Lions could do the unthinkable with the No. 2 pick


The Lions have made a lot of questionable personnel decisions lately, but drafting Malik Willis at No. 2 overall would be a new kind of disaster for Detroit. 

The idea that Detroit could be looking for a new starting quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft makes total sense. The idea that the Lions could be seriously considering selecting Malik Willis with the No. 2 overall selection does not.

That’s just what a recent report from PFF claims. Specifically, it cites “buzz” that the former Liberty signal-caller could go to the Lions with the second pick. If there’s any truth at all to that rumor then fans in Detroit should already be concerned about the ability of new GM Brad Holmes to bring the franchise back to respectability.

In fairness to Holmes and the Lions’ brain trust, it’s obvious that Jared Goff isn’t the right quarterback to get the team on track. At best, he’s a stop-gap capable of executing the offense at a semi-competent level while Detroit finds and/or develops their quarterback of the future. At worst, he’s a sub-replacement level player at the game’s most important position who will make it impossible for the Lions’ offense to operate at a competent level.

The Lions do need a quarterback but they don’t have the luxury of reaching

As a result, Detroit’s front office has every reason to expend serious scouting resources on the signal-callers available in this year’s draft class. It’s even reasonable for them to conclude that Willis has more upside than any of his peers.

Where this line of thinking comes off the rails is in the value judgment that Willis is worth anything close to the No. 2 overall pick. Questions about his accuracy and throwing technique prevent Willis from being an elite quarterback prospect. Combine that with the obvious need for him to sit on the bench for a significant portion of his rookie campaign to adjust to life in the NFL and it’s clear that he’s not worth such a premium draft asset.

The No. 2 overall pick in this draft should net a team like the Lions a player they can slot into their starting lineup for the next decade at a key position. In this draft, that should be an edge rusher or left tackle. The Lions should be hoping and praying they can keep edge rusher, Aidan Hutchinson, in the state of Michigan for his professional career. At worse, they should be in a great spot to nab a potential superstar left tackle such as Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu.

Even if the Lions, somehow, believe Willis is the superior prospect they shouldn’t be contemplating taking him at No. 2. A trade down with one of the teams that is in desperate need of a franchise left tackle could net the Lions several additional draft picks to help accelerate their rebuild. Eschewing the chance to add draft capital by taking Willis at No. 2 would be a massive missed opportunity for a team that cannot afford another draft mistake.

Lions fans must hope this latest report is just a smokescreen designed to tempt another team to move up to grab Willis or another premium prospect at No. 2. If it isn’t, Detroit could be headed for another decade of mediocrity or worse.

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