NFL Draft rumor: Why did Christian Mahogany fall to the Lions?

There's now a possible explanation for why Lions rookie guard Christian Mahogany fell to the sixth round of the draft.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a trade that moved them up to pick No. 210, the Detroit Lions took Boston College guard Christian Mahogany to complete their 2024 draft haul. A three-year starter in college, albeit with a torn ACL costing him the entire 2022 season, Mahogany was widely-regarded as a Day 2 or at the very least an earlier Day 3 pick.

Mahogany has the look of a future starter at guard for the Lions, and general manager Brad Holmes gave him a nickname he very quickly, completely embraced. Holmes did not elaborate on why Mahogany fell as far as he did when prompted, which invited some mystery and potential questions.

There are plenty of pre-draft smokescreens put out there, was teams hope certain draft prospects fall to them. But that is usually reserved for first-round picks, and good front offices do their own work anyway.

Why did Christian Mahogany fall to the Lions in the sixth round?

The Detroit Lions Podcast, co-hosted by Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire, took a look the Lions' draft results. Risdon's co-host Chris offered a reasonable, surface level explanation for why Mahogany fell as far as he did.

"It's interesting, two-thirds of the teams were out on him for scheme fit," Chris explained. "But then he falls. The quality of player is there, you've seen him, you know what he's got. For something like this, it's really strange and it's one of those things where, teams look at everything. I think something like this makes them a little bit nervous because from like a strength, training and conditioning and all that, how do you deal with that?"

Scheme fit, perceived or actual, drives draft decisions. So if two-thirds of the league felt Mahogany was a bad scheme fit, that's an easy explanation for his draft tumble. The Lions have a gap-based scheme in the run game, while a lot of other teams run outside zone, which requires lineman to account for multiple gaps. Mahogany's physical style is a better fit for a scheme like the Lions'.

Chris went a little further, citing a potential medical reason for Mahogany falling like he did.

"It's so interesting. The way that these teams look at players is far beyond just film and GPS speed and everything else," co-host Chris hypothesized. "The word on the street is, and it's not even on the street but in another place, is that he has a leg that is longer than the other one by a decent amount. Okay, that's a physical anomaly but it doesn't change the way that he plays."

Mahogany's aforementioned torn ACL in 2022 is notable, in terms of injury history to impact his draft stock, but he returned to start every game last season and he allowed zero sacks. A leg that's longer than the other "by a decent amount" is a little different, but it's not necessarily a huge thing unless it leads to future injuries in a kinetic chain way.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic, in lauding the Lions' draft haul (subscription required) also mentioned some medical concerns attached to Mahogany.

"Some medical questions caused Mahogany to fall, but he is a smash-mouth power blocker with lighter feet than expected. It won’t be a surprise if he is competing for a starting role in 2025,”

So Mahogany fell two or three rounds further than he should have due to being a bad fit for a lot of team's blocking schemes, or because one of his legs is longer than the other. Or maybe both. In any case, the Lions gladly took advantage of his fall and it looks to be a great fit for both sides.

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