Early 2025 mock drafts have easily common theme for the Detroit Lions

In very early 2025 mock drafts, there's an overriding theme for the Detroit Lions.
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Now that the 2024 NFL Draft is over, like it or not, 2025 are coming out. As expected, the Detroit Lions have a late first-round pick in any early 2025 mock you'll see, a predictor of them getting back to the level of success they had last season. And frankly, there are multiple possible directions they could go with that first pick a year from now.

As the post-draft dust settles, the Lions could look to make a veteran addition (if only for depth/competition) at a few spots. Wide receiver, safety and edge rusher are the spots that stand out, perhaps the first two more than the third.

The Lions were tied for 23rd in sacks last season with 41 sacks. Aidan Hutchinson had 11.5, followed by defensive tackle Alim McNeill with 7.5 sacks in his breakthrough season. No other edge rusher, sans Hutchinson, had more than two sacks.

Marcus Davenport was signed to a one-year deal in free agency, but he has two or fewer sacks in three of the last four seasons due to injuries. The return to health of James Houston will help, but it's hard to know what he'll do.

So a long-term running mate for Hutchinson stands to be on the radar heading toward the 2025 draft, and that's been the common theme in early mocks.

There's an edge rusher theme for the Lions in early 2025 mock drafts

So, getting down to specific players, who do early mock drafters have the Lions taking next April?

Jordan Reid of ESPN and Marcus Mosher of The 33rd Team have the Lions taking Louisville edge rusher Ashton Gillotte and No. 29 overall.

Reid: The Lions want some pass-rush help opposite Aidan Hutchinson, and if you enjoyed watching Missouri's Darius Robinson (Cardinals first-rounder) during this past draft cycle, you'll love Gillotte. His game similarly revolves around power. At 6-3 and 275 pounds, he packs a strong punch, helping him to 13 tackles for loss and 11 sacks last season. But can he expand his pass-rush skill set behind his raw strength?

Mosher: The Detroit Lions are still searching for a long-term bookend to pair with Aidan Hutchinson, and they could get one here with Ashton Gillotte from Louisville. Leading the ACC in sacks with 11, Gillotte was a force during the 2023 season. During the past two seasons, he’s recorded 22.5 tackles for a loss and 18 sacks. Another strong season should firmly plant him in the first round."

Pro Football Focus has the Lions taking Ohio State edge rusher JT Tuimolau, also at pick No. 29, in their early 2025 mock.

The Lions didn’t select an edge defender in theeven though they can upgrade at the spot opposite ofAidan Hutchinson. Tuimoloau has been frustratingly inconsistent (74.5 grade in 2023) but has first-round tools and flashes dominance (see: 2022 tape against Olu Fashanu and Penn State)."

Eric Froton of NBC Sports has the Lions going with Texas A&M edge rusher Nic Scourton (pick No. 28).

"Scourton (6-4, 260 pounds) recorded 42 pressures, 32 stops and a laudable 21.3% third-down pressure rate to go with his 10.0 sacks for Purdue. This season he will be taking his 91st% PFF pass rush grade to Texas A&M where he faces off against the best tackles the SEC has to offer. He would give Detroit another monster edge defender opposite Aidan Hutchinson."

Rob Rang of Fox Sports has the Lions, at pick No. 28, taking Penn State edge rusher Abdul Carter.

"Ever since James Franklin took over at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have churned out edge rushers and all indications are that Carter is next. Even while splitting duties with 2023 top-100 draft picks Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Carter earned first-team All-Big Ten honors with 5.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks."

In other early 2025 mocks (h/t to NFL Mock Draft Database), Florida's Prince Umanmielen, Ohio State's Jack Sawyer, Oklahoma State's Collin Oliver, Arkansas' Landon Jackson are other edge rushers who land with the Lions. That's the broad theme, and it's well-founded even looking so far ahead.

Next. Detroit Lions 53-man roster projection after the 2024 NFL Draft. Detroit Lions 53-man roster projection after the 2024 NFL Draft. dark