At his pre-draft press conference, Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes was asked how quickly a player could be identified as a Holmes and (Dan) Campbell type of player. He swiftly responded, “Some of them, they declare themselves pretty early.” 

Indeed, when Colton Pouncy of The Athletic spoke with Jer’Zhan Newton at the NFL Combine, the Illinois defensive tackle seemed to have made an early impression.

They f–k with me, and I f–k with them.

In my Mock Draft 7.0, Brad Holmes and the Lions front office demonstrated their high regard for Newton by trading up to secure the disruptive player.

Pick 1 – Chicago Bears

Selection: QB Caleb Williams, USC

  • Analysis: This is guaranteed at #1 overall, right? Right. 

Pick 2 – Washington Commanders

Selection: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

  • Analysis: When Daniels weighed in at 210 pounds at his LSU pro day, it all but solidified him at number two overall. His size was the one thing that worried me the most, so it’s a positive to see he still has a frame that can continue to fill out.

Pick 3 – New York Jets (via Patriots)

Selection: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

  • Analysis: The first trade of the draft…and it does NOT involve a quarterback. The Jets give quarterback Aaron Rodgers the wide receiver with a superstar ceiling that he’s been begging for since he was drafted (back in the early 1900’s). 

Pick 4 – New York Giants (via Cardinals)

Selection: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

  • Analysis: With a surprise move at #3, the Giants take advantage of the situation and slide up two spots to snag their QB of the future J.J. McCarthy. 

Pick 5 – Los Angeles Chargers

Selection: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State.

  • Analysis: Fuaga has a mean streak with outstanding pass blocking skills to lift the floor of an offensive line that includes Rashawn Slater. He has the athleticism to move inside if Jim Harbaugh wants to start his career at guard.

Pick 6 – Arizona Cardinals (via Giants)

Selection: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

  • Analysis: The Cardinals added some draft capital to improve a roster with a ton of holes, but they were able to and still nab Nabers at a slightly cheaper price. 

Pick 7 – Tennessee Titans

Selection: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

  • Analysis: He just feels like a perfect Titan, a Taylor Lewan-esque force on the left side. I’m sure QB Will Levis would be thrilled if his blindside included Alt, Peter Skoronski and Lloyd Cushenberry.

Pick 8 – Las Vegas Raiders (via Falcons)

Selection: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Analysis: With both MHJ and Nabers off the board, the Raiders opt not to mess around, moving up to pick #8 to select Rome Odunze to lineup opposite of future Hall of Famer, Davante Adams. 

Pick 9 – Minnesota Vikings (via Bears)

Selection: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Pick 10 – New England Patriots (via Jets)

Selection: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

  • Analysis: You could argue that Fashanu has the highest upside of the tackle prospects that are projected to go in the first round, so the Patriots follow the Detroit Lions-Penei Sewell blueprint and snag the Penn State product at #10.

Pick 11 – Chicago Bears (via Vikings)

Selection: T Troy Fautanu, Washington

  • Analysis: Like Fuaga, the mean streak that Fautanu plays with is too enticing for Ryan Poles to pass up on. Paired with his versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line, this feels like a pick that the Bears’ NFC North rivals do not want to see. 

Pick 12 – Denver Broncos

Selection: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

  • Analysis: A serious neck injury early in his college career is the most glaring concern for the UCLA prospect. However, he has proved durability for the Bruins over the previous two seasons and features the deepest, most mature pass-rushing “bag” in the draft, something Sean Payton needs in the Mile High City ASAP. 

Pick 13 – Atlanta Falcons (via Raiders)

Selection: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

  • Analysis: I actively try to mock other players to the Falcons, but I always end up coming back to Turner. It feels like one of the more perfect fits in the NFL Draft. 

