Lions Mock Draft 1.0: Broder Takes a Chop at Pre-Agency


The scouting combine has wrapped, tags have been slapped, and many players have packed their bags. Now, with free agency just around the corner and the NFL on the brink of its annual reshuffle, it’s time to toss a hat into the ring with my first mock draft of the 2024 offseason. This edition features six quarterbacks off the board, a strong showing from the NFC North, and the Detroit Lions finding a sidekick for Aidan Hutchinson at pick 29. Behold…

Mock Draft 1.0: Pre-Agency 

Pick 1: Washington Commanders (via Chicago)

Selection: QB Caleb Williams, USC

  • The Commanders, under new ownership and a brand new coaching staff, trade up with the Bears to ensure they land their franchise quarterback in year one of the rebuild. Williams has generational expectations, paired with talent that assures sold out stadiums and immediate revenue increases. The fact that Williams wants to play in Washington is the cherry on top.  

Pick 2: Chicago Bears (via Washington)

Selection: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

  • The Bears stick with Justin Fields and select the most dangerous skill player in the draft, wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. out of Ohio State. A Harrison Jr. – D.J. Moore – Cole Kmet receiving trio could be dangerous if Fields continues to develop as a passer.

Pick 3: New York Giants (via New England)

Selection: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

It seems as though the Giants are ready to move on from QB Daniel Jones. While they may be tempted to take JJ McCarthy and thrust him into action, Drake Maye is the more NFL-ready quarterback at this point in time. 

Pick 4: Arizona Cardinals

Selection: DI Byron Murphy II, Texas

The Cardinals could use a little bit of everything. Identifying a run-stuffing animal and drafting the top interior defensive lineman in the draft is the move for a team in an NFC West division that includes Christian McCaffrey, Kyren Williams, and Kenneth Walker III. If the Cardinals dangled the fourth overall pick as trade bait they could likely still land Murphy a few picks later. But to ensure you get your guy theres no need to mess around, pick Murphy and get a WR at 27.

Pick 5: Los Angeles Chargers

Selection: LT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

It will be a surprise to no one if Jim Harbaugh selects an offensive lineman with his first pick as head coach of the Chargers. Well, here’s your left tackle for the next 10-12 years and immediate protection Justin Herbert.

Pick 6: New England Patriots (via New York Giants)

Selection: QB JJ McCarthy, Michigan

New head coach Jerod Mayo wants to get New England back to its winning ways. Selecting the third-winningest quarterback in NCAA history almost seems like an obvious first step. Mayo and new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt can decide whether to sit him behind Mac Jones for a year to learn and compete, or thrust him into a starting role from day 1. Yeah yeah yeah, the Tom Brady and Michigan comparisons…that too.

Pick 7: Tennessee Titans

Selection: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

If not for Maserati Marv’s last name, we may be talking about Odunze as the best receiver in the 2024 NFL draft. Brian Callahan and the Titans walk away with a steal for 2nd-year quarterback Will Levis.

Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons

Selection: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

The Dirty Birds finished last in the NFL in pass rush win rate in 2023 (30.9%) so this is an easy decision for Raheem Morris at pick 8. Run the pick in. 

Pick 9: Chicago Bears

Selection: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

The Bears have invested heavily in free agency to address their defense, yet the worst nightmare for NFC North foes might be Justin Fields with a good offensive line. With that in mind, GM Ryan Poles chooses violence and selects the nastiest, most reliable interior offensive lineman in the draft. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jackson Powers-Johnson in the first round is an win(dy) for the city.

Pick 10: New York Jets

Selection: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

If there is one thing you can be certain of, its that their first round pick will be an offensive player. The last of the wide receiver trio at the top of most draft projections falls to 10 and the Jets waste no time snapping up another weapon for Aaron Rodgers. With a deep OL draft, the Jets choose to address protection with their next pick.

Pick 11: Minnesota Vikings

Selection: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

The Vikings went from legendary cornerback Antoine Winfield to Xavier Rhodes, but have been searching for their next nasty corner to stabalize their secondary. After back-to-back stellar performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, Quinyon Mitchell proved he may be that dude.

