By Michael Downes
Round One: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
2016 Stats: 65 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Career Stats: 149 total tackles, 17.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
The loss of DeAndre Levy, the Lions linebacker for the last eight years, has left a huge hole in the depth chart that they will be looking to fill. With Alabama Linebacker Rueben Foster, the Lions number one target, already off the board, it will turn its attention to the the second best linebacker in the draft, Haason Reddick. The 6 foot 1, 237 pound linebacker is undersized, but has elite speed. His 4.52 40-yard dash is a testament to that and will allow him to cover from sideline to sideline. He fits perfectly into the Lions 4-3 defense. He has a knack for rushing the passer and an ornate ability to set the edge and stop the run. Reddick may not be the best player available when the Lions choose at 21, but he will be the best fit for the team.
Round Two: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
2016 Stats: 187 attempts, 1274 yards, 10 touchdowns
Career Stats: 300 attempts, 2027 yards, 17 touchdowns
Bob Quinn has a lot of interest in Joe Mixon. Quinn was upset that Mixon wasn’t attending the Scouting Combine and has stated that he’s “going to leave the door open for Joe.”
Mixon was involved in an assault case where he struck a woman at a bar. Despite the off the field problems, Mixon is a top running back prospect. He is incredibly dynamic, catching 65 passes for 894 yards and nine touchdowns in his two seasons at Oklahoma. With the Lions being one of the most pass dependent teams, passing on 60 percent of their plays, it is essential for Lions running backs to catch the ball. The Lions have plenty of running backs on the roster, but none of them are complete backs. Mixon will be able to step in and immediately be an every down back.
Round Three: Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
2016 Stats: 30 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss
Career Stats: 67 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss
The Lions defense will be a point of emphasis for this draft and drafting Carl Lawson in the third would be an absolute steal for them. The 6 foot 2, 261 pound Lawson, considered an edge going into the draft, fits great at defensive end. He will have to put on a little weight, but his ability to use his hands to shed blocks will allow him to get around offensive lineman. His presence on the edge will take some pressure off on Ziggy Ansah. The only downside to Lawson is the fact that he was a one year wonder and that can be worrisome. Combine that with his inability to stay on the field this will be a high risk, high reward pick.
Round Four: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
2016 Stats: 27 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 pass deflections
Career Stats: 135 total tackles, six interceptions, 37 pass deflections
Lewis’ draft stock took a hit after an alleged domestic violence case, but, much like Mixon, when he is on the field he is a beast. His combine numbers don’t jump off the screen at you, but, he shined in the drills. Lewis has great hips. His ability to stay low and change directions is a skill that can’t be taught. For being a corner, the 5 foot 10 Lewis has great hands and can make plays on the ball in traffic. His numbers took a dip last season, but that was largely because quarterbacks stopped throwing his way. Like the Mixon pick, this pick won’t go down without some controversy. However, the Lions are trying to get better and Lewis will greatly improve the team.