Pick 14 – New Orleans Saints

Selection: T JC Latham, Alabama

  • Analysis: I’ve got to defer to an draft expert for the initial analysis on Latham, because it’s too perfect not to share. Lance Zierlein describes Latham as a “bulldozer in human form with the upper- and lower-body power to forcibly evacuate run lanes and instantly upgrade a team’s ground attack.” I’m sure Alvin Kamara will like this one. The most powerful tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft, Latham starts to bridge the new era of the Saints without committing to a full-rebuild. 

Pick 15 – Indianapolis Colts

Selection: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Pick 16 – Seattle Seahawks

Selection: T Graham Barton, Duke

  • Analysis: As a member of the media covering the Lions, I’d love to see Barton fall to 29 (or into the 20’s for a cheaper trade up). However, the more I watch and learn about Barton, the more I believe he doesn’t make it out of the teens. The Seahawks have so many needs on the offensive line, and Barton has the ability to fill them all, depending on what new head coach Mike Macdonald wants to prioritize.  

Pick 17 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Selection: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

  • Analysis: The upper body power and durability that JPJ displayed at Oregon is precisely what Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne need in Jacksonville. 

Pick 18 – Cincinnati Bengals

Selection: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

  • Analysis: He’s a beast (6-8, 340 lbs.) but has exceptionally impressive athleticism for his size. All he needs is more football experience, but Mims could be a mauler in Cincinnati for 10+ years. 

Pick 19 – Los Angeles Rams

Selection: DT Byron Murphy II, Texas

  • Analysis: Many experts believe that Murphy II is the top defensive disruptor in the draft. The Rams just lost the most disruptive defensive lineman in NFL history. Put that together and Sean McVay runs to get the pick of Murphy into the commissioner’s office. 

Pick 20 – Green Bay Packers (via Steelers)

Selection: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

  • Analysis: With secondary-needy teams approaching, the Packers opt to trade up five spots in the NFL draft to select “their” guy, Cooper DeJean out of Iowa. They can play him opposite newly acquired safety Xavier McKinney, at outside corner or in the slot. The versatility DeJean provides is just what the doctor ordered in Green Bay. 

Pick 21 – Dallas Cowboys (via Dolphins)

Selection: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

  • Analysis: CeeDee Lamb and Brian Thomas Jr., if that doesn’t make Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott happy, I don’t know what will.

Pick 22 – Philadelphia Eagles

Selection: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

  • Analysis: A gritty cornerback who runs a 4.33 40-yard dash has prospects drooling. If he learns to keep his hands off of receivers while in recovery mode, he may have the best chance to become a lockdown corner in the NFL of any defensive back in the draft. 

Pick 23 – Minnesota Vikings

Selection: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

  • Analysis: Ever since Xavier Rhodes left Minnesota, the Vikings have been searching for a long-term, lockdown cornerback to build around. Terrion Arnold, a product of Nick Saban’s final defense at Alabama, is very likely to become that dude.

Pick 24 – Miami Dolphins (via Cowboys)

Selection: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

  • Analysis: To quote the great philosopher, Ricky Bobby: “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” So, picture this: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Xavier Worthy, Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane. Have mercy.
  • Do I believe this is too early for Xavier Worthy to be drafted? Do I believe there are at least 10 other wide receivers that are better than Worthy? The answer to both questions is yes. However, there is one team and one coach who couldn’t care less. That’s Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins. It’s no secret they are constantly tinkering to ensure the most electric offense in the lead, and Worthy’s 4.22 40-yard dash is compelling enough to take him at 24. 

Pick 25 – Pittsburgh Steelers (via Packers)

Selection: C Zach Frazier, West Virginia

  • Analysis: His athleticism is nothing to write home about, but his toughness is worth a novel. The four-time state champion wrestler in high school and four-time starter at West Virginia, Frazier has the strength and football IQ to thrive in the NFL. Sounds like a Steeler to me. 

