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MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Post free agency

The calendar has flipped to April, which means the NFL Draft is right around the corner.

Mock drafts have been in full swing for months now, but with the heavy lifting of free agency now complete, we have a better grasp of needs for all 32 teams heading into the draft.

When it comes to the Lions, the 17 mock drafts here overwhelmingly have Detroit selecting a pass rusher at No. 21. A defensive end was the pick in nine of these mock drafts, with Michigan's Taco Charlton being the most popular pick (4).

Daniel Jeremiah,

David Njoku, TE, Miami

Why: There's been a lot of chatter around the league about the Lions' desire to add an impact tight end to their offense. GM Bob Quinn (formerly of the Patriots) knows the benefit of having two athletic tight ends.

Chad Reuter,

Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State

Why: Willis' combine showed the type of explosiveness the Lions need across from Ziggy Ansah.

Charley Casserly,

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Why: The Lions get a bookend pass rusher opposite Ziggy Ansah.

Lance Zierlein,

John Ross, WR, Washington

Why: Let's get fast, Detroit. Let's get really, really fast and add a dynamic deep threat with scary run-and-catch potential underneath. The Lions can look for another pass rusher later.

Bucky Brooks,

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: Charlton is a solid edge defender with a rock-solid game at the point of attack.

Mel Kiper Jr.,

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Why: Expect a defender for the Lions here, and I'm sticking with Harris, who had 16 sacks for the Tigers over the past two seasons. He's another one of the versatile pass-rushers from this class with 3-4 and 4-3 ability.

Todd McShay,

Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

Why: I agree that the Lions need to draft another pass-rusher opposite of Ezekiel Ansah, but I have McKinley graded slightly higher than Harris. Takk plays with an incredible motor; he just never quits. And while his technique still needs work, you can't teach his speed off the edge (4.59 40).

Rob Rang,

Haasan Reddick, OLB, Temple

Why: The Lions addressed concerns along the offensive and defensive lines through free agency but lost speed at linebacker with the decision to release DeAndre Levy. Reddick recorded 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as an edge rusher for the Owls in 2016 before wowing first at the Senior Bowl as a more traditional linebacker and then at the Combine, recording a ridiculous 4.52 second time in the 40-yard dash and 11-foot-1-inch broad jump at 6-1, 234 pounds.

Dane Brugler,

T.J. Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin

Why: While an extension sounds likely for Ziggy Ansah, another pass rush weapon opposite him should be high on the wish list. Watt can put his hand on the ground and create pressure from the edge in Detroit's scheme.

Pete Prisco,

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Why: They have to amp up their pass rush and Harris would help do that. They didn't get a lot of pressure last season.

Will Brinson,

Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan

Why: Getting a local guy would go over really well, and this is probably lower than most people expect to see Peppers go. Teryl Austin can work some magic with the versatile player.

Jared Dubin,

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: We'll keep saying it every single week: When you sack the quarterback only 26 times in a season, it's safe to say you need help getting after the passer. Charlton kept making more plays in the backfield with each passing season in college.

Ryan Wilson,

Haasan Reddick, OLB, Temple

Why: Reddick is a former walk-on who showed up at Temple weighing 185 pounds. He blazed a 4.52 40 at the combine and that, coupled with a dominant 2016 season (9.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss), has NFL teams taking notice.

Chris Burke,

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: The Lions have made minor adjustments across the board on defense, but they're still counting on the draft to bring in upper-tier talent. In Charlton, they could land a developing pass rusher with tantalizing potential.

Nate Davis, USA Today

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Why: The Lions addressed their offensive line issues in free agency and could look to the draft to bolster the defensive side of the trenches. Charlton has huge upside and might be the kind of weapon who makes life difficult for Aaron Rodgers, always a prerequisite of any NFC North defense.

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Why: The Lions add the best receiving running back in the draft in McCaffrey who brings slot-receiver skills to the position while showing the patience and cutting ability to succeed as a pure running back as well. If the Lions tap into his versatility, he'll be a productive pro, just as he was at Stanford where he was the nation's No. 2 overall running back in 2015 at 94.5.

Vinnie Lyer, Sporting News

Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan

Why: The Lions can look up the road to Ann Arbor and see how the versatile Peppers can be used in their defensive scheme, too. While he waits his turn to take over full-time as a playmaking safety, he can be effective in sub-packages vs. the run and pass.

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