The sorrow has to end at some point, right? But every few years, the Detroit Lions find themselves rebuilding from the ground up. It’s a tenuous, predictable cycle, but with any luck, it stops here. This Lions 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft attempts to bring a new age into motion.
There are a number of promising candidates to be the next Lions head coach. Southeast Michigan native Robert Saleh is a favorite, but the Lions also interviewed Eric Bieniemy, Darrell Bevell, and Marvin Lewis. They requested interviews from Dan Campbell and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as well.
The Lions need to get this head coaching hire right, but they also need to further supplement the roster with talent and make a crucial decision at quarterback as the team turns over a new leaf once again. With only five picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Detroit may want to make some moves to acquire more Day 3 picks. But in this Lions 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, they have the early ammunition to reset the franchise.
Lions Pre-Senior Bowl 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
- Round 1, Pick 7: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Round 2, Pick 41: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
- Round 3, Pick 72: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
- Round 4, Pick 102: Dayo Odeyingbo, DL, Vanderbilt
- Round 5, Pick 136: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
Lions 2021 NFL Mock Draft pick-by-pick analysis
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
It’s painful for Lions fans to accept a reality where Matthew Stafford’s career in Detroit is wasted, but the reality is trending that way. Despite consistent production from the underrated quarterback, the dysfunction around him has borne little fruit. Now, nearing 33 years old with a laundry list of injuries behind him, both Stafford and the Lions likely need a fresh start.
The Lions can offload Stafford a couple of ways, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about who might be his replacement. With the seventh pick, the Lions are in play for a quarterback. They might need to trade up, as the 2021 quarterback class is strong at the top. But they have better positioning than other needy teams, at least after the top two. This much is clear — if one of the top three quarterbacks is there, they have to pull the trigger.
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In this Lions 7-round Mock Draft, Ohio State QB Justin Fields fell to the 7th overall pick. Fields would be excellent value here, and he’s worth trading up for as well. Fields was somewhat volatile this year, and he can improve his decision-making under pressure. But Fields has elite athleticism, arm talent, and competitive toughness, and as we saw in the CFB semifinal, he has the ability to take over games. The present may be murky for the Lions, but with Fields, the future is bright.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Lions may end up overhauling their wide receiver group in the 2021 offseason. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, and Mohamed Sanu are all free agents. The Lions should only be interested in re-signing Golladay or Jones, and even then, they don’t have the space to sign both.
Without much draft capital or cap space, it’s looking like it’ll be a year in the bargain bin for the Lions, but they can use one of their early picks to get some established talent. They get one in this Lions 7-round NFL Mock Draft.
For a young quarterback like Fields, Rondale Moore is a solid addition, especially midway through the second round. Moore could be a first-round pick, but by the same notion, his injury concerns could drop him to Day 2. Lions fans have plenty of reason to be concerned about prospects with injury histories, but Moore’s talent is worth the risk. He’s an explosive, dynamic threat at every level of the field who can adjust quickly to Fields’ playmaking tendencies.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
The Lions defense needs help at every level, which is ironic, considering Patricia was brought in to fix the defense. It’s now clear that he did more harm than good. The unit was one of the worst in the league in 2020 and risks staying in the cellar if the Lions can’t add more talent or add a coach to properly develop that talent.
This pick doesn’t solve the coaching issue, but Jabril Cox can help provide versatility and playmaking ability on the second level. At 6-foot-4, 231, he’s a long, rangy linebacker with borderline elite athleticism and hustle. He made the leap from the FCS to the SEC in 2020 and looked like he belonged. With utility as a pass defender, run defender, and pass rusher, Cox can make plays early in Detroit.
Dayo Odeyingbo, DL, Vanderbilt
At this point in our 7-round Lions NFL Mock Draft, Detroit can go in several different directions. They could pivot back to offense and stack receivers, but there’s still a big need for help on the defensive line. The Lions were dead last in the NFL in pressure percentage in 2020. That lack of disruption trickles back to the second and third levels, and impedes the ability of linebackers and defensive backs to be successful.
One player in the fourth round isn’t going to solve that problem independently. Still, for a team that needs both interior and edge penetration, Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo is a near-perfect fit. Odeyingbo still has room for development, but he stands at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds. He’s a long, explosive, twitchy lineman who has the talent and motor to line up anywhere from the edge to the zero-technique. His versatility to pass rush from multiple positions can free up the Lions’ line, while also maximizing Odeyingbo’s ability to produce.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
Ideally, the Lions aren’t done here. They can make some deals in the offseason to get more Round 6 and Round 7 picks. But until then, this is their last pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thus, they need to lock down a player with upside, even if it’s a bit of a reach. Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu is an enticing add at this point.
Melifnowu is raw, but he’s big and physical, and he’s also an elite athlete at the cornerback position. In a young cornerback group that already includes 2020 NFL Draft first-round pick Jeffrey Okudah and high-upside starter Amani Oruwariye, Melifonwu has the athleticism to be position versatile with the proper development.
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