Reading the Tea Leaves, TCLion's Mock 1.0

Life is a game of percentages, and there’s no such thing as a sure thing, simply what’s probable and what’s improbable. It’s why a coach looks at a percentage chart and dials up a jet sweep on 2nd and 7 at midfield, it’s why you hire a coach with discernable desirous traits that have been deemed beneficial, it’s why you draft certain people to compliment that coach, the attitude you want in your team.

Going upon the premise that the front office is looking to work in symbiosis with the coaching staff, it’s beneficial to consider the personalities in play when considering who are the kinds of players who fit that mold. Dan Campbell wants a tough, scrappy team that never gives up and constantly strives to get better. The best targeted areas for this are either the offensive line or defensive front seven. No one has ever declared a team tougher by drafting a wide receiver.

Every coach needs guys on both sides of the ball that buy in to their approach, that embody team leadership, field generals, captains, call them what you will. Now, you can look at guys like Decker and Ragnow on the offensive line and see you have what can pass muster. It’s not an immediate problem. You can look at Goff and know that Holmes desired him not once, but twice, and the expected offensive scheme isn’t expected to be wide open and quarterback-centric.

What does that leave? Who would Dan Campbell desire to put his stamp on the front seven of the defense? Who meshes with Glenn and Campbell from all aspects? The answer I arrived at might surprise you.

Understanding my premise, without further ado, here is my mock draft, version 1.0.

Pick 7. The Lions trade the rights to the #7 pick overall to Washington for picks 19, 74, 82 in 2021, and 2nd round selections in 2022, and 2023. Washington selects their QB of the future with a year to sit behind Alex Smith without mortgaging their future, while the Lions receive a bevy of second day picks to shape the franchise for the next three years.

Pick 19. The Detroit Lions select Zaven Collins, Linebacker, University of Tulsa. There’s a lot to like about this kid from a small town in northeast Oklahoma. Collins never played Linebacker before accepting a scholarship to Tulsa, the only D1 program to offer him one. In a few short years, he molded himself into a linebacker worthy of winning the Nagurski and Bednarik awards as the top defensive player in college football. 4 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles across only 8 games. High motor, gym rat, film eater, zero character questions, in the package of a true 3 down Linebacker that lines up all over. Collins fits with the culture the Lions want to establish and brings immediate impact to a defensive unit sorely in need of game changers. It’s easy to fall in love with this kid and his mentality.

Pick 42 Carlos Basham Jr. DE, Wake Forest. Boogie Basham is simply amazing. Basham brings everything to the table you want in a defensive end in Glenn’s expected scheme. Good in run defense, or pass rush. Fits in a 4-3 or 3-4 alignment. Has an infectious level of enthusiasm for playing that’s clearly apparent watching him. Had the nation’s longest consecutive streak of games with a tackle for loss, he can consistently bring it every game.

Pick 72 Richie Grant, FS, UCF. I have to say, I think he meshes well with the Lions philosophy. Grant is one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory where ballhawk meets missile. Tough, physical, but keeps looking to create the turnover, either through the interception or making a guy cough it up.

Pick 74 Walker Little, OT, Stanford. The ceiling on Little is incredibly high. Could be a Top 5 OT. At this point in the draft, he’s worth a roll of the dice.

Pick 82 Joe Tyron, EDGE, Washington. Maybe one of the best pure pass rushers, Tyron becomes the third member of this class that has a mission to destroy.

Looking at the Rams past drafting patterns, they tend to attack areas of deficiency with multiple picks in the same class. This is the pattern I’m using until Holmes’ own pattern emerges. In this case, I’m attacking the Lions pass rush.

Pick 88 Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss. The only reason he doesn’t go higher is his size. That won’t stop him from becoming an impact player for the Lions.

Pick 108 Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State. Terry is a bit of a mystery. My bet is on the upside. Didn’t have the greatest surrounding cast, amazing athletic abilities going for 50/50 balls .

Pick 150 Ben Mason, FB, Michigan. Mason is the hammer for Anthony Lynn’s offense. Maybe not a better fit in the draft.

There it is, your 2021 draft class. 2022 and 2023 have two selections in both the 1st and 2nd rounds, culture is getting established and created. The future is bright.