Pick 12: Denver Broncos

Selection: QB Bo Nix, Oregon

And at pick number 12, the Denver Broncos select: Drew Brees. Wait, no, that’s not Drew Brees. That’s Bo Nix out of Oregon. The experience, the decisiveness, and the accuracy pair well with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s scheme…and Sean Payton, Drew Brees’s former coach.

Pick 13: Las Vegas Raiders

Selection: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

We keep comparing new Raiders head Coach Antonio Pierce to Lions head coach Dan Campbell, so we might as well stay on that theme. Doesn’t Terrion Arnold feel as much like an “Antonio Pierce guy” as any in the draft? If you want to fortify a new culture in a locker room alongside Maxx Crosby, Terrion (my Wayward Son) Arnold is your answer. While the number 13 may be unlucky in Sin City, you can push all of your chips in on Terrion.

Pick 14: New Orleans Saints

Selection: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Despite his massive contract that complicates things, it’s clear quarterback Derek Carr isn’t the answer in NOLA. Cue Jayden Daniels, who the Saints staff had an up-close and personal perspective studying the Heisman Trophy winner who played at LSU. The upside may be too high to pass up on at 14. I’m sure Chris Olave approves of this message.

Pick 15: Indianapolis Colts

Selection: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

The Colts have needs at both safety and cornerback, and DeJean has the ability to thrive in either. His broken fibula may cause him to slide, but not past Indianapolis.

Pick 16: Seattle Seahawks

Selection: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

New head coach Mike McDonald wants to ensure the Seahawks’ defense is near the top of the NFL, and with Dallas Turner and Byron Murphy II off the board, the 6-4, 254 lb Jared Verse is the next best option. He can consistently win with speed or power, so you know McDonald will be moving him all over the defense.

Pick 17: Jacksonville Jaguars

Selection: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

The Jaguars become the beneficiaries of injury concern tied to Wiggins. With a newly tagged Josh Allen disrupting opposing quarterbacks, the new Jaguars secondary staff jumps at the opportunity to select the fastest cornerback in the draft.

Pick 18: Cincinnati Bengals

Selection: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Projected as a sure-fire top ten pick, the run on quarterbacks and lack of tight end needs forced a fall for Brock Bowers. Nothing the Bengals are disappointed in, I’m sure. While they certainly want to stabilize the offensive line to protect QB Joe Burrow, the next best option is the best tight end in the draft. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Brock Bowers is a trio to fear.

Pick 19: Los Angeles Rams

Selection: DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

Newton is the only defensive tackle in the draft that may sniff a conversation with Byron Murphy II. Fortunately for the Rams, they’ve sniffed out enough to know that their Aaron Donald predecessor will have come out of Illinois.

Pick 20: Pittsburgh Steelers

Selection: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

The potential of a secondary that features Kool-Aid McKinstry and a healthy Joey Porter Jr. is a terrifying thought for opposing wide receivers. The Steelers offense could use a lot of work, but they opt to solidify their secondary for the foreseeable future.

Pick 21: Miami Dolphins

Selection: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington

This may look crazy at first glance, but stick with me here. If the Dolphins have ANY concerns with Tua’s health and his future in the NFL, this is the most seamless transition. While Tua has intangibles that can’t be measured, this is their chance to draft almost an identical quarterback in left-handed Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. There are obvious concerns with the age and medical history of Penix, however, one could argue he’s a better deep ball passer and the Dolphins could continue to build the team with the luxury of a five-year rookie contract.

Pick 22: Philadelphia Eagles

Selection: CB Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

The Eagles need secondary help in a big way. Howie Roseman love Georgia football players. The Eagles draft Georgia CB Kamari Lassister. Happy Eagles.

Pick 23: Houston Texans

Selection: DL Darius Robinson, Missouri

Texans 2nd-year head coach Demeco Ryan’s dream comes in the form of pairing Missouri’s Darius Robinson with Will Anderson, Derek Stingley Jr., and co. Robinson is raw, but he’s big (6-5, 285 lbs), physical, and versatile. Most importantly, he clearly has the drive to become an elite football player and fits into what Ryans is building in Texas.

