Detroit Lions 4-round mock draft after going all-in on defense in first wave of free agency

After the first wave of free agency, here's a fresh four-round 2024 mock draft for the Detroit Lions.

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First Round, No. 29 overall: Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State

With the departure of Jackson, the Lions have a notable hole at left guard. There are some viable free agent replacement options still out there, but it's fair to say that won't necessarily prevent an early draft pick being used on a guard.

Beebe started his career at Kansas State at right tackle, then he moved to left tackle as a sophomore. He moved to left guard in 2022, and stayed there mostly for his final two seasons. Last season, he posted the third-best pass blocking grade among qualified guards from Pro Football Focus (90.4), and a top-10 overall grade among guards (83.9; seventh).

Based on game tape the knocks on Beebe, as could be expected for a guard, are short arms (31.5 inches at the combine), lateral quickness and athleticism. But then he posted a 9.71 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) in Indianapolis, with a 5.03 40-yard dash at 322 pounds.

Of all the notes in scouting reports on Beebe, this one stands out as one that might get the Lions attention, via NFL Draft Buzz.

"With a technician's approach to pass sets and a brawler's mentality in the trenches, Beebe has the toolkit to neutralize the league's burgeoning interior pass rush talent."

Taking a guard in the first round might set off the positional value truthers again. But Beebe is widely considered a potential first-rounder, and he also happens to fit a big current need for the Lions.

Update: The signing of Kevin Zeitler, on a one-year deal, should not take the Lions out of the mix to draft a guard early in April's draft, possibly even the first round.

Second Round, No. 61 overall: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

With the aforementioned likely departure of Reynolds, and some question marks outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown (Kalif Raymond knee injury? Will Jameson Williams reach his potential?, wide receiver might be more on the Lions' draft radar than many people want to think.

At 6-foot-1, 221 pounds with 4.39 speed and other outstanding athletic testing measurables, the DK Metcalf comps for Legette are easy. But they also fit, even if he's a rawer college prospect than Metcalf even was. ESPN's Matt Miller went all the way to an A.J. Brown comp for Legette.

Legette didn't get much of a chance until his final year at South Carolina. But he made the absolute most of it with 71 catches for 1,255 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. He has reliable hands (two drops on 97 targets last season, per Pro Football Focus). His PFF grade against man coverage was top-notch (85.6), with a strong 47.6 percent contested catch rate.

Legette may rise just enough to not be in play for the Lions at pick 61. But he was here in this mock spin, and with a lack of other options that were desirable (edge rusher was on the radar), he became the pick.