NFL mock draft 1.0: Detroit Lions get help for defense, pass on QB in Rounds 1-2

Detroit Free Press

In about two months, dozens of NFL hopefuls will have their dreams recognized.

The 2022 NFL draft begins April 28, and the Detroit Lions have three of the first 34 picks. Will Michigan football star Aidan Hutchinson be available or will Detroit go in another direction?

Ahead of the scouting combine, which begins Tuesday, Lions reporter Dave Birkett shares his first 2022 mock draft of the offseason.

BIRKETT’S FILM REVIEW: Aidan Hutchinson still worth No. 1 pick after Georgia game

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama 

The Jaguars could opt for Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson here, but they need to surround franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence with talent and there’s no better place to start than by taking the draft’s best tackle.

2. Detroit Lions

Aidan Hutchinson, edge, Michigan

Hutchinson, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton are among those who figure to be in the mix for the Lions at 2, but if Hutchinson is there he will be tough to pass up. He had a dominant 2021 season, is more than just a pass rusher, fits Dan Campbell’s style player and would immediately upgrade a defense that ranked near the bottom of the NFL in sack percentage.

3. Houston Texans

Kyle Hamilton, safety, Notre Dame

I’m leery of the value of drafting a safety this high, but Houston brass comes from that New England smarter-than-thou school of thinking and Hamilton is an incredibly unique prospect.

4. New York Jets

Kayvon Thibodeaux, edge, Oregon

I wrote back in October that Thibodeaux was valued more as a prospect by media than some NFL evaluators, and his draft stock has been sufficiently scuffed. Still, I’m keeping him in my top five until I hear from more people on the ground at the combine next week.

5. New York Giants

Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

The best thing the Giants can do to help Daniel Jones is protect him better up front.

RELATED: Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux? Lions’ options with top draft pick

6. Carolina Panthers

Malik Willis, quarterback, Liberty 

Panthers owner David Tepper is desperate for a franchise quarterback, so if Carolina can’t land a veteran in an offseason trade, this might be where the first QB goes in the draft.

7. New York Giants

Derek Stingley Jr., cornerback, LSU 

Stingley is coming off a foot injury, but he was dominant as a freshman in 2019. With James Bradberry a potential cap casualty, new general manager Joe Schoen could take his replacement.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Travon Walker, edge, Georgia

The Falcons were atrocious rushing the passer last season and Walker has position flexibility up front.

9. Denver Broncos

Jermaine Johnson, edge, Florida State 

Johnson could crack the top 10 after a dominant week at the Senior Bowl. The Broncos need a Von Miller replacement.

10. New York Jets

Drake London, WR, USC 

The Jets got minimal production from top free agent addition Corey Davis last offseason. This year, they can spend one of their two top-10 picks on a pass catcher.

11. Washington Commanders

QB Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Washington GM Martin Mayhew (remember him?) has been looking for a quarterback since he took the job last winter. Perhaps Corral can be his Matthew Stafford.

12. Minnesota Vikings

Ahmad Gardner, cornerback, Cincinnati

Gardner, a Detroit Martin Luther King product, was the best cornerback in college football last season.

How Liberty QB Malik Willis has helped his draft stock at this week’s Senior Bowl ]

13. Cleveland Browns

David Ojabo, edge, Michigan

Everyone has a receiver mocked to the Browns and it’s a huge position of need. I’m just not sure Cleveland’s analytically minded front office will pull the trigger on one in Round 1.

14. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Linderbaum, center, Iowa

This seems like a Ravens pick. Linderbaum is the best interior lineman in the draft.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

George Karlaftis, edge, Purdue

In a deep defensive line class, Kalaftis could be a steal.

16. Philadelphia Eagles

Nakobe Dean, linebacker, Georgia 

Some smart team will ignore Dean’s size concerns and take the draft’s best linebacker.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Charlie Cross, OT, Mississippi State 

If you saw Maxx Crosby terrorize Justin Herbert in the season finale, you know what position the Chargers are drafting in Round 1.

18. New Orleans Saints

Kenny Pickett, quarterback, Pitt 

Life without Drew Brees did not treat the Saints well last year.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa 

With three picks between 15 and 19, there’s a good chance Philadelphia deals down at some point.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia 

The Steelers have been connected to Willis, but they won’t be able to land him sitting at 20 and they won’t take a quarterback just to take one.

21. New England Patriots

Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

Former Lions coach Matt Patricia will reportedly coach offensive line for the Patriots next season. Maybe his BFF Bill Belichick will get him a young tackle to develop.

More: From Austria to the NFL draft: Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann is living a dream

22. Las Vegas Raiders

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State 

There is no Ja’Marr Chase in this year’s receiver class, but Wilson is polished enough to have a big impact as a rookie.

23. Arizona Cardinals

Trent McDuffie, cornerback, Washington 

McDuffie could slide a tad as a sub-6-foot corner. If he does, the Cardinals should have no problem adding a top talent to their secondary.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Devin Lloyd, linebacker, Utah 

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could give opponents fits moving Micah Parsons and the versatile Lloyd around every play.

25. Buffalo Bills

Andrew Booth Jr., cornerback, Clemson

With all the good, young quarterbacks in the AFC, it might turn out that the team that can stop them best reaches the Super Bowl.

26. Tennessee Titans

Arnold Ebiketie, edge, Penn State 

If Harold Landry leaves in free agency, the Titans will need to replace some pass rushing.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State 

Chris Godwin’s uncertain future in Tampa puts a receiver firmly in play for the Bucs.

28. Green Bay Packers

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas 

One of these years the Packers will get Instagram provocateur Aaron Rodgers the offensive help he desires.

29. Miami Dolphins

Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M 

Every year there seems to be a running back that comes off the board late in Round 1. Spiller is best in class this year.

30. Kansas City Chiefs:

Jaquan Brisker, safety, Penn State

Brisker is a guy I think will be in the mix for the Lions at 32 or 34 — if he makes it that far.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Dax Hill, safety, Michigan 

Three Michigan defensive players in Round 1. Makes sense why Jim Harbaugh was trying to bolt for the NFL.

32. Detroit Lions

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Taking a receiver coming off a torn ACL is risky (see: Broyles, Ryan), but the Lions can afford to be patient with one of the draft’s top pass catchers.

33-Jacksonville Jaguars

Kyler Gordon, cornerback, Washington

The Jaguars start Round 2 by adding some athleticism to a defense that had just seven interceptions last season.

34-Detroit Lions

Kaiir Elam, cornerback, Florida

The Lions could use a linebacker or safety here and there are still good interior linemen available on both sides of the ball. But they’re far from set at the cornerback position behind Amani Oruwariye with Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs coming off season-ending injuries and Ifeatu Melifonwu still an unknown. Elam has the physical traits the Lions like in their cornerbacks.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

Articles You May Like

‘Rat ball gets you in trouble:’ How Detroit Lions plan to fix trust issues on terrible defense
Detroit Lions injury report: Week 4 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Detroit Lions holding open competition at safety to replace Tracy Walker
Lions running back Jamaal Williams fined for Week 3 touchdown celebration
Lions hope to get Jacobs, Paschal back to practice this week; Onwuzurike not progressing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.