Detroit Lions Mock Draft v1.0

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Sixth Round  

Trae Elston, Safety, Mississippi

Here’s some recency bias in action. Elston is the current (college football week 8) SEC Defensive Player of the Week after breaking up five passes in the Rebel’s win over Texas A&M.

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Pair that impressive outing with his four interceptions on the season, two of which he took to the house, and above-average tackling prowess, and Elston has proven he has closing speed and ball skills. He lacks great measurables at just 5’11” and about 200 pounds, and his timed speed will not wow scouts. Elston fits the “better football player than athlete” label, which will keep him relegated to the late rounds.

In that vein, he’s quite similar to Tre Boston of the Carolina Panthers. He never gained much draft momentum because of his lack of timed speed. Boston, who is a little bigger, has quickly become an impact starter for a very good Panthers defense after proving his mettle by dominating Shrine Game practice sessions.

Elston appears bound for the Shrine Game as well, and I expect much the same. He’s a natural ballhawk and a vocal leader.

Just as in the fifth round, Detroit has a bonus pick in the sixth thanks to one of Mayhew’s best moves. He traded Mohamed Seisay to Seattle for their slot here, and Seisay underwhelmed in preseason before going in IR with a groin issue.

The extra late-round pick is the right time to take a flyer on a player who could develop into something special but is more likely to wind up like Seisay and never make a dent in the NFL. It’s rare that those guys come from powerhouse programs, but LSU linebacker Deion Jones fits the bill.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A part-time starter who lacks size at just 225 pounds, Jones has truly explosive acceleration and surprising pop to his pads.

His role in the NFL is likely as a coverage backer and special teams ace, a role he’s thrived in for the Tigers. In other words, he kicks the unathletic Travis Lewis off the roster. The sixth round might be late for Jones, but linebackers lacking weight seemingly always go later than expected.

Next: A Big Leader?