Detroit Lions do what fans don't think they'll do in 7-round mock

In a full 7-round mock from The Athletic's Dane Brugler, the Lions do something fans don't think they'll do.
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The 2024 NFL Draft is of course in Detroit next week (April 25-27), with all the pomp and circumstance attached to it. That had, and still has, some fans thinking the Lions won't trade out of the first round, as if the NFL would mandate it or something. But tapping into that kind of narrative is, simply, not anything to base draft strategy.

If we're being honest, Lions general manager Brad Holmes is just as likely to move up from pick No. 29 as he is to move down. Late in the first round is a common spot for a team to try to trade up to and take a quarterback who has fallen, with getting the contract control of the fifth-year option in mind.

On the heels of the release of his pre-draft prospect guide, appropriately called "The Beast", Dane Brugler of The Athletic is out with a 7-round mock (subscription required).

Lions do what fans will probably be against in 7-round mock

As may seem obvious at this point, Brugler has the Lions trading out of the first round in his new mock. The Las Vegas Raiders move up to No. 29 to take Washington quarterback Michael Penix, and the Lions get pick 44 and pick 77. That doesn't do a lot to bridge a significant gap they have in picks between the third and fifth rounds, but it does leave Detroit with a nice-looking haul in Brugler's mock.

Let's take a look.

Pick No. 44: Zach Frazier, IOL, West Virginia

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network gave Frazier to the Lions in a mock back in February, and just this week NFL Network's Peter Schrager did the same.

Frazier started his college career at left guard before moving over to center. He could be immediate depth behind all three interior offensive line starts as a rookie, then be lined up to start somewhere in 2025.

Pick No. 61: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Fiske had a great pre-draft process, which has fostered some buzz he will be long gone before this pick. But the Lions can certainly use another piece on their interior defensive line.

Pick No. 73: Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

ESPN's Field Yates had the Lions landing Polk at pick No. 61 in a recent solo mock he did. He isn't quite a quintessential "X" receiver (6-foot-1, 203 pounds), but he gets high marks for his contested catch ability and catch radius and despite a slower than ideal 40 time at the combine he showed plenty of other athletic chops (37.5-inch vertical, etc.).

Pick No. 77: Caelan Carson, CB, Wake Forest

Carson is on a long list of cornerbacks the Lions had in for a pre-draft visit. He's scheme/alignment versatile, with good size (6-foot, 190 pounds) and physicality to adhere himself to NFL teams. He's an easy Day 2 target for Detroit, and Brugler has them taking him.

Pick No. 164: Braiden McGregor, EDGE, Michigan

McGregor was envisioned as the next Aidan Hutchinson's for the Wolverines, but his production did not come close to realizing that (seven sacks over the last two seasons). But he only started one season, so he's still raw and a worthy flier to take in the fifth round.

Pick No. 201: Will Reichard, K, Alabama

The Lions haven't drafted a kicker for quite awhile, but with the roster in as good a shape as it is this year is as good any to end that streak. Reichard made 84 percent of his field goals over five years at Alabama (84-for-100), including 10-for-13 from 50-plus yards out with a long of 52 yards.

Pick No. 205: Sione Vaki, S, Utah

Viaki is one of the most interesting prospects in this year's draft class. He wants to (and likely will) be a safety in the NFL, but he also averaged 7.5 yards per carry as a running back for the Utes last season. He would surely also be a special teams contributor.

Brugler hinted at the fit for Vaki with the Lions.

“If there is a player in this draft who has bitten a knee cap, Vaki is that guy, so there is no mystery why the Lions have shown considerable interest in the versatile safety (and running back) from Utah.”

Pick No. 249: Johnny Dixon, CB, Penn State

Among positions the Lions may double-dip on in this draft, cornerback is probably atop this list. With experience in press-man and the skillset to back it up, Dixon would be likely to make a quick transition the Lions' defensive scheme. But he has to reign in penalties, and if ends up in a prominent role his smallish size (5-11, 188 pounds) may put a bullseye on him until he shows he can hold up. But he could at least be a special teamer, and in the seventh round Dixon is a fine final pick flier.

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