, I was flooded with comments and suggestions (that's putting it nicely) stating that Burns was the right choice for them.
Three months and one free agency period later, I still believe that to be true. Imagine pairing Burns with the likes of Trey Flowers with Snack Harrison in the middle. That would immediately turn what was a weakness just a few months ago into a full blown strength along tat defensive line in Detroit.
Burns is a true top edge rusher that does not seem to be getting the love he deserves right now. he should be warranting Top 10 projections.
Round 2, Pick No. 43: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
Though the Lions likely won't be picking a defensive back in the first round, as long as they stay put at No. 8, they would be wise to invest their other Top 50 pick in one, especially if Julian Love is available.
When Jeff Risdon joined the Lock on NFL Draft Podcast for their Guest Mock Draft, he mentioned that the Lions aren't keen on pairing a No. 1 corner with Darius Slay because they want Slay to know that he is their No. 1 guy. That makes me think they won't draft cornerback as a primary need, but rather a complimentary one. Love would be a nice choice, in that regard.
Round 3, Pick No. 89: Khalen Saunders, iDL, Western Illinois
I am sure the Lions would love to get their hands on interior pass rusher Ed Oliver, if he were to fall to No. 8 in the draft. The dream of pairing him with Snack Harrison on the inside is a dream worth chasing. But, I ultimately think Oliver will be off the board by then, so unless they're trading up they'll be waking up from that dream prematurely.
If they can't snatch up Oliver, a player like Khalen Saunders would be a very interesting alternative. Saunders has some unbelievable athletic traits (this is the guy who did a full on backflip after one of the Senior Bowl practices). He needs a technique overhaul, but in theory you would be able to get the same mold of player (maybe not same caliber) as you would when searching for Oliver.
Round 4, Pick No. 112: Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia
At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, Hardman isn't a big receiver, and you may even take that a step further and say you have some durability concerns with him, but the Lions wide receiver room need some juice. After running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine, Hardman proved he has that juice. He would be a good deep threat pairing with the likes of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
Round 5, Pick No. 147: Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia
Like when I referenced that Saunders could be a similar type and role of a player to that of Oliver at a lower price, perhaps Wesco can be that but for tight end T.J. Hockenson, as it is reported the Lions are also potentially interested in the Iowa tight end at No. 8.
Wesco certain doesn't have quite the athletic ability Hockenson has, hence while he'll be picked three or four rounds after. But for a player who is 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, Wesco moves really well and has the frame to be a blocker on a regular basis -- which is the allurement of Hockenson, too.
I like the idea of grabbing Wesco here if the Lions don't pull the trigger on Hockenson.
Round 6, Pick No. 185: Savion Smith, CB, Alabama
Though Detroit already drafted Julian Love at the top of the second round in this mock draft, I still think it would be wise for them to make an additional cornerback selection, if it fits, and a player such as Savion Smith fits. Teez Tabor just does not have the speed to play on the outside in a full-time role, so strengthening the depth behind Darius Slay and then Julian Love would be smart, regardless.
Round 6, Pick No. 206: Ulysees Gilbert, LB, Akron
The Lions could use a linebacker next to Jarrad Davis in the middle, but this late in the draft the pickings will be slim. However, there is a smaller school linebacker who I have really come around to like and prefer when orchestrating mock drafts this draft season, and that is Ulysees Gilbert III.
UG3 was a standout player at the East-West Shrine practices from day one on. He recorded over 350 tackles in his college career. He has the explosiveness to make a difference at the line of scrimmage in a complimentary role next to Davis.
Round 7, Pick No. 226: Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
Brailford was another player who benefitted from a solid East-West Shrine week. Brailford finished 2018 with 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, but his injury history is extensive with a fractured tibia, a stress fracture and shoulder injury. That's why he could be available late, but when he's been healthy he's been a nice player.
Round 7, Pick No. 231: JoJo McIntosh, S, Washington
Lions could stand to take a flyer on another defensive back player, more of the safety mold, if they've fully addressed cornerback already, to this point. McIntosh is a very experienced safety player who can set the tone with some hard hits.