With NFL free agency starting up, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes will begin putting his stamp on the roster.
However, considering the Lions' financial situation and where they are at in a rebuild, there may not be a ton of movement in Motown.
No matter the case, though, the Lions' 2021 free-agent period may not impact their draft strategy all that much. The Lions need talent everywhere, and the draft is how you build a team.
So, here is my three-round mock draft.
*Pro Football Network draft simulator
7.) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Once again, the value at pick No. 7 with the way this mock fell wasn’t the best for the Lions. All four of the top quarterbacks were gone, as well as the top receiver in Ja'Marr Chase and the top offensive tackle in Penei Sewell -- not exactly a dream scenario for the Lions.
That leaves a difficult decision for Holmes. The best players available don’t necessarily fall at any of the premier NFL positions.
Despite plenty of receiver talent later in the draft, Waddle possesses something that is very rare to find -- true elite speed. Waddle is not the biggest player, which could limit him a bit. But, speed is the name of the game in NFL. Even in his rare contested-catches situations -- because he usually was running away from corners -- he was able to win those 50/50 balls.
Waddle's best talents may go to waste with Jared Goff at quarterback, but Waddle’s strengths and talent can’t be ignored. Remember, he outshined Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith when they were both on the field together at the start of the 2020 season.
41.) Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Collins would have been a perfect fit for ex-Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
Even in a more modern defense, Collins has the size AND speed for today’s NFL. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Collins is a rare breed. He is athletic, excellent in coverage -- four interceptions in eight games in 2020 -- and can even rush the passer. As an off-ball linebacker, he can do it all.
Perhaps his biggest weakness is what you would assume to be a strength, considering his size. He could be more physical and more aggressive in the run. Maybe that can come with time, but his potential is off the charts and this is great value in the early second round.
72.) Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Radunz might be a little bit of a project. That shouldn’t be much of a worry for the Lions in 2020, though. They already have Tyrell Crosby and are paying Halapoulivaati Vaitai tackle money.
However, Crosby is a free agent after the 2021 season, and Vaitai will be squarely in the cap casualty mix after the upcoming year.
Radunz has the athleticism to be a great pass-blocking tackle, but his slight frame at just under 300 pounds will need to be addressed.
If there is anything NFL training can fix, it’s weight. Not only that, Radunz has the mauler mentality that Lions head coach Dan Campbell will love in the run game.
At this point in the draft, it's about grabbing high-ceiling prospects that can contribute in the future.
88.) Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Much like Radunz, Jones has plenty of traits that teams will covet, but will need to develop more power and strength to his arsenal of pass-rush moves.
It’s no secret the Lions need to address their pass rush. Jones has the measurables at 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds that scouts look for as a defensive end. He has been a notable name on the draft radar for a while due to his size and burst alone.
Unfortunately, the redshirt senior never seemed to put it all together to completely dominate at the college level.
If the Lions' coaches can make the flashes of greatness more consistent at the next level, Jones is well worth the chance at the end of the third round. Again, it’s another high-potential player, if he can be coached up at the next level.
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