Pro Football Focus has a new first round mock draft, and it lays out what looks like an ideal scenario for the Detroit Lions.
As the last winless team left in the NFL this season, the Detroit Lions would have the No. 1 pick in the next draft if it started tomorrow. Of course the 2022 draft won’t take place until April, but the Lions are on track for a top-five pick anyway.
As a result of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams last offseason, the Lions also have Los Angeles’ first-round pick in April. If things remain on track for the Rams, that pick will be late in the first round. But extra first-round picks are never a bad thing, and the Lions need to have as many lottery tickets as possible in the midst of a rebuild.
Various sites roll out mock drafts regardless of the time of year. For Lions’ fans, those mock drafts offer something else to focus as the team goes through a dismal-looking season.
PFF’s new first round mock looks like ideal scenario for the Lions
On Wednesday morning, Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus released a new 2022 first round mock. The Lions have the No. 1 and No. 28 picks, with projected draft order based on record and projected strength of remaining schedule as a tiebreaker. With Sikkema’s analysis to follow, let me play commissioner….
With the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select…..
1. Detroit Lions: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Thibodeaux has been turning heads since his true freshman season, and he’s been at his best in his first draft-eligible year. He’s missed some time due to injury, but his 91.6 pass-rush grade is top-10 in the country. With no quarterback in the first overall pick conversation this year, most signs point to Thibodeaux being the first player taken.
With no quarterback looking anywhere near worthy of the first overall pick next spring, and few even getting first-round grades/projections right now, the Lions go for the top pass rusher in the 2022 class. Thibodeaux is in line to be the first overall pick, and the Lions easily oblige with a pick that looks like a no-brainer.
With the 28th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select….
28. Detroit Lions (via LAR): QB Sam Howell, North Carolina
Howell came into this season with top-five potential, but we always knew it was going to be tough for him. He lost his top two wide receivers in Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown, plus his top two running backs in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter to the 2021 draft. With this situation, we were wondering how much Howell could elevate the rest of the new cast. He has played fine but hasn’t exactly elevated them to a level where we’re thinking he can consistently do that in the NFL. His 72.2 passing grade is much lower than the 91.5 grade he earned last year. It’s not over for Howell by any means — it’s just not as easy as some hoped it would be to pencil him into the top 10.
The idea Howell would be a top-five pick, and perhaps go first overall in April, went down in flames with a three-interception outing in the Tar Heels’ season-opening loss to Virginia Tech. He has played better since then, with multiple passing touchdowns in six straight games and a total of three interceptions in 179 pass attempts. He could still elevate his stock into the top-10 overall, but the Lions would be happy to get their quarterback of the future in the late first round.
Getting the best defensive player in the draft and a young quarterback with their first-round selections in April would be an ideal scenario for the Lions. The question is if they’ll deem any quarterback worthy of that second first-rounder, wherever it ultimately sits.