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MOCK DRAFT WATCH: How free agency affects predictions for Lions

The first wave of free agency is complete and there's a lot of teams around the NFL who feel like they've improved considerably, Detroit included.

Free agency has a way of changing draft needs pretty significantly and we always see mock drafts start to refigure around this time. In regards to the Lions, the pickups they made in free agency have allowed GM Brad Holmes a ton of flexibility in the draft.

Who are the popular picks for the Lions in the most recent round of mock drafts following the start of free agency and the new league year? Let's find out:

Daniel Jeremiah, Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Why: This was a tough call for me, deciding between McKinstry and Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson. The Lions end up going with the talented outside cornerback to pair with his former Alabama teammate, slot corner Brian Branch.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

Why: Legette is rising in my rankings after he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash and tested well in the other drills at the combine. While I will quibble with South Carolina for listing him at 6-foot-3 when he's actually 6-foot-1, I won't hold that against him. He had a fantastic 2023 season, with 1,255 receiving yards while averaging 17.7 yards per catch.

Ben Solak, The Ringer: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Why: The Lions have two great pass catchers in Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta, but both are relatively undersized for their respective positions. They need to get bigger, and Coleman is big. With a big catch radius and tons of toughness in the middle of the field, he will win on Jared Goff's favorite route – the dig – over and over again, like he did at Florida State.

Connor Rogers, NBC Sports: Zach Frazier, IOL, West Virginia

Why: The Lions have a great center in Frank Ragnow, but Frazier can slide right into guard after the departure of Jonah Jackson. The four-time state champion wrestler has great grip strength to move defenders off the ball in the run game.

Kyle Dvorchak, NBC Sports: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Why: The Lions are a relatively complete team as evidenced by them being a drive or two away from making the Super Bowl. They could use extra help in the secondary and the signing of Carlton Davis will allow them to develop Lassiter as the team's CB2 in his rookie season.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Why: It's no surprise Chop flashed at the combine and his pro day, and while he had just four sacks last season for Penn State, he's incredibly disruptive coming off the edge. In Detroit, he'll make life easier for Aidan Hutchinson and a much-improved Lions' defense.

Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Why: Like Troy Fautanu, Graham Barton was a college tackle who's expected to move inside in the NFL. The Lions could certainly use him there after Jonah Jackson signed with the Rams.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Why: Detroit acquired Carlton Davis and brought back Emmanuel Moseley but Nate Wiggins gives that room depth. Cornerback becomes a position of strength. Wiggins is still developing so having veterans around him can buy time.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

Why: Robinson is half edge rusher, half defensive tackle and also the exact type of physical specimen the Lions likely want and certainly need up front on defense.

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Why: Chop Robinson is explosive. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash while standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 254 pounds. Detroit couldn't find a pass-rush complement to Hutchinson last season, so it gets a dynamic athlete at that spot here.

Diante Lee, The Athletic: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Why: McKinstry doesn't have eye-popping measurables or speed scores, but the SEC decided he wasn't worth throwing at in 2023, because of how smooth and sticky he is in coverage.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

Why: The native of Southfield, Michigan said at the NFL scouting combine it would be a "dream come true" to be taken by his hometown team. With the Lions adding Marcus Davenport opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Robinson could begin his career as part of a pass-rush rotation and hone his considerable physical tools at a moderate pace.

Trevor Sikkema, Pro Football Focus: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Why: After losing Jonah Jackson in free agency, the Lions could need a starter along their interior offensive line. Morgan played tackle at Arizona, but his best position in the league is likely at guard. Most importantly for this pairing, he's a tough player who came back from a torn ACL very quickly to get back on the field and compete last season.

Dalton Wasserman, Pro Football Focus: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Why: Nobody throws in routes better than Jared Goff. And nobody in this draft class runs in routes better than Adonai Mitchell. While it isn't quite that simple, Mitchell would bring a size-speed element that the Lions don't currently possess.

Matt Rooney, Bleacher Nation: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Why: While the defense flashed at times, ultimately, that side of the ball let the Lions down in the worst way against San Francisco. When they needed stops in the NFC Championship game, they just couldn't come up with them. Ennis Rakestraw Jr and his physical style feel like a perfect fit for an aggressive Detroit team that really needs to boost their secondary.

Fox Sports, Staff: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Why: The Lions are going to add defensive backs until the cows come home. It just so happened that Rakestraw was the best player available, which Brad Holmes has a habit of taking, regardless of need.

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