Nagy: Kool-Aid, Robinson, Fiske fit Lions at No. 29

Apr. 25—DETROIT — Not many people get to see more college prospects in person and on tape than Jim Nagy.

The Traverse City native and Senior Bowl executive director scouts hundreds of NFL prospects to fill the Senior Bowl rosters and put those players on full display for professional scouts, coaches and executives.

So he has a decent idea about which players the Detroit Lions could select with the 29th overall pick in Thursday's draft that Detroit hosts.

Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry, Missouri defensive end Marius Robinson and Florida State defensive tackle Braden Fiske are three fits for Lions needs who have a shot of being available when pick No. 29 gets announced, Nagy said.

The Lions have their lowest first pick since 1993 when they traded away their first-round selection for linebacker Pat Swilling.

McKinstry was flagged with a Lisfranc foot injury at the Senior Bowl and didn't get to participate, but he ran at Alabama's pro day and clocked a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, which was faster than many expected, especially given the injury.

"He projects to be a starting-level corner in the league and there's not a lot of holes there," Nagy said. "He's played good football, but a lot of football in Tuscaloosa for Nick Saban. You look at the pedigree of those guys around the league, defensive backs coming out of their program, they usually hit. You saw one up close in Detroit this year in Brian Branch."

Nagy said if the Lions want a defensive lineman who can figure into their rotation right away, pick No. 29 is where to get that guy.

"I wouldn't say it's real deep," Nagy said of the 2024 D-line class, "but where Detroit's picking at 29, they're going to be staring at a good football player."

Players he thought the Lions could get if they stay at 29 are Robinson from Missouri and Fiske from Florida State. Both also have Michigan connections.

Robinson in particular fits what Detroit usually looks for, with the bonus of being a Detroit native.

Fiske is another that fits the Lions. The Florida State defensive tackle played his first four years at Western Michigan and grew up just across the border in Michigan City, Indiana.

Nagy said Fiske called to personally thank him for the Senior Bowl invitation.

"He came to Mobile and he was almost unblockable," Nagy said. "Super quick off the ball. Really disruptive on the Florida State tape. He's one of those guys that might not show up on the stat sheet, but he just blows stuff up and lets other people clean up around him. ... He looked completely different than everybody else going through the position drills. He looked like a jumbo inside linebacker going through all the drills. He crushed here in Mobile."

Fiske came into the offseason pegged as a fourth- or fifth-round talent. His performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine moved him into the early second/late first-round area.

"It would be a lot of fun to see him and Aiden Hutchinson line up on the same line," Nagy said.

Nagy said seven Senior Bowl receivers were picked in the top 100 last year, and he thinks it's quite possible even more go in that range this year.

One he thinks is being slept on a bit, despite his name recognition and family pedigree, is wide receiver Luke McCaffrey, the younger brother of San Francisco star running back Christian McCaffrey and son of former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey.

"Great NFL bloodlines, but coming out of high school he was a quarterback," Nagy said. "He goes to Nebraska for three years and plays quarterback, transfers to Rice and plays quarterback a little bit there and then transitions to wide receiver and made a massive jump this year.

From 2022 to 2023 tape, he's extremely tough. All of the route running has gotten better. He's a really good athlete, as you would expect coming from that family."

Many rankings have the 6-foot-2 receiver with a 4.46 40 time going in the fourth round, right around the same time the son of former 49ers Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice is projected. Brenden Rice is a 6-2, 208-pound WR whose biggest negative is a 4.5 time in the 40.

In a deep receiver draft, the Lions could easily be swayed into taking one, especially if they move around and acquire middle-round extra picks.

If the Lions want line depth in the middle rounds, Illinois guard Isaiah Adams is a player he compared to Jonah Jackson, the Pro Bowl guard the Lions lost in free agency.

"He's the guy that reminded me the most of Jonah," Nagy said. "He played tackle this year at Illinois out of necessity, was kind of a selfless teammate. He did what he had to do, and it certainly wasn't the best thing for him because he is going to be a guard at the next level. But he's a guy that's going to come in and play right away."

Kansas guard Dominick Puni is another Nagy mentioned as a mid-round gem.

Puni and Duke's Graham Barton, a likely first-rounder, are the only draftees who could play all five line positions, Nagy said.

Wake Forest's Malik Mustafa and Oregon's Evan Williams are two safeties in the middle rounds who could help the Lions get their depth back at that position after losing C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Tracy Walker and Will Harris to free agency this offseason.

"He's a heat-seeking missle," Nagy said of Mustafa. "He's a really fun guy to watch. He sees it and triggers on it. Really explosive player. He would be a fun one."

Williams had several interceptions during the Senior Bowl week, Nagy said, and is an instinctual defensive back.

"Evan is a guy that a lot of teams are trying to keep quiet right now," Nagy said, "because they want to get them at a reasonable price."

Maryland's Beau Brade is another safety projected to be a day-three pick that Nagy feels can come in and be a team's third safety right away because of his ability to play both safety spots.

Nagy said he'll be in Detroit on Thursday morning and is appearing on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Friday morning before traveling to the University of Toledo to speak to the football team there and spending Saturday on Sirius/XM Radio helping with their coverage of rounds fourth through seven.

He said the Senior Bowl staff has 75-80 percent of next year's Power Five players already graded, looking ahead to next year's event, although there will be a lot more game tape to watch after next season.