At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Malone is an undersized edge rusher. But he is a long, rangy athlete that Glenn can use as both an outside linebacker and an end. He will need to add mass and strength, but he already plays bigger than he is and is a physical presence.
Level of competition questions aside, there’s no arguing with Malone’s production at Western Kentucky. The two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year (2019 and 2021) had at least six sacks and nine tackles for loss in four straight seasons (he took advantage of an extra COVID year and returned for a fifth year last year). Over his last three seasons, he had 48.5 tackles for loss.
Malone isn’t a plug-and-play pick, but he has the right attitude and a skill set that can be developed. Another upside play on an edge rusher here in the fifth round was well-reasoned for the Lions.
At 6-foot-6 and 327 pounds, Eze is a mountain of a man. He excels at run blocking and is sneaky athletic. He doesn’t have tremendous agility in pass protection, but his huge frame and long-arms help make up for any lacking quickness.
A knock on Eze is he has a tendency to play with too high a pad level. Despite his size, he could also still stand to get stronger. But improving his technique and hitting the weight room are not impossible obstacles, so he has the opportunity to at least become quality depth for the Lions’ offensive line.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, teams are trying to find diamonds in the rough. Turner might just be that kind of diamond. Turner is not particularly big or quick, but he’s a high-effort player who finds ways to make plays.
Turner will need to add some strength to succeed at the next level, but his hustle, instincts and consistently good pad level allows him to make plays. He is certainly a developmental player, but he also has the type of attitude Campbell loves.
With no seventh-round pick, that’s a wrap up the Lions’ 2022 selections as it sits right now. It definitely leaned towards the defense here in this mock, and quite frankly that’s the quickest route to the Lions being competitive after that unit’s struggles in 2021. Adding a couple receivers to that room on Day 2 seems to be right up wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El’s alley too.