Todd McShay’s second mock draft is out, and nothing changed from his first one for the Detroit Lions.
Mock draft season unofficially launches when ESPN’s Todd McShay comes out with his first, and it hit the public in mid-December. In that mock, McShay had the Detroit Lions taking Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 overall and North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell at No. 25.
Things have changed since then. The Los Angeles Rams made a run to a Super Bowl win, pushing that second first-round pick for the Lions all the way down to No. 32. The coaching staff also got a closer look at Howell down at the Senior Bowl, since he was one of the quarterbacks they had on the American team roster.
McShay’s second mock draft of 2022 landed on Wednesday morning. He had three quarterbacks (Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis and Matt Corral) going in the top-20, and six wide receivers in the top-30 overall to thin the viable options at that latter position of need for the Lions.
Detroit Lions get the same picks in Todd McShay’s second mock
At No. 2, with Kayvon Thibodeaux available as well, McShay has the Lions taking Hutchinson.
This is a slam-dunk scenario for the Lions,”. “They gave up 5.9 yards per play (29th) and 26.9 points per game (28th), opposing quarterbacks had the third-best QBR against them (53.4), and only two teams had fewer sacks than their 30 on the season. Hutchinson — who is from Michigan and played his college ball under an hour from Detroit — is a relentless pass-rusher who had 14.0 sacks and 66 pressures last year. He can take over a game on defense, and Detroit needs more players like that, especially because its top pass-rusher in 2021 (Charles Harris, 7.5 sacks) is a free agent.”
At No. 32, McShay’s pick for Detroit is Howell.
Now it can take advantage of the final pick with a fifth-year option attached to it and draft a quarterback — not unlike what the Ravens did with Lamar Jackson in 2018,” McShay writes. “Tough and competitive, Howell fits well with the Lions’ organization. He is super accurate hitting the deep rail shots, and he has a quick delivery and good touch. But his footwork needs work, and he will need to improve the anticipatory intermediate-level throws. Let Howell sit behind Jared Goff, whose dead money falls from $30.5 million in 2022 to $10 million in 2023 and $5 million in 2024. I’d like to see Howell link up with receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to jump-start the Lions’ passing attack, which had the league’s 25th-best Total QBR in 2021 (37.6).”
Jared Goff is in place as the Lions’ starting quarterback heading into next season, which theoretically reduces the urgency to draft a quarterback who might otherwise be forced to start immediately, ready or not. But drafting a quarterback in the first round, with the luxury (however cliche’ it is) of a fifth-year option, is pretty easy in McShay’s scenario here–it just happens he’s on the Howell-to-Detroit bandwagon.