Lions 2022 NFL Draft: Defense first and foremost in recent mock

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions basically can’t go wrong however they use their two 2022 first-round picks, and a recent mock has them going defense all the way.

The Detroit Lions will have two first-round picks in April, one early (their own) and one lined up to be late (via the Matthew Stafford trade with the Rams). With needs up and down the roster, there really is no wrong way to go with those two Day 1 picks.

Ideally though, the Lions would come of the early rounds of the 2022 draft, if not the first round, with a quarterback. Shy of offensive line, running back and tight end, every other spot on the roster can use a talent infusion. Potential offseason trades of pricey veterans could add to general manager Brad Holmes’ 2022 draft capital.

Lions go defense in recent mock

Brentley Weissman of The Draft Network has a new first round mock draft out this week. At No. 1 overall, he’s got the Lions taking a familiar player.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

It’s rare we see prospects come into college with outrageous expectations and not only live up to them but surpass them. That’s what Oregon’s start edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has done. Thibodeaux has battled some injuries this year, but when he is healthy, there is no question that he is the best player in this class. Possessing outstanding burst and explosion off the edge with rare power and length to match, he causes a ton of issues for opposing offensive tackles. The best part about Thibodeaux this year is he is showing that on third downs or got-to-have-it situations, he will come through. He is exactly what the Lions need and will go a long way in improving this defense.

Thibodeaux is widely considered the best player in the next draft. The Lions should take him No.1 overall if they have the pick.

At No. 27, with the projected pick via the Rams, Weissman has the Lions going defense again in the first round.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Has there been a more impressive defensive player than Devin Lloyd this season? If there has been, it’s not by much. Lloyd has been a tackling machine this season and has also been outstanding as a blitzer, consistently using his length and explosiveness to get home. A true three-down linebacker with range and athleticism to play space, Lloyd is exactly what NFL teams are looking for. The Lions have so many holes they simply go with the best player available here. Walking away with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Lloyd in the first round would be a heck of a way to turn around this defense.

As Weissman suggested, Lloyd has made plays all over the field this season with 85 total tackles (including an FBS-leading 20 tackles for loss), six sacks (second in the Pac-12), three interceptions, six pass breakups and a fumble recovery. The Lions have two promising young linebackers in Derrick Barnes and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but Lloyd projects to be a legit every-down player and a versatile difference maker.

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One comp out there for Lloyd is Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham, who led the NFL with 164 total tackles in 2020 while adding three sacks.

Going defense-defense in the first round come April might not be an exciting possibility for Lions fans to consider. But among an array of directions that could be gone, and few if any of them wrong or bad, adding two potential long-term stalwarts to the defense is not a ridiculous notion.

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