2021 NFL mock draft: Detroit Lions select IOL Landon Dickerson in round 2

The first 40 picks in the POD Community Mock Draft have been made and the Detroit Lions are back on track.

After the selection WR Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) on the first roundI showed fans the top 6 best players on my draft board and asked them to vote on which player readers would pick if they were in my shoes.

Here are the results of the vote (note: I made my selections before the vote):

  • Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky – 50 percent of the vote
  • Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama – 16 percent
  • Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana – 14 percent
  • Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida – 9 percent
  • Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington – 5 percent
  • Other players suggested by POD commentators – 4 percent
  • Joe Tryon, DE, Washington – 2 percent

Narrow the field

As I started with these six decisions, I quickly narrowed them down to three based on talent, short-term and long-term needs, and a position value. I came to the same conclusion as the voters, the obvious top choices were Davis, Dickerson and Johnson. Let’s see how all three fit into these categories.

Davis is one of the most talented linebackers in the class and his ability to win in coverage would fit right inside the inside linebacker (currently Alex Anzalone) and has the skills to become a MIKE (Jamie Collins ) to develop . In the short term, Davis would likely disappear from the bank and have the opportunity to take on a sizable number of snapshots later in the year. In the long term, he has the chance to get a starting role in 2022, if not earlier.

Dickerson is the second best indoor offensive lineman in the class, has a ranking for me in the first round and would be an instant starter at the right guard. His presence would give the Lions a Mauler inside and propel Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the right direction in a fight with Tyrell Crosby, which in theory would improve both points. As an instant starter, it has both short-term and long-term value.

Johnson is exactly what the secondary Lions are looking for as he can play deep in a split zone and man pass catchers in the slot. With only Will Harris and Dean Marlowe beating for a starting role, he’d be the front runner to line up against Tracy Walker. Like Dickerson, he fulfills a great need in the short and long term.

From a position value perspective, it’s important to look back at how Brad Holmes and the LA Rams rated each position during his eight years as director of college scouting.

I totally understand the fans’ infatuation with Davis – it’s been ages since the Lions had an all-around linebacker – but the Lions only use two off-the-ball linebackers, and one of them is a part-time starter. It’s just not that much of a priority in this scheme. In the eight years Holmes was in LA, the Rams only drafted an off-the-ball linebacker seven times, and six of them were picked with selection number 147 or later. The anomaly was Alec Ogletree in 2013 under a different front office and coaching scheme.

Conversely, the Rams drafted 15 offensive linemen in the same period, eight of which were taken between selection # 2 and selection # 119 in total. They took eight players to safety, and five of them switched between picks # 61 and # 110.

If Holmes stays true to form, Dickerson and Johnson generally have a higher positional value than Davis.

When it came to separating Dickerson from Johnson, the deciding factor was the individual ranking. Dickerson has a late first place for me while Johnson has an early second place. While security is the Lions’ greater immediate need, they are at a point where they need to select the best player available, and that meant choosing Dickerson.

Now it is your turn to hand out a grade for these selections and leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from the 16 percent of you who think it was the right move.


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