Mekhi Wingo's pass rush ability makes his selection a steal for Lions

The Detroit Lions landed Mekhi Wingo in the sixth-round, and it looks to be a steal.
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The Detroit Lions went into Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft looking to address lingering needs, but they likely never thought they'd stumble upon a steal quite like they did on Saturday afternoon.

In need of some more defensive production up front after selecting a pair of cornerbacks in each of the first two rounds, and addressing the offensive line and running back spot in the fourth round, the Lions traded up and landed LSU defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo.

Wingo slipped into the sixth round despite being projected to go earlier. Detroit was able to snag him at pick No. 189, which looks like a steal theft given Wingo's attributes.

Pro Football Focus cited Wingo as the best run defender at defensive tackle in the SEC over the last two seasons.

More than that, though, Wingo has the speed and athleticism to figure in as a pass rusher. To that end, he could serve as a dual threat for the Lions, making him an even bigger draft steal when all is said and done.

Brad Holmes praises Mekhi Wingo's important pass rush versatility

Perhaps the biggest reason Wingo was such a major steal? The fact that he can play multiple roles along the defensive line. He isn't merely a run stuffer, but has shown pass rush chops as well, giving the Lions an ability to line him up on the edge.

Holmes noticed this in the process, and ended up becoming impressed with Wingo as a result. The Lions have a similar player on the roster in Josh Paschal who is an interior-exterior combo player, and Wingo fits a similar bill.

"His football character shows on film, the way that he plays. 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."

When watching highlights, it becomes clear Wingo packs a punch at the point of attack. 8.5 career sacks and 13 tackles for loss show it statistically.

Detroit did draft a pure edge rusher, but in Wingo they were able to steal a player that can heat up the pocket from anywhere on the line. That will be important for the Lions as they continue to build their defense and look for more production in the trenches.

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