Mel Kiper pitches intriguing SEC standout as solution for Lions secondary

The Detroit Lions need help in the secondary, and ESPN's Mel Kiper offered up an interesting idea.
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The Detroit Lions have options when it comes to adding to their defense in the 2024 NFL Draft, and there are multiple positions that could use a boost.

Cornerback figures to be on the menu, and the team's defensive line could use a boost, especially at edge rusher. This offseason, many mock drafts have pointed to the likelihood of the Lions upgrading those spots.

Safety, however, is a more complicated situation. Detroit already has multiple young players at the position, including Kerby Joseph and Brian Branch. Would adding another player to that group be a brilliant move, or a waste of resources?

Recently, ESPN's Mel Kiper explored that in a three-round mock draft (subscription required). In the second round, he had the Lions selecting Georgia safety Javon Bullard.

"I recently picked Bullard, my top-ranked safety, in our big superteams draft. He can do it all. The Lions landed Brian Branch in Round 2 last year, and they could build an elite duo with these two."

Last season the Lions finished 28th in pass defense, so the idea of adding help in the secondary is well-founded. Notably, though, Kiper ignored the cornerback position in the mock, going with Missouri defensive end Darius Robinson at pick 29. In the third round, he had the Lions selecting Pitt wide receiver Bub Means at pick 73.

Pairing Javon Bullard with Brian Branch intriguing idea for the Lions

If the Lions want to improve their secondary, they may not need to make the cornerback position a huge priority early in the draft given the position's depth in this draft.

Branch mostly played nickel corner as a rookie, and he quite good at it. There's talk of him seeing more snaps at safety next season. but adding someone like Bullard could allow the Lions to remain flexible with where Branch plays and maximize his impact.

Bullard looks like a good fit for the Lions given his across the board production over his two years as a starter for Georgia. He transitioned to playing a lot of free safety last season, but he lined up all over the field and that closely mimics how Branch was used at Alabama.

While adding a cornerback on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft makes plenty of sense for the Lions, another athletic safety could be on the radar too.


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