Detroit Lions mock draft: Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com “win now” selections

SideLion Report

NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund has come out with a first round “win now” 2022 mock draft, so who did the Detroit Lions get?

The Detroit Lions have two first-round picks in April’s draft, and with needs across the roster general manager Brad Holmes is in a virtual no-lose position. Sure positional value will taken into account, but the No. 2 and No. 31 or No. 32 overall picks should be hits in the immediate aftermath.

NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund, a noted suffering Lions fan, is out with her 2022 mock draft 1.0. But there’s a different spin, with Frelund tabbing picks each team should make to “win now”–analytically speaking, to optimize win projection for the 2022 season.

It’s safe to say almost any player picked will increase 2022 win projection models for the teams picking in the top-10 or so come April. But it’s definitely a unique spin on a typical mock, with an analytic tilt.

Who did the Detroit Lions get in “win now” mock?

With the second overall pick Frelund has the Lions going chalky, albeit with a case further built around deeper numbers.

Pick 2-Detroit Lions-Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, DE

I’d put the chances proud Michigan alum Rich Eisen brings up Hutchinson’s 15 pressures in the Wolverines’ win over Ohio State on draft day at 99 percent. Hutchinson’s burst (velocity off the line of scrimmage over three yards traveled) rates in the top 14 percent, and his ability to change direction and move inside on a tackle ranks in the top 15 percent in my 10-season sample. His run-stopping results in college also rate in the top 25 percentile at the position.

Hutchinson is an ideal fit for the Lions, in terms of their clear need for a force off the edge and the culture head coach Dan Campbell is trying to create. If the Michigan native and former Wolverine is available at No. 2, he might be the pick with very little time on the clock burned.

At No. 31 or No. 32, depending on if the Rams win or lose the Super Bowl, there will be a wide set of options for the Lions.

Frelund is projecting No. 32 for Detroit. But which way do they go in order to “win now”?

Pick 32-Detroit Lions-Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Dotson’s versatility as someone who could help in the slot and outside drives his fit here. His ability to accelerate in and out of breaks ranked in the top 15 percent of all FBS receivers. The Lions have a lot of needs to address, and adding a sure-handed pass catcher in the first round would be a cost savings at a top-five value position. PFF shows he dropped only two of his 93 catchable targets last season at Penn State.

Since this is a win-now first-round mock, the Lions pass on a quarterback with Jared Goff set to hold down the fort under center next season. Dotson’s versatility and production at Penn State has made him a fairly popular mock pick for the Lions, and putting him with Amon-Ra St. Brown is an intriguing idea.

Edge rusher and wide receiver are diagnosable as two of the Lions’ most urgent needs this offseason, and naturally in the draft. I could see trying to wait to take Dotson with the 34th overall pick if the board falls a certain way, but a quarterback could be taken there too.

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