NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, one of the more respected draft analysts and talent evaluators in NFL circles, released his Mock Draft 2.0 this week and took part in a national conference call on Friday.
At No. 6 overall, Jeremiah mocked Clemson edge rusher Myles Murphy to the Lions.
"Aidan Hutchinson was a home run pick last year, and fellow rookie James Houston was very productive in limited playing time," Jeremiah wrote. "Murphy would give the Lions three outstanding young edge rushers."
Talking about the edge rushers specifically on Friday, Jeremiah said Murphy is his third best edge rusher in the class behind Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. and Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson. Jeremiah said Wilson, Murphy and Iowa's Lukas Van Ness could all be in play for the Lions at No. 6.
View photos of the defensive line prospects who were invited to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.
"For me, Tyree Wilson (is the best of that group) by a significant margin," he said. "There's a lot of buzz around him around the league. The league has him and Anderson a lot closer than people might think. He's got freakish wingspan and burst."
Wilson (6-6, 275) had 14.0 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks in 10 games played this past season. Jeremiah actually has Wilson being drafted before Anderson at No. 3 to Arizona and then Anderson going No. 5 to Seattle.
"Myles Murphy (6-5, 275) is a tricky one because it's all in there, he has it all in his body, but he hasn't gotten it all figured out yet," Jeremiah said of Murphy's 6.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss this past season. "But between his combination of length and explosiveness I think there's more there. He's going to develop more as a rusher."
Van Ness is an interesting prospect because he has all the physical tools and recorded 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks this past year even though he was never a starter for the Hawkeyes.
"I'm going to end up moving him up in my next update of my Top 50. I think I have him at 22 right now," Jeremiah said of Van Ness. "It's curious when you're watching him because he doesn't start ... but I had a chance to do my homework on that. That's just the way their program runs. They are going to run with the older upperclassmen, the leaders that have been in those spots and they are going to roll those guys out there as starters even though everyone knows this was their best guy.
"But he's got big-time, big-time explosiveness and power. Kind of a bull in a China shop. Again, someone who is just figuring it out, but when you watch him against the best tackles he played against he got after them."
With Detroit's second pick in the first round, No. 18 overall, Jeremiah has the Lions addressing the other side of the ball with Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
"The Lions have the perfect situation for Richardson as he enters the league," Jeremiah wrote. "He can sit behind Jared Goff for at least a year and then provide the rewards that come from building a team around a quarterback playing on his rookie contract."
Jeremiah said Friday afternoon he now doesn't believe Richardson will make it to pick No. 18 after talking with some teams this week. He said some teams have Richardson as the No. 2 quarterback on their board and thinks he'll hear his name before pick No. 18.
Jeremiah also touched on a number of other topics related to the 2023 NFL Draft, as follows:
- As far as the top position groups in this year's draft class, Jeremiah mentioned cornerback, edge rusher, tight end and running back. Jeremiah said it's the best tight end group he's seen in 10 years. He has 11 tight ends with a grade in the top three rounds. The Lions could certainly be interested in adding one at some point.
- The No. 1 and No. 2 best players in this draft, according to Jeremiah, are Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Anderson. Jeremiah said he has a better grade on Carter coming out than he did on Jets Pro Bowler Quinnen Williams a few years ago.
- It's not as good a draft at wide receiver that we've seen in previous years, according to Jeremiah.
- Jeremiah loves Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who he mocked going to Philadelphia at No. 10. He said he reminds him of Asante Samuel, who recorded 51 career interceptions and was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro.
- There isn't a can't-miss quarterback in this class like an Andrew Luck, Joe Burrow or Trevor Lawrence from past years, but Jeremiah thinks there are five quarterbacks who can be franchise guys, led by Alabama's Bryce Young. The other four Jeremiah mentioned are C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), Will Levis (Kentucky), Richardson (Florida) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee).
- Any Michigan fans out there? Jeremiah has third-round grades on center Olusegun Oluwatimi, linebacker Mike Morris and tight end Luke Schoonmaker. He has a second-round grade on cornerback DJ Turner, and thinks defensive tackle Mazi Smith is the best prospect of the bunch and one of his Top 50 players in the draft.
- Jeremiah said Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed is a third-round prospect and can be a really good No. 3 receiver in the NFL with the potential to be a No. 2 guy.
- Jeremiah said Texas' Bijan Robinson is the best running back prospect to come out in a few years and is one of the best players in this draft.