Pick 26 – Detroit Lions (via Buccaneers)

Selection: DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

  • Analysis: While Newton may seem redundant after signing DJ Reader to play next to Alim McNeill, I believe that you can never have too many disruptors on the defensive line. Despite being on the “small” side (6-1, 304 lbs.), Newton has gap quickness that is extremely difficult to block one-on-one. As a former running back in high school, he has the athleticism that allows him to thrive in every alignment, from 5-tech to 1-tech. He has exceptional hands and is not afraid to do the dirty work on 1st or 2nd down. Yet he is also someone you would want on the field on 3rd down to attack the quarterback. 
  • Including Lions safety Kerby Joseph, Illinois has pumped out some impressive defensive players that are thriving in the NFL. Much of this credit goes to former Illinois defensive coordinator and current Purdue head coach, Ryan Walters, who also coached Newton early in his college career. 
  • As a bonus, Newton provides insurance along the defensive line in the form of a five-year rookie contract. Should veteran DJ Reader have any issues staying healthy, Newton is a quality defensive tackle that can contribute from day one. Also, Alim McNeill is entering his contract year and there is a very real possibility that could price him out of Detroit’s future budget. McNeill, who has improved every year in the NFL, has star defensive tackle potential and the addition of Reader could lead to a massive season. In the situation where the Lions would be unable to afford McNeill, Newton can step in and take the reigns for the remaining four years of his rookie contract. 

Trade Details:

  • Lions receive: round 1, pick #26 + round 3, pick #92 + round 4, pick #125
  • Bucs receive: round 1, pick #29 + round 3, pick #73

Pick 27 – Arizona Cardinals

Selection: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

  • Analysis: A smooth athlete with perfect size for a cornerback, Kool-Aid provides the Cardinals with a secondary piece that can start on day one and compete with some of the bigger receivers in the NFL. 

Pick 28 – Buffalo Bills

Selection: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

  • Analysis: A field-stretching wide receiver that the Bills are in desperate need of. Franklin needs to develop his route-running and route-tree at the next level, but he’s a big-play weapon before and after he catches the ball from Josh Allen. 

Pick 29 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Lions)

Selection: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

  • Analysis: After trading back with the Lions, the Buccaneers strike gold with the unexpected fall of edge rusher, Jared Verse. One could make an argument that Verse has the highest ceiling of any edge rusher in the first round, highlighted by his balance of speed and power that is complimented by a workhorse motor. 

Pick 30 – Baltimore Ravens

Selection: WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

  • Analysis: a tall, outside-the-numbers pass catcher with some of the best catch-point attributes in the draft, “AD” Mitchell looks to be a perfect weapon for Lamar Jackson to pair with budding star Zay Flowers. 

Pick 31 – San Francisco 49ers

Selection: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

  • Analysis: Weight (173 lbs.) and injury concerns are the reason for Wiggins fall to #31. However, the 49ers are not as concerned as other teams, snapping up the fastest corner in the draft (4.28 40-yard dash at the combine) with loads of potential as a perimeter on-ball defender has GM John Lynch’s mouth watering. 

Pick 32 – Kansas City Chiefs

Selection: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Analysis: If on the board, there is no way that the Chiefs pass up on Ladd McConkey. It’s as simple as that.


All Lions Picks:

  1. Round 1, pick 26: DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois 
  2. Round 2, pick 61: EDGE Jonah Ellis, Utah
  3. Round 3, pick 92: G Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
  4. Round 4, pick 125: WR Brendan Rice, USC
  5. Round 5, pick 138: CB D.J. James, Auburn
  6. Round 6, pick 201: S James WIlliams, Miami
  7. Round 7, pick 249: K Will Reichard, Alabama

Trade details:

  1. Trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Lions receive: pick 26 + pick 92 + pick 145
    • Buccaneers receive: pick 29 + pick 73
  2. Trade with Arizona Cardinals
    1. Lions receive: pick 138
    2. Cardinals receive: pick 164 + pick 205


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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By Published On: April 19th, 2024Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL, Trending News

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