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MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Final predictions

The NFL Draft is almost here, and we finally get some answers to all the guess work and mock draft predictions.

The Lions currently have two picks in the first round (No. 6 & No. 18) and nine picks total entering the draft. Here's a look at some of the final mock draft predictions heading into Thursday night's first round:

Daniel Jeremiah,

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Witherspoon doesn't have ideal size (5-foot-11 1/2, 181 pounds), but his game is very similar to that of Denzel Ward, who, like Witherspoon, played his college football in the Big Ten. Detroit has some difference-makers on the defensive front and has made some nice additions to the secondary this offseason, but Witherspoon's instincts and ball skills would fit beautifully in the back end.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: Lions GM Brad Holmes spent a lot of time around Aaron Donald during his previous stop as the Rams' director of college scouting. Kancey isn't on Donald's level -- nobody is -- but his explosive quickness would beautifully complement Detroit's young edge rushers to give the Lions a fearsome pass-rush group.

Charles Davis,

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Character concerns aside, the raw talent is undeniable. And the culture that the Lions have built in a short time under GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell makes Detroit a perfect landing spot for the former Bulldog.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (No. 18)

Why: I have to believe the best running back in this year's class will be considered multiple times in the first half of Round 1. He makes it to the Lions at No. 18 here, giving the Motor City two of the top five overall prospects on my colleague Daniel Jeremiah's big board.

Lance Zierlein,

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: The Lions have added cornerbacks via free agency to help bolster their ailing unit, but they still need a top dog. Witherspoon's ballhawking could make him a coveted selection here.

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (No. 18)

Why: After grabbing the top ballhawk in the draft sixth overall, the Lions switch to the other side of the ball for this pick, adding a solid "Y" tight end with the ability to make tough catches and bolster the running game.

Bucky Brooks,

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: The spectacular cover corner is a man-to-man coverage specialist with the skills to flourish in defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn's system.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: The Lions have assembled a collection of high-energy defenders on the frontline with non-stop motors and polished pass-rushing skills. Adding Kancey, a relentless interior rusher, to the mix would enable Aaron Glenn to overwhelm opponents with pressure.

Peter Schrager,

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Elite player whose off-field/character questions could be a red flag for some teams. Carter met with Detroit on Monday. The thought of this defensive tackle joining last year's No. 2 overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson, is quite intriguing -- two blue-chip talents on one defensive line.

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (No. 18)

Why: The Lions loaded up on DB talent in free agency, but they could still be in the market for a top corner prospect if they pass on Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon at No. 6. Porter can hang with both of those other cats and could still be on the board when Detroit comes back on the clock at No. 18. Tough mentality - a real Aaron Glenn/Dan Campbell type of guy.

Rhett Lewis,

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Carter's off-the-field troubles send him falling into the Lions' lap and under the workmanlike tutelage of head coach Dan Campbell, who might have just the right temperament to maximize Carter's supreme talent.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah (No. 18)

Why: Detroit's roster has seen major improvements under GM Brad Holmes. Consequently, the Lions are in a good spot here to take the best player remaining on their board. For me, that'd be Kincaid, who is the top tight end in a stellar positional crop. Kincaid gives Jared Goff a big, physical target to pair with young receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams.

Maurice Jones-Drew,

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: While the off-field concerns will need to be weighed, the Lions decide to shore up their interior D-line with the most dominant player in the draft.

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State (No. 18)

Why: Another blue-chip player lands in the Lions' lap. Porter is a long cover corner who should provide immediate help on the back end of a revamped defense.

Eric Edholm,

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (No. 6)

Why: The Lions could continue adding at cornerback even after making moves to upgrade the secondary in free agency.

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (No. 18)

Why: The trade of T.J. Hockenson left a pretty big hole at the position. Head coach Dan Campbell should love the chance to draft a Jason Witten-style replacement in Mayer, and I think GM Brad Holmes will love the fact that Mayer is still only 21 years old.

Cynthia Frelund,

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 6)

Why: Overall, Kancey is my 18th highest-rated prospect … and this is slot No. 6. … Are you picking up what I'm putting down, Detroit? Maybe see if you can add an extra pick or two in a later round and still get this guy, Motor City Kitties.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah (No. 18)

Why: The Lions have a strong O-line (forecasts to be in the top echelon) already, so Kincaid's value is really about his pass-catching prowess. He was highly productive last year (70 catches for 890 yards), showcasing real ability after the catch.

Chad Reuter,

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Trading Jeff Okudah to Atlanta opens a spot for Witherspoon in a revamped Lions secondary in 2023. His competitive fire has to be appreciated by head coach Dan Campbell.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: After passing on Jalen Carter at No. 6, the Lions find a difference-maker on the defensive line at this spot. The comparisons between Kancey and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald -- both former Pitt stars -- seem unfair, but I think Kancey has the juice to at least be a very good starter in the league.

Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon (No. 48)

Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State (No. 55)

Aidan O'Connell, QB, Purdue (No. 81)

Jerrod Clark, DT, Coastal Carolina (No. 152)

Asim Richards, T, North Carolina (No. 159)

Matt Landers, WR, Arkansas (No. 183)

Tiyon Evans, RB, Louisville (No. 194)

Matt Miller, ESPN

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Witherspoon, a feisty cover man who plays an aggressive style, is a perfect Dan Campbell pick.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: At 6-1 and 281 pounds, Kancey doesn't have prototypical defensive tackle size, but his speed off the snap is rare. He posted a staggering 4.67-second run in the 40-yard dash with a 1.64-second split.

Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa (No. 48)

Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn (No. 55)

Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State (No. 81)

Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State (No. 152)

Chase Brown, RB, Illinois (No. 159)

Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty (No. 183)

Joey Fisher, T, Shepard (No. 194)

View photos from offseason workouts on Monday, April 24, 2023.

Mel Kiper Jr. & Todd McShay, ESPN

Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (No. 6)

Why: I was hoping Jalen Carter would fall here, but Wilson is a really good fit with the Lions, who had well-documented defensive issues last season. Pair him with Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston and that edge rush could cause problems for opponents.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: OK, I like this. We're building one heck of a defensive line in Detroit after landing Tyree Wilson earlier. Sure, Kancey is undersized (6-foot-1, 281 pounds), but he is explosive and can make an impact as a run-stuffer and as an interior pass-rusher.

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama (No. 48)

Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas (No. 55)

Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan (No. 81)

Peter King, NBC Sports

Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (No. 6)

Why: Well now. How about the Lions getting the top edge-rush prospects (on many boards) in two successive drafts – Aidan Hutchinson and Anderson?

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland (No. 18)

Why: After jettisoning Jeff Okudah to Atlanta pre-draft, the rising Banks is a strong candidate here.

Kyle Dvorchak, NBC Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: The Lions made efforts to bolster their cornerback room in free agency, but none of their additions were costly enough to dissuade GM Brad Holmes from adding a blue-chip prospect at the position.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: The Lions can double down on improving their defense with their two first-round picks given how much talent they have on offense. I ultimately see them splitting their selections between corner and defensive line.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Jalen Carter was arguably the best defender on a '21 Georgia defense that had five first-round picks, but off-field issues will determine when he hears his name called. The Lions have stability on the coaching staff and in the front office, and if they can keep Carter focused on football he could end up being the most dominant player in this class.

Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State (No. 18)

Why: Brents is 6-foot-3, ran a 4.53 40 at the combine and had among the best 3-cone and short-shuttle times too. He's long, fast, physical and plays with an edge and the Lions come out of the first round bolstering two of the three levels on defense.

View photos of the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (No. 6)

Why: Gonzalez is a lengthy, sudden, fast outside corner who'll add more talent to an upstart Lions secondary.

Brian Branch, S, Alabama (No. 18)

Why: The Lions love what they have up front on defense. It's more secondary reinforcement with Branch. Together, he and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson would be a stellar, versatile combination.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Detroit lands arguably the best defensive prospect available at No. 6 overall. Jalen Carter has generated his share of discussion off the field but has the potential to be a dominant player at the next level.

Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa (No. 18)

Why: Detroit doubles down on the defensive line with its first two selections.

Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida (No. 3 after trade w/ Arizona)

Why: Jared Goff is serviceable, solid even, for a team on the rise in a NFC that has a bunch of unknowns after the Eagles. But getting Anthony Richardson for the long-term is too good to pass up, even though it costs some draft capital to move up three spots.

Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson (No. 18)

Why: Dan Campbell and company take Bryan Bresee believing the No. 1 high school recruit can reach his potential in Detroit.

Will Brinson, CBS Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: The Lions grab a Dan Campbell-style cornerback in the hard-hitting and aggressive Witherspoon to boost the back end of the secondary.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (No. 18)

Why: Witherspoon and Bijan -- especially this late -- is a dreamscape for the Lions. I don't think Robinson falls this far, but I do love the idea of Lions fans waking up after the draft feeling hope and optimism and daring to dream.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: The Lions need a dominant inside player. Carter can be that. He does have some off-field issues that cloud his draft status, but the Lions seem to have a great culture to help with that. He is a game-wrecker.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah (No. 18)

Why: They need to get some help at the position, even though they have some younger players they like. This is a pass-catcher they can't pass up. The Lions could also consider adding defensive help or a receiver here as well.

View photos of NFL prospect Jalen Carter.

