T.J. Watt is reportedly rising up boards, and he is the sort of prospect Bob Quinn has drafted thus far. I've had him here for a while, but with Taco Charlton being available, I've decided to go with him instead. Both would make a ton of sense. The Lions need help all over their defense, including at defensive end. A dynamic pass-rusher is needed across from Ziggy Ansah, who, by the way, will be an impending free agent after this year.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. T.J. Watt, DE - As mentioned, Watt is a strong option as well.
2. David Njoku, TE - Njoku fits what the Lions look for in a prospect, and he'd replace the disappointing Eric Ebron.
Pick change; previously T.J. Watt, DE
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
I nearly mocked Haason Reddick to the Lions at No. 21. The team has a major hole at linebacker, and that was even the case before DeAndre Levy was released. Raekwon McMillan fits the profile of a player Bob Quinn looks for.
Rd. 3, Pk. 21
Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
The Lions don't have anything beyond Eric Ebron at tight end, which is a problem because Ebron has been a disappointment as a first-round pick. Here's a potential solution.
Rd. 4, Pk. 20
Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
The Lions will be looking for another receiver at some point to replace Anquan Boldin.
Rd. 5, Pk. 21
Brian Allen, CB, Utah
The Lions could be looking for a No. 2 cornerback for the future, as Nevin Lawson's contract will expire after this season.
Rd. 6, Pk. 21
Elijah Lee, OLB/ILB, Kansas State
The Lions are likely to double up on linebackers, as they had a need at the position even before they let go of DeAndre Levy.
Rd. 6, Pk. 31
Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP
Ameer Abdullah can't stay healthy, so the Lions are expected to take a running back at some point.
Rd. 7, Pk. 32
Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern
The Lions bookend their draft class with defensive ends, as they attempt to fix their pedestrian pass rush.
The Lions need to improve their linebacking talent and add an edge rusher to pair with Ziggy Ansah. Watt could play linebacker on run downs and rush off the edge in passing situations. Thus, he would help Detroit's defense in two spots.
Watt was one of the breakout players of the 2016 season. He is good at setting the edge in run defense and also is a terror in the pass rush off the edge. Watt recorded 63 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2016. The 6-foot-4, 252-pounder could be even better as he gains experience. Watt isn't the fastest or most explosive edge defender, but he is tough with advanced technique and a great motor.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
The Lions could use multiple linebacker upgrades from this draft class.
In 2016, McMillan was solid for Ohio State with 102 tackles, seven for a loss, two sacks, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder played well in 2015, totaling 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year. As a freshman in 2014, he played a lot for Ohio State and totaled 54 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pick-six.
McMillan is a tough defender who has the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. Right now, however, he struggles in pass coverage and needs to improve his ability to drop into coverage. McMillan is a physical, tough run defender at the point of attack.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
The Lions could use more tight end talent, and Shaheen is a physical freak. He could pair with Eric Ebron and maybe replace him as the feature tight end in Detroit.
Sources say that Shaheen (6-6, 278) is a freak athlete who could be one of the mid-round steals in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was a workout warrior, as expected, but team sources say that his tape showed serious receiving ability for the next level. Even though Shaheen is tall and thick, he has freaky speed and athleticism for such a big tight end. Teams think that Shaheen could be a versatile tight end to create mismatches in the passing game.
Shaheen caught 57 passes for 867 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2016. The previous season, he had 70 receptions for 803 yards and 10 touchdowns. Some team sources even compared Shaheen to Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin
Ameer Abdullah has been a disappointment thus far for the Lions. Even if he turns it on in Year 3, Detroit could use a power runner to pair with him.
Clement averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2016 for 1,375 yards with 15 touchdowns. He had 12 receptions for 132 yards as well. Clement (5-10, 221) had a respectable showing at the Senior Bowl as he was a physical downhill runner.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska
The Lions could use some more safety depth as both of their starters will be free agents after the 2018 season.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Zach Pascal, WR, Old Dominion
The Lions could use some receiver depth, and Pascal could be a steal.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jeremiah Valoaga, DE/TE, UNLV
The Lions grab a late-round sleeper they've shown interest in.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Grover Stewart, DT, Albany State
The Lions add more defensive tackle talent with a player they hosted.
