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Detroit Lions 3-Round Mock Draft: Improving the Defense

Check out who the Detroit Lions select in this three-round 2021 NFL mock draft.
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It's the start of a brand new week here at SI All Lions, which means it's time for a fresh three-round mock draft. 

Remember, freshly minted Detroit general manager Brad Holmes has four picks to work with in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Here now is my second Lions-specific, three-round mock draft. 

First round, No. 7 overall: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Waddle has been mocked increasingly to the Lions with this pick. If the organization doesn't trade back, I think he will be the player that it selects, as long as Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons isn't still on the board. 

Alabama had a wide receiver in DeVonta Smith that won the Heisman Trophy a season ago, and Waddle still might have been the best receiver at the school. 

He's going to go down as one of the best pass-catchers in Crimson Tide history, which is saying a lot with all the great receivers that have gone through the school, including Julio Jones and Amari Cooper in recent memory. 

Among Waddle's myriad of achievements is the fact that he owns three of the top-five longest scoring receptions in Alabama history and the second-highest yards-per-catch average in school history (18.9). 

The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder's ability to outrun defenders and stretch the field is uncanny. And, he'd provide No. 1 wideout-level production immediately to a Detroit receivers room that could be without Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola -- all impending free agents -- in 2021. 

Second round, No. 41 overall: Pittsburgh EDGE rusher Patrick Jones II 

I no longer have Rashad Weaver mocked here. But, I still have an EDGE rusher from Pittsburgh going to the Lions at No. 41 overall. His name: Patrick Jones II. 

The 6-foot-5, 264-pounder finished the 2020 campaign with nine sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, three passes defensed and a fumble recovery. It helped him earn first-team All-ACC honors. 

He profiles best as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme at the next level -- which is likely to be the base defense deployed by new Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. 

And, playing in such a system -- which is what he did in college -- would allow him to do what he does best: Exploding off the line of scrimmage and getting after the quarterback. 

Jones would be a perfect fit for Detroit with this pick.

Jones II sacks Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry in a 2019 game. 

Jones II sacks Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry in a 2019 game. 

Third round, No. 72 overall: Oklahoma State CB Rodarius Williams

The only individual I've continued to pick in every single mock draft I've done is Williams.

The Lions direly need to upgrade their secondary, and this is the guy that I believe can do it for them at this spot in the third round. 

Remember, Williams is a proven cover corner who accounted for the fourth-best coverage snaps played per catch allowed ratio (24.0 snaps played/catch) among outside CBs in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus. 

So, there's a high likelihood that Williams would have a positive impact immediately on Detroit's beleaguered group of defensive backs. 

And, as I've said already, this would be as close as possible to a "home-run" pick for the organization at No. 72 overall.   

Third round, No. 88 overall (acquired from the L.A. Rams): Ohio State LB Baron Browning 

It wouldn't be completely optimal for the Lions to wait until the third round to address a position group as anemic as their linebackers group. 

However, if they decided to do so, they could do a lot worse than Browning with this pick. 

The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder totaled 30 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles in seven games in Ohio State's COVID-abbreviated 2020 season. 

He brings to the table an extremely high motor, an ample amount of explosiveness both downfield and laterally and a ton of positional versatility. 

He, in fact, has the capability of lining up at all three linebacker spots: middle, strong-side and weak-side linebacker. 

He'd be a great value pick for Holmes & Co. at No. 88 overall.

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