Pick 24: Dallas Cowboys

Selection: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Fuaga might be the most powerful blocker in a really strong Tackle class, but for whatever reason, he fell right into the hands of a team in need of a franchise left tackle. At pick 24, Fuaga gets served up on a silver platter to Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott.

Pick 25: Green Bay Packers

Selection: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

An experienced, polished pass protector who continues to improve in the run game is just what the doctor ordered for Packers QB Jordan Love and RB Aaron Jones. This may not be the sexiest pick for a team on the rise, but it’s certainly a smart one.

Pick 26: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Selection: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Medical concerns push Latu into the 20s, and the Bucs are more than happy to scoop him up. His pure pass rushing ability will fit well alongside Vita Vea and Calijah Kancey.

Pick 27: Arizona Cardinals

Selection: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

The Cardinals passing up on Odunze and Nabers in favor of Byron Murphy II at pick number 4 pays off for them when Brian Thomas Jr. slides to 27. They need players all over the roster, so there’s no shame in giving Kyler Murray another weapon.

Pick 28: Buffalo Bills

Selection: T/G Troy Fautanu, Washington

He could step in right now and start at Guard or Tackle for Josh Allen and the Bills. His measurables at the combine put any concerns to rest, and falling to 28 makes him a steal.

Pick 29: Detroit Lions

Selection: Chop Robinson, Penn State

Maybe THIS is the chance you take on a player with astronomical upside. Chop possesses explosive athleticism and would be joining a defensive unit that excels at stopping the run, featurs budding star Alim McNeill and budding superstar Aidan Hutchinson.

In the best-case scenario, Chop becomes your starting EDGE rusher from day one opposite Aidan Hutchinson. In the worst-case scenario, he ends up splitting snaps with James Houston. Not a bad floor, I’d say.  That scenario provides a solid foundation in year one for a player on a five-year contract who still has vast potential to develop. Moreover, if that potential is fully realized and he becomes a star, having him under contract for an extra year would be beneficial when layering Aidan Hutchinson’s anticipated contract extension.

Ideally, Chop is able to adapt to the NFL’s pace quicker than most rookies, having had the benefit of practicing against Olu Fashanu daily at Penn State. Given this mock draft’s scenario, he will face Fashanu twice a year as NFC North rivals, adding an intriguing layer to the emerging rivalry.

Pick 30: Baltimore Ravens

Selection: DB Mike Sainristil, Michigan

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will not take any chances in allowing Sainristil to wear any other jersey next season. The versatile defensive back will find a way to be a productive NFL player from day 1, and John would jump to add that to his team. It’s either now or never, as he’s certain his brother Jim would let him fall past the Chargers next pick at 37.

Pick 31: San Francisco 49ers

Selection: C Zach Frazier, West Virginia

The four-time state champion wrestler in high school checks a lot of boxes for what the 49ers are seeking in a long-term solution at center. He is the perfect size for a center and his toughness oozes out of his pores. Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey get a Christmas present in April with this selection.

Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs

Selection: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Ladd McConkey is absolutely everything that Patrick Mahomes could ask for. After a 2023 season that saw the Chiefs receiving group lead the league in dropped passes, the Chiefs add arguably the best route runner and the best hands in the draft. He’s a reliable, matchup nightmare with vastly underrated athleticism.

Remaining Lions Draft Picks:

  • Lions Pick 61: CB Khyree Jackson, Oregon
  • Lions Pick 72: DT T’Vondre Sweat, Texas
  • Lions Pick 92: G Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
  • Lions Pick 163: CB Dwight McGlothern, Arkansas
  • Lions Pick 207: TE Tip Reiman, Illinois
  • Lions Pick 247: RB Dylan Laube, New Hampshire

By picking Chop Robinson, the Lions have thrown us a curveball that might seem off-brand for Brad Holmes but is undeniably exciting. This move feels more like a declaration of ambition. Choosing Robinson sends a clear message: Brad Holmes has his sights set on a Super Bowl.


For more from our Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK