A trade down in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft would give the Detroit Lions an amazing haul, which is exactly what we accomplished in this mock draft. A grand total of 13 overall selections, including eight of the top-100 players in the draft, sets the Lions up to make a huge leap forward in 2020.
Right out of the gate, this mock draft sees the Lions trade their No. 3 overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for the No. 9 overall pick, the 20th overall pick, along with Jacksonville’s second- and third-round picks (42nd and 73rd overall).
Then, as the Lions were set to make their original second-round selection (No. 35 overall), they traded down with the Chicago Bears, landing the 43rd and 50th overall selections.
These two moves strengthened the Lions’ haul in a major way, as you’re about to find out. Without further ado, here’s a look at our Detroit Lions seven-round mock draft.
Round 1, 9th pick: Isaiah Simmons, linebacker, Clemson
Note: Trade with Jaguars
When the Jaguars called and offered the farm to move up to No. 3, it was a deal we had to take. Then, to see Isaiah Simmons still sitting there when it was time to pick — simply put, it was the best possible outcome.
Simmons is the top linebacker and top safety in this year’s class. He’s a speed demon who can do it all for any defense. He’ll immediately become a dynamo for the Lions.
Round 1, 20th pick: Xavier McKinney, safety, Alabama
To have Simmons fall right into our lap and then see Xavier McKinney here at No. 20 was a dream come true. The Lions dumped star Glover Quin last year and didn’t have success trying to replace him. Landing the Alabama product gives Detroit two impact defensive starters right off the bat in this mock draft. McKinney is smart, fast and plays with excellent instincts.
Round 2, 42nd pick: Bryce Hall, cornerback, Virginia
Replacing Darius Slay is going to be a darn-near impossible task. He has been one of the NFL’s premier cover corners for the past half-decade, after all. That being said, Bryce Hall has a chance to come in and become an instant starter for the Lions in 2020. A tough, lanky cornerback who excels in man coverage, he’s got the potential to develop into a star.
Round 2, 43rd pick: Isaiah Wilson, offensive tackle, Georgia
Note: Trade with Bears
There is no doubt the Lions need to upgrade their offensive line. Rick Wagner wasn’t the answer, and he was released. Detroit overpaid for Halpoulivaati Vaitai, but there’s a good chance he’ll play guard. With a need at offensive tackle, this was an easy pick. Isaiah Wilson is a bit of a project, but he’s done an exceptional job of learning the game quickly (just two years of college football experience) and has the potential to become an elite right tackle.
Round 2, 50th pick: Antoine Winfield Jr., defensive back, Minnesota
It would not shock me whatsoever if Antoine Winfield Jr. sneaks into the first round come April 23. To have him fall right into Detroit’s lap here midway through the second round was stunning. This guy is a ball hawk who can play any defensive back position with skill. He’s going to become a leader early in his career, too, and is an absolute steal here.
Round 3, 67th pick: Cesar Ruiz, center, Michigan
The Lions have a rock-solid center in Frank Ragnow. However, the two guard spots are patchwork right now, at best. Though Cesar Ruiz played center at Michigan, he’s going to be absolutely fine moving to either guard spot. A bully in the run game, Ruiz is just what the doctor ordered for the Lions, and he’ll be a pass-protecting upgrade for Matthew Stafford, too.
Round 3, 73rd pick: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, LSU
My eyes lit up when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was still available here. The prospect of pairing him with Kerryon Johnson is tantalizing, and if the Lions were able to feature these two young backs they’d have one of the most dangerous duos in the NFL. A dynamic runner who explodes through the line, Edwards-Helaire’s best trait is that he is an exceptional receiver. He’d be an instant-impact player as a rookie.
Round 3, 85th pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones, wide receiver, Michigan
The Lions don’t “need” another receiver, per se. They have two very good starters in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, and slot specialist Danny Amendola is still very effective. This pick would be more about the upside. Donovan Peoples-Jones was one of the most coveted prospects in the nation coming out of high school but Michigan’s offense never gave him many chances. He’s still an exceptional athlete, and if he did pan out it would be a huge win for the Lions.
Round 4, 109th pick: Tyler Biadasz, center, Wisconsin
Yet another player the Lions don’t technically “need” to draft, Tyler Biadasz is a huge value pick here in the fourth round. One of the best centers in the nation during his days at Wisconsin, he’s a road grader in the run game. Biadasz would provide more competition for the interior line positions this year, and in the years to come, and he has a chance to develop into a high-end starter at the NFL level.
Round 5, 149th pick: Thaddeus Moss, tight end, LSU
With Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson already locked and loaded as the top-two tight ends, the Lions could go another direction here. However, while Thaddeus Moss isn’t the explosive athlete his Hall of Fame father was, he is an exceptional run blocker who could quickly develop into a rock-solid role player. And as we saw last season at LSU, he can also make some tough catches in the red zone, too.
Round 5, 166th pick: Leki Fotu, defensive tackle, Utah
A player who was talked about as a potential Day 2 pick until he received a medical red flag at the Senior Bowl, Leki Fotu is worth the risk here in Round 5. Though Fotu isn’t much of a penetrating pass rusher, he’s an absolute monster against the run. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound defensive tackle would be a tremendous rotational player for the Lions if his health holds up.
Round 6, 182nd pick: Malcolm Roach, defensive lineman, Texas
The biggest challenge Malcolm Roach faces as an NFL prospect is that he’s a weird tweener whose 6-foot-2, nearly 300-pound body may limit his effectiveness. A project for any team, Roach has the ability to penetrate but lacks consistency and isn’t an elite athlete. With an abundance of picks in this year’s draft, the Lions can afford to roll the dice.
Round 7, 235th pick: Steven Montez, quarterback, Colorado
During his tenure at Colorado, Steven Montez did some wild things under center. He’s a really good athlete who can make big plays on the ground, and some of the throws he made for the Buffaloes were spectacular. Chances are, Montez will never be more than a practice-squad player at the NFL level. But he could still be highly valuable because he could mimic some of the NFL’s most athletic quarterbacks.