Mock Draft: Lions Take Alabama O-Lineman Third Overall

Jedrick Wills Jr.
Photo credit © Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

You probably know most of the names linked to the Lions with the third overall pick in this year's draft. 

Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah. Auburn DT Derrick Brown. Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy. Even Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
Here's one you probably haven't heard: Alabama OT Jedrick Wills Jr. That's the latest projection, courtesy of USA Today:

"Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia should open up phone lines to see if anyone wants to trade up to leapfrog the Dolphins and take Tua Tagovailoa. If no one bites, the Lions could address a number of positions, but let’s give Detroit a complement to tackle Taylor Decker. Wills can help Patricia with a run-first offense, while protecting Matthew Stafford, who was enjoying one of his best seasons before suffering an injury."

This would be a surprise, and probably a reach. Wills is widely considered the third-best offensive lineman in the draft, behind Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Georgia's Andrew Thomas. Surely, the Lions could trade down and still take him. 

But it would fit Quinn's predilection for a) O-lineman early in the draft and b) players from the SEC. He's spent two of his four first-round picks on O-linemen in Taylor Decker (2016) and Frank Ragnow (2018). And he's drafted nine players over the past three years from the best conference in football. 

It would also give the Lions a cheaper replacement (at least in the short term) for right tackle Rick Wagner, whose $47.5 million contract has a tempting out this offseason
Per Walter Football, "Wills was the starting right tackle for Alabama in 2019 and had an excellent season for the Crimson Tide. He has the strength to open holes in the ground game with the quickness and athleticism to block on the edge. Wills looks like a quick starter at right tackle in the NFL."