While many draft pundits are enamored -- and rightfully so -- by what the Detroit Lions will do with their first-round selection (No. 7 overall) in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Lions face an equally important decision in the second round.
What Detroit general manager Brad Holmes does with the second-round pick (No. 41 overall) will ultimately be dictated by what the organization does at No. 7.
At this point, the Lions seem likely to go with a wide receiver in the first round -- whether it be LSU's Ja'Marr Chase or one of Alabama's star wideouts in DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle.
Now, let's turn our attention to three prospects Detroit should target at No. 41.
Tulsa LB Zaven Collins
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Collins possesses both the size and speed to effectively rush the passer and play in coverage.
Collins has the makeup of a three-down defender who can start at the next level right away and be able to play in multiple schemes.
In eight games in 2020, Collins recorded 54 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, a safety and a fumble recovery.
And, for his efforts, Collins was not only a first-team All-AAC selection, but he also captured first-team All-American honors and the Bronko Nagurski Award for the best defender in the nation.
In his time at Tulsa, he certainly proved enough to warrant the Lions taking him in the second round.
LSU LB Jabril Cox
The 6-foot-4, 231-pounder, who transferred to LSU from North Dakota State after graduating from NDSU in the spring of 2019, is known for being a tough, instinctive football player.
A three-down defender and a traditional 4-3 outside linebacker, Cox brings to the table a high degree of upside.
And, with the right amount of seasoning, he could become a starter sooner rather than later at the next level.
In his lone season at LSU, Cox racked up 58 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, a pick-six and five passes defensed.
Additionally, he was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, as the result of his strong play.
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The Draft Network's Joe Marino projects Cox to be a starting NFL linebacker.
As Marino writes,
"Cox is an outstanding coverage linebacker that thrives in space. He is terrific in both man and zone coverage, making him an ideal matchup linebacker that can handle tight ends, running backs, and some slot receivers. He has terrific range, mobility, and his motor always runs hot."
Sure, he only played one year of FBS football, which could be a cause for concern for some NFL scouts and general managers.
However, his hard-working nature and great ability in coverage would make him a fine addition to Detroit's linebackers room.
Texas EDGE/LB Joseph Ossai
The 6-foot-4, 243-pound Ossai is my top choice for the Lions' second-round selection at No. 41 overall. He possesses a high-end motor and the ability to play in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker and to put his hand in the dirt in a four-man defensive front.
In Ossai's final season at Texas (in 2020), he produced 54 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed in just nine games. He also amassed 90 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 2019.
The Longhorns product has the necessary skill set to effectively get after the quarterback and stop the run at the next level.
It's why I would love him for the Lions with their second-round pick.
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