Detroit Lions 3-Round Mock Draft: Beefing Up the Linebacking Corps

Check out who the Detroit Lions select in this three-round 2021 NFL mock draft.
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Pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and pull up a seat to check out the latest three-round mock draft at SI All Lions

Remember, Detroit general manager Brad Holmes has four picks at his disposal through the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Without further ado, here is my third Lions-specific, three-round mock draft.  

First round, No. 7 overall: Penn State LB Micah Parsons

It's back to Parsons for me at No. 7. After going with Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for a week, I felt the need to reverse course and take Parsons in this spot, after other pundits -- i.e. NFL.com's Daniel Jermiah -- recently joined me aboard the Lions-Parsons train. 

From all accounts, the Penn State product is the most highly coveted prospect among the Detroit fanbase. 

And draft experts seemingly unanimously agree that he'll be a high-impact player at the next level, capable of making stops against the run and getting to the quarterback. 

It's why he'd arguably be a "home-run" selection for the Lions with this pick. 

Second round, No. 41 overall: Louisville WR Tutu Atwell 

With Waddle no longer being my first-round selection, I'm taking a wide receiver here. 

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Atwell is my pick. 

He's coming off an impressive three-year career at Louisville, during which he set the school record for receiving yards (1,292) as a sophomore. He also produced 10 100-yard receiving games in his time with the Cardinals. 

With that being said, his biggest selling point is his speed. Reportedly, he's recorded an official 40-yard dash time of 4.27 seconds.

As a result, he brings to the table the ability to beat defenses deep and to be a dynamic vertical threat -- which sure could come in handy if Detroit loses deep threats Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. to free agency. 

Losing both Golladay and Jones -- which could very well happen -- would leave the team's receivers room devoid of high-end playmakers. And it would make the speedster Atwell a great pick at No. 41 overall.

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Third round, No. 72 overall: Pittsburgh EDGE rusher Patrick Jones II

A round later than my last mock, but the Lions still upgrade their pass-rushing unit and grab Pittsburgh's Patrick Jones II to do so. 

The pass-rushing combination of Parsons and the 6-foot-5, 264-pound Jones could prove to be lethal for years to come. And, in the immediate future, the duo could help aid a defense that -- outside of impending free agent Romeo Okwara -- was unable to get after the quarterback with much consistency in 2020. 

Jones would be a huge get for Detroit with this pick. 

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

The Lions continue to beef up their linebacking corps at No. 88 overall by selecting Browning.  

While the organization could certainly also use this pick to upgrade its secondary, let's say that Holmes & Co. address the deficiency at defensive back with a signing or two in free agency. 

Remember, the Lions are also banking on the fact that cornerback Jeff Okudah, their first-round pick in 2020, will take a step forward in his second season in the league. And, Aubrey Pleasant, the team's new defensive backs coach, has been brought in to help Okudah take that next step. 

Also, let's say the organization's front-office brass decides not to re-sign either Jarrad Davis or Reggie Ragland -- a very likely possibility. That would leave the Lions with an even bigger void at the linebacker position, and Holmes & Co. could very well look to move veteran linebacker Jamie Collins this offseason, as well. 

All of this brings me back to Browning. 

While taking two linebackers wouldn't be the most optimal for the Lions with their first four picks, the team's higher-ups shouldn't be hugely concerned with taking multiple players at the same position in this year's draft.  

Holmes should be much more worried about getting the best player available with each pick. 

Browning, meanwhile, offers great positional versatility, which allows him to suit up at middle, strong-side and weak-side linebacker. So, once pick No. 88 rolls around, the best player left on the board quite possibly could be him. 

If I were the Lions, even with Parsons already on board, I'd be taking Browning at this spot in the draft.

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