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.