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Witherspoon possesses fantastic field vision, anticipating throws and jumping passing lanes by reading a quarterback's movements. He is extremely agile in coverage downfield with plenty of speed to keep up on vertical routes. Witherspoon plays with an attitude and plenty of energy as a willing, physical tackler, not something that can be said of all cornerbacks.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey has plenty of measurables similar to Aaron Donald, the Pitt alum whose NFL Combine 40-yard dash record for defensive tackles was broken by Kancey. Kancey isn't Donald, no one in the NFL today is, but his skill set could help take the Lions' pass rush to another level.

Heath Cummings, CBS Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: The Lions make Witherspoon the first defensive back drafted and continue to rebuild a secondary that allowed the third most yards through the air in 2022. Witherspoon was PFF's highest graded corner in 2022 and allowed the fewest yards per attempt (3.0) as a primary defender.

Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (No. 18)

Why: The Lions added a defensive back earlier in Round 1, now they add Murphy to rush the passer alongside Aidan Hutchison.

R.J. White, CBS Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Witherspoon remains the odds-on favorite to go No. 6 at DraftKings and FanDuel but a +130 value at Caesars, where Jalen Carter and Christian Gonzalez are next up at +450.

Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (No. 18)

Why: Murphy is slightly juiced to go Over 18.5 at -130, but the other prospects in play for this draft slot play cornerback, and Detroit took Devon Witherspoon at No. 6.

Bryant McFadden, CBS Sports

Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (No. 6)

Why: This might be the easiest pick ever for the Lions.

Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State (No. 21 after trade w/ Chargers)

Why: Forbes is the best ball-hawking DB in the draft, with 18 interceptions and six pick-sixes in the three years at Mississippi State.

Sam Monson & Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: Witherspoon may not have an elite physical skill set for the position, but his senior year tape was as good as we've seen in our nine years of college grading.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: He may have to start off as a designated pass-rusher, but he can truly excel in that role. There's little doubt he's going to impact QBs at the next level.

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama (No. 48)

Nathaniel Dell, WR, Houston (No. 55)

View photos of the top tight end prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jason McIntyre, FOX Sports

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: I had the Lions getting Witherspoon at 18 in the last mock draft, but multiple reports indicate he won't be there when Detroit's second first-round pick is up, and the Lions are enamored with his toughness.

Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (No. 18)

Why: The Lions smashed the draft last year, and getting two top-20 picks is a huge win. This feels like a luxury selection, and I wouldn't rule out a tight end after trading away T.J. Hockenson.

Pat Leonard, NY Daily News

Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (No. 6)

Why: Dan Campbell's defense surrendered the most yards in the league last season. This could be a corner, too. But GM Brad Holmes can't pass on Anderson if he's still on the board.

Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU (No. 18)

Why: The Lions just cut WR Quintez Cephus due to a season-long gambling suspension and lost 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams for six games.

Nate Davis, USA Today

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: A defense that ranked dead last in 2022 and just dumped disappointing CB Jeff Okudah seems like a perfect home for a tough-as-nails defensive back like Witherspoon, who's not afraid to stick his nose in the backfield when he's not disrupting opposing passing attacks – the All-Big Ten performer breaking up 23 passes over the past two seasons.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 18)

Why: When you think undersized Pitt interior D-linemen who live behind the line of scrimmage ... OK, OK, let's not saddle Kancey with the Aaron Donald comparison. But let's celebrate the 6-1, 281-pounder who dropped a 4.67-second 40 at the combine after posting 14½ sacks and 27½ TFLs for the Panthers over the past two years combined.

SBNation Staff

Jalen Carter , DT, Georgia (No. 6)

Why: Carter was viewed as a consensus top-five pick in the draft before character concerns started popping up in the wake of his reckless driving charge. It's hard to know how much stock to put into those off-field red flags without speaking to him, but I'll just go by the tape, which shows the type of dominant force on the interior defensive line that doesn't come around every year.

Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia (No. 18)

Why: Detroit knows how it wants to play: getting after opponents with a ferocious pass rush. Smith gives Dan Campbell another weapon to unleash: while he's a bit undersized, Smith has elite speed and agility to put pressure on the QB.

Steve Serby, NY Post

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 6)

Why: GM Brad Holmes gets coach Dan Campbell a feisty replacement and perfect culture fit for defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to replace Jeff Okudah.

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (No. 18)

Why: Head coach Dan Campbell played the position and lands the most complete TE to make up for trading T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (No. 6)

Why: Gonzalez's size-speed-ballhawk combination is hard to ignore to flip a group into a complete strength.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (No. 18)

Why: The Lions can put their offense over the top with a dominant, explosive three-down workhorse, turning D'Andre Swift into a dynamic change of pace and newcomer David Montgomery to a straight-up relief backup. Robinson would thrive and put up huge numbers behind their offensive line feeding off a dangerous passing game, of which he also would be a part with his receiving skills.

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