Oh, I can give you one certainty. At least one person will disagree with me. :wink:


I’d be happy with that haul…certainly addresses some glaring needs.


All those additional picks could set us up to be contenders for the next decade. Not a bad draft at all. I like Collins and it addresses the weakest areas on the roster.


Drop the 2023 2nd round pick and you still have a great haul there.

I’m guessing Washington could do that if Fields or Lance are available and Carolina hasn’t moved up from #8. I hope it happens.


Total reach
I don’t think he goes before pick 157

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I like it. The only change I would make is taking a WR earlier. If one of the big 3 (Chase, Smith, Waddle) drop at 19, I think they are the pick. If not, taking one in the 3rd would be wise. I love the Besham pick in the 2nd and I think he may be there. That being said, if one of the next tier of WR drops to us in the 2nd, I think we would bite (if we didn’t take one at 19).

Just a heads up, pick 88 is the 3rd rd

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I really like the picks. I think we can potentially do better than Collins at 19 but I do really like him and would be fine with it. I don’t think that even in a deep safety draft that Grant slides that far. I also doubt Little drops that far. I also don’t really think Tyron is one of the best pass rushers. He’s a really good athlete for his size so he may get there in time but I don’t think he’s there yet.

But if that’s how things went down I’d be quite happy. I assume that draft is coupled with keeping KG. If not our WR situation would concern me.

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I don’t disagree, I simply believe that to establish the type of culture the Lions want to achieve, it necessitates taking some aggressive, physical defensive guys first and foremost. A wide receiver doesn’t get them there.

You look at some of the soundbites out there. Campbell, Spielman, it’s not misdirection. It’s not a big secret. It’s right there in plain sight for everyone to see. You can’t buy a locker room. We’re going to bite your kneecaps on our way back up. That’s the culture they must establish, and I believe that’s what’s going to guide them in who they go after and select. Not a QB, not a Wide Receiver, but players that can bring that nasty resiliency to the defense.

Culture change. That is the initial objective. This is my best guess on how they grow this franchise to mature into their vision. How they select the people to set the tempo and leadership. People who are, in their very selection, extensions of this vision and culture.

For a portion of my selections, I utilized a website which tracked the majority of published mock drafts, combined the place taken per player, and gave an average of where that player was taken across all of them. Let me assure you, Grant and Little were dead on where I had them selected. Surprised me for sure.

Yes, this is on the premise we are keeping KG.

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I know next to nothing about those players but applaud your analysis. It makes a lot of sense.


I mean I guess I can see it in that OT and S are deep. Little would surprise me bc he’s been known in scouting circles for so long. I think Grant has helium but I do think a safety will slide. Paris Ford is my preference but I really like quite a few safeties. GREAT year to need a young safety.

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I do think there’s a strong possibility we trade down from 7OA and Washington does make some sense.

I’m a big Collins fan and would love to have him but I think there’s good value at LBer in round 2-3. I’m kinda hoping we look there. @19OA I’d look towards the trenches either OT or DL. Probably DL because there’s far more depth at OT in this draft. But if I’m trading all the way to 19OA I went a 2nd rounder this year.

@19OA I’d go DT - Christian Barmore. I think DT is a huge need and Holmes believes in building good trenches.

I like Basham and would definitely consider him If he made it to us. But my gut tells me he’s going to go in late round one. DE are always a premium. My bet is he goes between picks 25 & 35.

@42OA WR Terrance Marshall JR. the Lions get a Well rounded WR that can help the Lions in all aspects of the passing game. The perfect WR to line up opposite of Golladay.

I like Richie Grant but I think the Lions move Walker back to FS and look for a SS. My guess is they fill this hole in FA to be honest. So I’m nit expecting us to draft a S this year.

@72OA I’d probably be trading up if I hadn’t gotten a 2nd in my trade down. I like OLB Jabril Cox here. I think he goes mid 2nd to early 3rd. Probably mid second. A Deandre Levy type of OLBer with better coverage skills.

@74OA I do think this is the perfect spot to land an OT. I wouldn’t be opposed to Little But the guy I like here is Jackson Carman. RT is a big need and I don’t believe Vaitai has shown he can start at RT. I think he ends up being our starting RG. With Goff… shoring up the OL will be important to his success… Carman is a big OT who would be an asset in the run game. I like Little too however.

