Final Lions mock draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux gets the edge at No. 2

After months of speculation about what may be the most unpredictable NFL Draft in years, you’ve probably heard enough. And we’ve said enough. So, let’s get to it.

With the help of The Draft Network’s (premium) simulator, we take one final crack at figuring out how the Lions’ weekend will go.

Lions’ draft picks

ROUND PICK OVERALL NOTES

1

2

2

1

32

32

From Rams

2

2

34

3

2

66

3

33

97

compensatory

5

34

177

compensatory

6

2

181

6

39

217

compensatory

Round 1, No. 2: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

To be clear: We don’t know for sure, but if Travon Walker goes No. 1 to the Jaguars, we’d expect the Lions to be down to Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2. It’s possible Hutchinson is the pick — his personality fit with Dan Campbell’s culture and potential inside Aaron Glenn’s defense can’t be ignored. Neither can the impact of Thibodeaux as the best pass rusher in this class. Thibodeaux’s game has to continue to mature but his athletic ceiling as a pass rusher feels higher. The Lions aren’t afraid of personalities and the culture in Campbell’s locker room, if built properly (so far, so good), could be a great place for him.

In the end, we went with Brad Holmes’ familiarity with Thibodeaux from years of scouting work as the deciding factor here. But it’s very difficult. — Nick Baumgardner

Round 1, No. 32: Trade to Saints for 49, 98, 2023 fifth-round pick

Round 2, No. 34: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

We were pretty determined to move off No. 32, either up if Derek Stingley Jr., Kyle Hamilton or one of the top-tier receivers slide, or down to stockpile picks. The trade-up options didn’t really materialize, though, hence the Saints trade. An alternative offer from the Seahawks, just for you to chew on: Nos. 40, 145 and 229 for 32.

The board at 34 still showed Cine, Georgia linebackers Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker, and receivers like Christian Watson, Skyy Moore and George Pickens. Cine was the pick because of the dynamic combination he offers as an over-the-top safety who can thump in the box. The Lions have to address this position in the draft, and ideally do it before getting too deep into Day 2. — chris burke

Round 2, No. 49: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

Muma (6-3, 239) has long been one of our favorite stack linebackers in this class — and there are several, including some (Christian Harris and Leo Chenal) who were available for us here. But Muma can cover, he tackles everything and he plays his butt off. Need filled. Muma (a former safety) has the traits to play alongside Derrick Barnes long-term — he also has the polish to compete with him for time right now as the Lions continue to grow their linebackers room.

For the wide receiver fans out there: We just missed on Pickens and Watson here, after passing on them for Cine earlier. — Baumgardner

Round 3, No. 66: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

If the Lions sit out on the top-40 receivers runs — there should be one in the top 20 and another in that late-Round 1/early-Round 2 range — then the top of Round 3 would be a nice spot to look for value. Our debate here came down to Tolbert or physical, 6-3 Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce.

Tolbert has more upside as an all-around receiver, and the Lions really like his skill set coming out of the Senior Bowl. He could be dangerous out of the slot, too, as a vertical threat with terrific body control in the air. — Burke


Coby Bryant would be a perfect fit as an Aaron Glenn corner. (Matthew Emmons / USA Today)

Round 3, No. 81 (trade with Giants for Nos. 97 and 177): Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

We decided we didn’t want to wait. Bryant is perfect, a Dan Campbell-Aaron Glenn corner all the way. A product of Ted Ginn Sr.’s famed Glenville High School program in Cleveland, Bryant’s all about toughness and consistency. In short: He’s a dog. All the way. His testing traits aren’t off the charts (4.54 40, 7.31-second three-cone), but he’s really difficult to beat in man coverage.

Perhaps not the answer to any CB1 problems. But Bryant (6-1, 193) is a very good football player and a big-time competitor. He was a two-time captain for a defense-first program that went 22-2 over his last two seasons. — Baumgardner

Round 3, No. 98: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan

A tight end turned tackle at Central Michigan who is likely a guard in the NFL, Goedeke was one-half of an outstanding offensive tackle duo for Jim McElwain and the Chips (opposite Bernhard Raimann) and combines a nasty edge with athleticism. This Lions staff covets both in their offensive linemen, not one without the other. — Baumgardner

Round 6, No. 181: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA

Another Senior Bowl standout—Ogbonnia played for the Jets’ staff, on the National Team roster. He’s a 324-pounder whose most natural fit is at nose tackle, where the Lions already have Alim McNeill and backup John Penisini. In this defense, however, Ogbonnia can be more like the former than the latter, meaning that the Lions could bump out a little wider and let him attack some gaps. He can be explosive when he times things up right. — Burke

Round 6, No. 217: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU

A Jamaal Williams-like option from Jamaal Williams’ alma mater. Allgeier is a big (224-pound), patient back who’d do well in Detroit’s run scheme, plus he caught a combined 42 passes over his final two seasons. BYU even moved him to linebacker at one point during his career — he had 26 tackles in 2019.

This also could be a spot for a tight end. The Lions still need to figure out the situation behind TJ Hockenson, so Nevada’s Cole Turner or even Michigan State hybrid fullback/tight end Connor Heyward could be appealing here. — Burke

Detroit Lions Final Mock Draft

pick Player Position School

2

edge

Oregon

34

S

georgia

49

LB

Wyoming

66

WR

South Alabama

81

CB

Cincinnati

98

OL

Central Michigan

181

DT

UCLA

217

RB

BYU

final thoughts

Nick Baumgardner: After we traded 32 and saw what was available there, I believe my exact quote (to steal from George Costanza) to you was: “Oh, well, this is all locking in now.” If I were making the pick at 2, I might take Hutchinson. But I think all three of those edge players at the top are going to be very good. The rest of the board, after that trade, really clicked.

My final Detroit Lions-related draft thought heading into the event is this: Holmes and company have a huge opportunity to shorten this defensive rebuild right now. The board is deep where the Lions need it to be deep.

Chris Burke: I’d still have Hutchinson as a very slight favorite to be the pick over Thibodeaux. But this—like the Lions’ draft room—is a collaborative space. The rest of this flowed pretty well. My one concern was that, by trading up to get Bryant, we’d offset the gains made by backing out of No. 32. I think it was worth it, though. I like this haul.

(Top pic: Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

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