The Lions may (and maybe should) take a wide receiver far earlier than this, but again–“best player available” is the template.
Johnson is undersized (176 pounds), he didn’t run well at his Pro Day (4.62 40-yard dash, he had 28 drops in his career and he was almost exclusively a slot receiver in his final season at Tulsa. But that shouldn’t overshadow his production (83 receptions for 1,114 yards, six touchdowns, with eight catches for 149 yards and a touchdown against Ohio State).
The Lions need weapons, wherever they might be found. Johnson may not stick, as a sixth-round pick might not, but he may have enough going for him to find a way.
Lions fans will want an edge rusher before the sixth round, but here we are. Anderson was an overlooked part of Georgia’s defense last year, as he posted 5.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss over seven games. An off the field issue cost him the rest of the season, but he worked out on his own in March and posted some good athletic numbers (good for a 9.37 Relative Athletic Score, via @Math Bomb on Twitter).
The off-field concern is not be dismissed or overlooked, but it has taken Anderson from a possible first-round pick early last season to a late-rounder now. The Lions take the chance to add to a pass rush that lagged badly last season.
Landman was a four-year starter at Colorado, with strong intangibles and nose for being around the ball. After back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons in 2018 and 2019, an Achilles tear (2020) and a shoulder injury (2021) derailed his final two seasons. But in those two seasons, in 12 total games, he has productive (116 total tackles and 15 tackles for loss).
Landman will have to initially make an NFL roster as as special teamer, and some Lions fans/followers might see an Alex Anzalone clone (that’s not a compliment). But with a final draft pick, there are worse ways to go.