NFL Draft Betting: Will the Lions Draft Defense With Their First Pick in 2024?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
NFL Draft Betting: Will the Lions Draft Defense With Their First Pick in 2024?

The Detroit Lions had one of their best seasons in the Super Bowl era in 2023. Most importantly, the franchise snapped a 31-year drought without a playoff win. The Lions went on to stack two playoff wins -- the first time Detroit has done so since 1957.

Detroit fans are living in the limelight, potentially entering some of the best years in franchise history led by coach Dan Campbell. The Lions looked to upgrade the defensive line in free agency. Which other positions could Detroit upgrade in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft?

The Lions' first and most notable pick is the 29th selection in the first round. FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL Draft odds have lines available for which position Detroit will draft with their first pick. Let's look at the top options. What looks like the best bet?

NFL Draft Odds

2024 NFL Draft - Position of Detroit Lions First Drafted Player
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Defensive Lineman/Edge+290
Offensive Lineman+290
Wide Receiver+420
View Full Table

Cornerback (+135)

The Lions' top priority on defense could lay in the secondary. The run defense was solid in 2023, giving up 3.8 yards per rushing attempt (eighth-best). The pass defense was a completely different story at 7.4 yards allowed per pass attempt (third-worst).

Detroit also saw a pair of starters leave the secondary in the offseason. Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson re-joined the Philadelphia Eagles, and Cameron Sutton was cut due to off-field concerns. The safety room looks to be in good hands with Kerby Joseph and Brian Branch, but cornerback has a hole that likely needs to be filled.

The Lions traded for Carlton Davis and signed Amik Robertson. Standing at 5-foot-9, Robertson could fill the slot corner role. However, he primarily played on the outside last season and played some of the best ball of his career.

Branch played the nickel in 2023, but a safety spot is open following Gardner-Johnson's departure. The second-year defensive back could move to a more traditional safety role, opening up nickel.

Regardless of how Detroit decides to move their pieces in the secondary, the addition of a first-round talent would be a welcomed sight. The 29th selection is a good spot for targeting a corner, such as Kool-Aid McKinstry of Alabama or Cooper DeJean of Iowa.

Defensive Lineman/Edge (+290)

The addition of Aidan Hutchinson in the 2022 NFL Draft was much-needed. The former No. 2 pick has lived up to lofty expectations with 21 sacks through two seasons. However, the Lions still lack talent at the edge position.

Detroit finished in the bottom half of the league with 41.0 sacks and had the seventh-worst pass-rush win rate, per ESPN. The underwhelming pass rush could take just as much blame as the secondary for last season's poor pass defense.

Marcus Davenport was a solid signing in free agency, but he played in only four games last season and has recorded 2.5 sacks since 2022. The Lions could still clearly use the help.

Chop Robinson from Penn State is one popular prospect being mocked to Detroit. Garrett Podell of CBS Sports featured a mock draft with Robinson going to the Lions.

Offensive Lineman (+290)

When a team drafts this late in the first round, there are plenty of unpredictable factors. Detroit will likely take a best available approach with the 29th pick, making several positions possible.

Offensive line is yet another position that could be targeted. The Lions had one of the best blocking units in the league in 2023. Starting guard Jonah Jackson departed, signing with the Los Angeles Rams. As of now, right guard is filled by the 34-year-old guard Kevin Zeitler, who posted a solid 69.3 grade at Pro Football Focus (PFF) last season.

A versatile interior offensive lineman could make sense at 29. One notable option is Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon.

Wide Receiver (+420)

The offense could still use a reliable second target behind Amon-Ra St. Brown. Josh Reynolds left in the offseason and Jameson Williams has yet to develop into a mainstay (354 yards in 2023).

The 29th pick would be an intriguing spot to take a wideout. If a talented prospect like Brian Thomas Jr. of LSU slides, it'd be difficult for the Lions to pass.

Still, defense looks to be the clear target for Detroit in the 2024 NFL Draft. The question will likely be cornerback or edge rusher? The big picture: How can the Lions improve their pass defense?

Of course, the pick will depend on which players are available. Cornerback seems to be growing in popularity when it comes to mock drafts for Detroit. Several corners would be good value for the Lions' first pick while edge rusher could turn into slim pickings.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.