Apr 23, 2024 - Sports

Lions NFL Draft preview: Prospects to watch

Edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland of Western Michigan during practice for the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland of Western Michigan during practice for the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Photo: Michael Wade/Getty

Lions fans will have to wait until pick 29 to react to Detroit's first-round selection Thursday.

Why it matters: The NFC North champions can add key pieces this week to a loaded roster that expects to compete for a Super Bowl.

The intrigue: The Lions are a top trade-up candidate, the Free Press reports. "They are right on the cusp of being a championship team, so if there's a time to be aggressive this would be it," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said in a conference call last week.

  • Detroit is without a fourth-round pick but has an extra sixth-round pick from Tampa Bay.

What we're watching: Key positional needs include a cornerback, an edge rusher opposite Aidan Hutchinson and bolstering the aging but effective offensive line, which general manager Brad Holmes said in an end-of-season press conference would be a focus in the offseason.

  • A wide receiver in a draft filled with good ones might be a smart move, according to The Athletic.

Players who could fit nicely into the Lions' long-term plan:

Edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan: The Bronco could take over Kalamazoo games and add depth to the defensive line. He may still be available into the second round Friday.

Wide receiver Keon Coleman, Florida State: The 6-foot-3 standout is a red-zone threat with solid hands and a firm build. He's also a return specialist who became the first FSU player to earn three first-team all-conference honors in one season.

Cornerbacks Terrion Arnold (Alabama) and Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) are two highly touted prospects who Holmes may have to trade up for in the first round.

Offensive lineman Zach Frazier, West Virginia a former state wrestling champion whom The Athletic's Dane Brugler writes "is a Brad Holmes/Dan Campbell prospect if there ever was one, with the West Virginia product oozing bulldog characteristics."

  • The team has one of the best offensive lines in the league, but Taylor Decker and Kevin Zeitler will be free agents next year while Frank Ragnow, who has dealt with injuries, isn't getting any younger.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found

Detroitpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more