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MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Experts divided on Lions' pick as draft nears

The calendar has flipped over to April and that means the NFL Draft in Detroit is fast approaching.

Who are the popular picks for the Lions in the most recent round of mock drafts? Let's find out:

Lance Zierlein, Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

Why: DeJean is a unique addition for the Lions, possessing the size, speed and toughness to compete for a starting spot as either a cornerback or a safety.

Bucky Brooks, Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Why: The Lions need to find a complementary pass rusher to play opposite Aidan Hutchinson. Robinson is a freak athlete with exceptional first-step quickness.

Eric Edholm, Trading out of the first round with Carolina. Carolina selects Texas WR Xavier Worthy at No. 29

Why: If the Panthers are willing to fork over a fourth-rounder (which Detroit currently lacks) to move up from early in Round 2, they could snag the draft's best speedball in this range.

View photos of NFL prospect Chop Robinson.

Charles Davis, Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Why: Fiske has enjoyed one of the best offseasons of any prospect in this year's draft and he fits exactly what Detroit values in a player.

Chad Reuter, Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri (No. 29)

Why: Robinson displayed his versatility in Missouri's scheme last year, often standing up at 285 pounds. The Lions would likely use him in a similar fashion across from Aidan Hutchinson.

Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami (No. 61)

Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State (No. 73)

Field Yates, ESPN: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (No. 29)

Why: DeJean would join former Iowa teammate (and 2023 first-rounder) Jack Campbell in Detroit and provide a boost to the Lions' secondary. He's springy with exceptional man coverage skills and on-ball production (seven INTs over the past two years).

Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, Washington (No. 61)

Why: The Lions could certainly consider an edge defender at this point, but the draft's overall depth at that position is not great. Receiver feels like a potential hole opposite Amon-Ra St. Brown, especially after Josh Reynolds signed with Denver. Polk isn't a burner (4.53 in the 40 at the combine), but he has an excellent catch radius and is tough. He finished 2023 with 1,159 receiving yards.

Matt Miller, ESPN: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State (No. 29)

Why: Robinson has electric speed (4.48 in the 40) and first-step quickness, getting on offensive tackles right off the snap. His production in college was limited -- just four sacks last season -- but this is a bet on his burst and potential. I like his skill set opposite Aidan Hutchinson.

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon (No. 61)

Why: One persistent rumor this offseason: The Lions are doing work on the receiver class. Franklin is a speedster with vertical route expertise, and he would play perfectly opposite Amon-Ra St. Brown and alongside fellow sprinter Jameson Williams. The 6-2, 176-pounder ran a 4.41 at the combine, and that speed shows up on tape when he's running past defenders.

Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State (No. 73)

Why: Hicks is versatile and a big-time hitter when coming downhill. He is a Kyle Dugger-style strong safety at 211 pounds, making 160 tackles over the past two seasons.

Sataoa Laumea, G, Utah (No. 164)

Jowon Briggs, DT, Cincinnati (No. 205)

Jalen Coker, WR, Holy Cross (No. 249)

View photos of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Why: Latu has great get-off speed and fundamentals. He had 23.5 sacks in his two seasons with UCLA, and the biggest question about him at this point will be medical-related. Latu suffered a neck injury at Washington that forced him to medically retire in 2020 before transferring and returning to the field two years later. But the skill and production are absolutely there.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Why: McKinstry is a pro-ready perimeter cornerback from Alabama. The Lions like prospects from marquee programs with serious production. McKinstry checks those boxes.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

Why: Darius Robinson quietly had a dominant season for the Tigers, and followed that up with a not-so-quiet Senior Bowl week, where he showed he can play both as an edge rusher or kick inside. I don't care that he ran a 4.95-second 40-yard dash at the combine; he's 6-foot-5, 285 pounds with 34.5-inch arms and a 35-inch vertical.

Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Why: The Lions could stand to improve the back end of their defense, which they do here with Kool-Aid McKinstry.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Why: Detroit is loaded with talent and depth along its defensive line after adding defensive tackle DJ Reader and now Robinson to go along with Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill and Josh Paschal.

Pete Prisco, CBSSports: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

Why: They signed Marcus Davenport in free agency to a one-year deal, but they need more help. Darius Robinson could be a major steal in this spot playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson.

Arjun Menon, Pro Football Focus: T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State

Why: In a man-heavy scheme like Detroit's, Tampa's physicality and ability to force incompletions are a good fit.

Jason McIntyre, Fox Sports: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Why: They grabbed Carlton Davis in free agency, but his play over the last two seasons has been down a bit from when they won the Super Bowl.

View photos of the top cornerback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Rob Rang, Fox Sports: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Why: Rakestraw won't earn first-round grades from every NFL team, but he plays with the degree of physicality that head coach Dan Campbell requires.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Why: The Lions added some defensive line help for Aidan Hutchinson in free agency, including former Saints pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Robinson can be more of a regular with his array of moves as his nickname would suggest.

Tyler Forness, Sporting News: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Why: The Lions' biggest issue is generating a pass rush outside of Aidan Hutchinson. That gets solved here as they luck out on a falling Verse. A speed-to-power rusher, Verse has the strength and athleticism to thrive in Aaron Glenn's defense.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Why: The Lions' pass defense was horrendous last season. DeJean provides a boost as a corner who can play man-to-man and is a ballhawk in zone coverage. He also provides return ability on special teams.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

Why: With a game much more advanced than what one would find from any of his peers, Latu boasts a skill set and consistency that should help him win over Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell if he slides.

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