2016 First Round Pick: Taylor Decker, Ohio State (16)
2016 Offense Rankings: Total (21) Pass (11) Rush (30)
2016 Defense Rankings: Total (18) Pass (19) Rush (18)
2017 Projected Salary Cap Space: $30,999,899
(1) Levy ($6 M)
(2) Ngata ($5.8 M)
(3) Pettigrew ($4.35 M)
GM: Bob Quinn
Head Coach: Jim Caldwell
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bob Cooter
Defensive Coordinator: Teryl Austin
Offensive Scheme: Erhardt-Perkins
Defensive Scheme: 4-3
Needs: (1) 43DT, (2) CB, (3) 43OLB, (4) 43DE, (5) RT
LEO: (1) Ansah (2) Copeland
NT: (1) Robinson (2) Walker
DT: (1) Ngata (2) Thornton
DE: (1) Charlton (2) Hyder
NFL.com Grade: 6.58 ESPN Grade: 87
NFL Comparison: Chandler Jones
Measurables: H: 6'6 W: 272 40: 4.84
Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton continually improved during his Michigan career. The first-team All-Ohio selection "crossed the border" from Pickerington, a Columbus suburb, to play for the Wolverines (along with tight end Jake Butt). He played mostly on special teams as a true freshman (two tackles), then saw his playing time increase in 2014 (19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, one start). Though Charlton started just three games as a junior, he was a strong contributor on passing downs (30 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks). Everything came together for him in 2016, garnering first-team All-Big Ten honors after leading Michigan with 9.5 sacks among his 13 tackles for loss.
"Inconsistent" has been the buzzword that has followed Charlton since coming to Michigan, but he began the process of shaking it during his senior season. Charlton is an ascending prospect with the size, length, athleticism and pass-rushing potential that NFL general managers dream of. What you see today might not be what you get. While his production coming out of college will be modest, he could become a substantially better player as a pro if he's committed to the weight room and willing to absorb coaching. High-impact defensive end with all-pro potential is his ceiling. His floor is solid starter.
Charlton was having a strong season, then took his game to a new level down the stretch, grading as our No. 4 edge defender from Week 9 through the end of the season. He was strong against the run and disruptive as a pass-rusher, picking up eight sacks, 10 hits and 32 hurries on only 251 rushes, and his two-year production is among the best in the nation.
His head coach at Vanderbilt, Derek Mason, is certainly a fan. "If you can find a better defensive player in the SEC or in college football, show him to me," Mason said at the mid-point of the 2016 season. "Richard Sherman was one of the smartest players I've ever coached," Mason said. "I think Zach falls into that realm of guys who can take it from the class to the grass and put it in game situations and be big."
Cunningham recorded 295 career tackles (39.5 for losses), seven forced fumbles and six sacks during three seasons with the Commodores. Vanderbilt has produced only two first-round draft picks in the past 30 years -- with Jay Cutler (Denver Broncos) and offensive tackle Chris Williams (Chicago Bears, 2008). With the range and playmaking ability to star against today's up-tempo offenses, expect Cunningham to add to the Commodores' total in 2017.
Lions could use a third corner to go with Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson. <br> <br>
I've surveyed sources at teams, and they believe that Reddick will go somewhere in the late first to early second round. I personally don't think he should go in Round 1 because he has a grand total of three practices and an exhibition game at his NFL position. I also agree with some scouting sources who believe it is a lot easier to transition by moving closer to the line of scrimmage rather than backing off of it. Still, Reddick has a great skill set and my mocks are a projection of what I think teams will do rather than what they should do. <br> <br>
Reddick (6-1, 237) was an edge rusher in college who has to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. He showed that he can make that switch at the Senior Bowl as he flew around the field and was constantly around the ball. Still, sources with teams say that Reddick is a real project for the NFL and will take time to develop at linebacker considering he has no game experience there. In 2016, Reddick totaled 65 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up. He was an excellent edge rusher, yet there were times where he got destroyed in the ground game.
