On the clock: NFL Draft Pick No. 18: Detroit Lions – Drew Sanders, Linebacker, Arkansas
Mock Draft 1.0 – Drew Sanders, Linebacker, Arkansas
The Lions have build up a good roster that’ll compete for the playoffs in 2023, but they need some help at linebacker. Here the Lions have their choice of Jack Campbell from Iowa, Trenton Simpson from Clemson or Drew Sanders from Arkansas.
It’s tough to pick between Campbell, Simpson and Sanders, but the nod goes to the latter here due to his pass-rushing ability. He had 9.5 sacks for the Razorbacks this season and could be one of those elite off-ball linebackers that can contribute in the pass-rushing area too.
Sanders can play as the MIKE linebacker and move to the defensive line on passing downs to add some versatility also.
Sanders can stand to get stronger for the NFL, however, to tackle NFL-caliber offensive lines. He’s not weak, but he isn’t as strong a run defender as he should be and can struggle to shed blocks. For this reason, he might be better off rotating in on passing downs and spending some time in the weight room in his rookie year.
If the team that drafts him has the patience, however, Sanders can develop into a true three-down linebacker and pass-rushing specialist for the NFL.