Mekhi Wingo could end being a total steal for the Detroit Lions

Mekhi Wingo fell to the sixth round of April's draft, and that on its own could make him a fantastic steal for the Lions.

If defensive tackle Mehki Wingo was like two inches taller (6-foot), and maybe 10-15 pounds heavier (284 pounds), he likely would not have lasted past Day 2 of April's draft. A core muscle injury that cost him much of the latter part of his final season at LSU, and kept him from participating in the Senior Bowl, also had to be a factor in his draft fall.

But there he was for the Detroit Lions to trade up for and take in the sixth round (pick No. 189), which immediately looked like a steal.

Not to mention how good a fit Wingo seems to be, based on what he told reporters at rookie minicamp to back up Brad Holmes' post-draft assessment.

"His football character shows on film, the way that he plays", Holmes said. The role? I originally had looked at him as purely a defensive tackle that was going to be playing inside. When I kept watching him, his rushing ability really started to come to light. I kind of put him in a separate box. A little bit like when we talked about (Josh) Paschal coming out. He's got a lot of stuff on tape as an edge rusher."

Wingo could push for an immediate role on the Lions' defensive line, with potential versatility to move out to the edge some and add to the pass rush. Pro Football Focus also had him as their highest-graded defensive tackle in the SEC against the run against the run over the last two seasons.

Mekhi Wingo could turn into a major steal for the Lions

Right after the draft, Wingo was far and wide regarded as a draft steal for the Lions. Weeks later now, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda easily had Wingo on his list of Day 3 draft picks who could turn out to be major steals.

"Wingo was a fringe Day 2 pick who tumbled to the sixth round due to size and injury concerns. The injury was not a major issue, as a core sports injury kept Wingo out most of the season's final two months and prevented him from participating in the Senior Bowl...."
"Detroit was fired up to draft Wingo, who is a perfect fit for their system...."

Wingo probably won't start at lot of games (or possibly any games) for the Lions as a rookie. But his role could be bigger than expected and his impact could be noticeable, setting the stage for him to be a core piece of the defense down the road.

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