Missouri is well-known for it's defensive pedigree and the quality of players it produces on a yearly basis. This year is no different with Charles Harris, who is a picture perfect fit into Detroit's defensive scheme. Able to play the edge as well as move back and play coverage across the middle, Harris is a raw but rambunctious and an eager player that can assuredly follow in the footsteps of his predecessors from Mizzou. If Harris can step in early to help Ziggy Ansah in pass rushing situations and Detroit is able retain their high caliber offense, they can officially put the rest of the NFC North on notice.
NEEDS: LB, RB, DT
PROSPECT GRADE 80.88
Truth be told I have absolutely no idea who Detroit will mock here, and found this the hardest pick to make. I think they need a runner but they haven’t traded up for Cook or Fournette. McKinley is very long and was very productive at College level, this seems a good enough fit, although someone on Twitter suggested Taco Charlton is available here, and fits the Detroit profile when it comes to a Defensive End. Still, the Lions have a greater need at OLB which is where I see McKinley slotting in.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Takkarist McKinley Going to Lions
Rd. 1, Pk. 21
Jarrad Davis, ILB/OLB
Over Reuben Foster? Hmm... Jarrad Davis saw his stock rise late in the process once teams realized that he had top-five intangibles, so he projects to be a great team leader for the Lions. He also fills a huge need here, as the Lions lost DeAndre Levy this offseason. Detroit still has many defensive holes to fill, but selecting Davis is a nice start. That said, the Lions could regret not taking Foster down the road.
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
Teez Tabor, CB
Remember when Jalen Tabor was a first-round pick? I certainly remember, but he killed his once-fantastic draft stock with off-the-field issues and a horribly slow 40 time in the pre-draft process. It's not a surprise he dropped this far, and I thought he could fall even further. I think there's some value with Tabor, but I'm not crazy about this pick. It makes sense, though.
Rd. 3, Pk. 32
Kenny Golladay, WR
The bad picks are beginning to come in! This isn't quite a Millen grade - although it is Detroit taking a receiver - but it's still pretty discouraging to see something like this. Kenny Golladay has nice hands and won't drop many passes as a result, but he struggles to run routes, which is very important. Golladay is raw and may not be ready to contribute for quite some time, making this a dubious selection.
Rd. 4, Pk. 17
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB/ILB
I'm shocked the Lions selected a player with a poor 3-cone time. Jalen Reeves-Maybin barely played last year because of a shoulder injury, so I expected him to go later on Day 3. This seems like a reach, though not an egregious one. Reeves-Maybin seems like a career special-teamer.
Rd. 4, Pk. 20
Michael Roberts, TE
Michael Roberts was very productive at Toledo this past season, but doesn't have much experience beyond that. He's also a poor blocker, and he didn't test well at the combine. Roberts makes sense here in the fourth round, however, as he could emerge as a reliable pass-catcher for Matthew Stafford.
Rd. 5, Pk. 21
Jamal Agnew, CB
I had Jamal Agnew as a UDFA, so I'm not a fan of this pick. I won't give any team a Millen at this juncture, but it's close. Agnew is not a very good athlete, and he's only 5-9, so he could really struggle to make the roster.
Rd. 6, Pk. 21
Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT
I didn't have Jeremiah Ledbetter getting drafted, but I easily could have, as Ledbetter is a long-armed defensive end with solid athleticism. He didn't have the greatest production at Arkansas, but he has potential.
Rd. 6, Pk. 31
Brad Kaaya, QB
Brad Kaaya would be the top quarterback prospect in this class if he could play seven-on-sevens with a clean pocket the whole time. Unfortunately for Kaaya, that's not realistic. He has zero pocket awareness, so he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be a viable quarterback in the NFL. He does have the potential though, so I like the Lions picking him with the idea of trading him if they can develop him.
Rd. 7, Pk. 32
Pat O'Connor, DE
I didn't have Pat O'Connor on my board, so I'm not a big fan of this pick. I don't hate it though, as O'Connor has great leadership skills and could contribute on special teams.