@82OA I could see us going DE here but with Anthony Lynn’s emphasis on the run game I think we go RB at some point in the mid rounds. This seems like a great spot to take RB Micheal Carter. A good all around RB who brings the home run threat we need.

@88 - I traded up to get Jabril Cox round two and lost this pick in that trade but if I were picking here I’d be taking Edge rusher Quincy Roche.

@108 - DE/OLB Jordan Smith small school kid with tons of upside.

@150 - WR/KR Ihmir Smith-Marsette This kid would provide depth in the slot and likely take over KR duties from Agnew.

I like your draft but I think the Lions should try to plug as many holes on offense as possible so that we can get a fair evaluation of Goff.

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I’ll be “that guy”—I don’t think that return is enough for dropping down that far.

Once you get below #15 in this draft there is a marked decline in talent.

You were right last year about Jefferson but I’m gonna disagree with you again about an LSU receiver. I think Marshall’s got bust written all over him. When I watched him especially in 2020, I found his effort to be alarming. He just mailed in a lot of plays, and he doesn’t even try to run block, his effort’s embarrassing. Also while I have nothing against an opt out especially this year, doing it days before the Alabama game didn’t sit right with me. That’s self-centered, diva stuff.

I think this is where you and I will disagree. I don’t believe aggressiveness on defense will be the thing that changes the culture (although it might be part of it). I believe the culture needs to be changed in how they prepare to make themselves better and the need team leaders to set the example. The Patriots had that amazing run partly because Tom Brady prepared so well. He was the heart and soul of those teams. He eats, sleeps and breathes football. Tom lives in the film room and “encourages” his teammates to do so as well. All the greats were obsessed with the game. The learned every nuance of their opponents. They became obsessive compulsive with their technique. They did all the little things to succeed. We need that type of culture. How you find this players in the draft is beyond me, but that’s the culture to succeed.

Whether we take a defensive player or not won’t be the biggest factor whether we change the culture of this team. It needs players to obsess over the game and do the little things to be the best. Those players also need be the leaders in the locker room, set the example of others and keep the selfishness out. Those leaders hold their team mates accountable for their actions and make sure the main focus is winning.

Obviously the coaching staff plays a huge part of that and it seems that the Lions are making changes with the new regime to set the example for the players.

Typically, I’m onboard with the you can never have too many pass-rushers philosophy but this team needs too much to put all your eggs into that basket. We just drafted Julian in the beginning of the 3rd round last year…and now you want to draft both Boogie and Joe Tryon? Just seems like a bit too much thrown at one position.

I was big on Jefferson. I knew he’d be successful day one.

On Marshall I’m not nearly as excited or sure about. He has areas he needs to work on. His route running in particular… But I do think he has the attributes to be a factor in all levels of the defense… and he can play both inside and outside.

He is like our own Golladay when he came out. In terms of Marshall has got a lot to work on. But the upside and potential to be great is there.

As for the effort… I do notice a change in his game speed. Is that taking plays off or is that due to other factors? … I contributed that to his route running and not getting up to speed. Some of that can be schemed and some of that comes with proper footwork drills.

Bottom line is he brings enough to the game and has the right size to be a 2nd round pick. But he has holes in his game too and areas he needs to work on that keep him from going higher. But his upside is pretty high.

I haven’t heard of him not wanting to work out or not putting in the work. Generally LSU players put the work in or they don’t play. In fact the story is he’s got a good work ethic. Here’s an article that talks about it.

As for the opting out part … to be honest it bugs me. It bugs me with players who opted out of the full season to… It bugs me when players don’t play in bowl games… but it is sign of the times… LSU wasn’t playing well and these kids today decide it isn’t worth the injury risk… it’s hard to fault that I guess… especially when he played and only opted out once the season was a total loss. They had lost 4 games at that point.

TCLion’s I love this post! Thanks alot. Please keep us updated on your thoughts.


With so much at stake
It bugged my Lawrence played a season for “free”
When last year he’d likely have gone 1st
Or top 5

Hope the degree from Clemson is worth that much.

Making business decisions in the business world is an every day thing for most people

And the more skill you have gives one leverage

Even if the NFL has little idea on if Lawrence will actually be the best player from this draft.

On those
I wonder how much FOs hold business decisions against the players especially when player is seen as really talented.