NFL mock draft 2.0: What do Detroit Lions do if Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson goes No. 1?

Detroit Free Press

With the NFL combine in the books, it’s time for another mock draft. I’ll do another version after the first wave of free agency, but already things have changed up top.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Aidan Hutchinson, edge, Michigan

I don’t think the Jaguars’ decision to tag left tackle Cam Robinson takes them out of the running for an offensive lineman at No. 1. Incumbent right tackle Jawaan Taylor has been mediocre as a starter and is in the last year of his contract, and there’s no guarantee Robinson gets a long-term deal done. But it does make Hutchinson the more likely pick, so that’s where this mock draft exercise begins.

[ Charles Harris was 2021 Lions free agent steal. Who may be next sleeper? ]

2. Detroit Lions

Kayvon Thibodeaux, edge, Oregon

Hutchinson is an easy choice if he makes it to No. 2. If he’s gone, I still think the Lions prefer to go edge. It’s such a premium position, and such a huge need. I’m not sure if Thibodeaux is the right culture fit for Dan Campbell’s Lions. That’s something the team will have to dive deep into in the coming weeks. But I’m mocking Thibodeaux to the Lions here because he is a more disruptive player on tape than Georgia’s Travon Walker and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, and because tape, at some point, must win out.

3. Houston Texans

Ikem Ekwonu, offensive tackle, North Carolina State

The Texans are paying big money to Laremy Tunsil at left tackle for two more seasons, so Ekwonu can start his NFL career on the right side or at guard.

4. New York Jets

Kyle Hamilton, safety, Notre Dame

The Jets could tempted to offensive line in the first round for the third straight year, but Hamilton is the best player at a non-premium position in the draft and would upgrade Robert Saleh’s defense.

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5. New York Giants

Evan Neal, offensive tackle, Alabama

New Giants GM Joe Schoen was part of a team in Buffalo that built a very good line through free agency and Day 2 picks. Still, Neal is in the top tier of prospects and belongs in the top five.

6. Carolina Panthers

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Panthers are desperate for a quarterback and could trade for Deshaun Watson in the coming weeks. Until that happens, I’m keeping Willis here.

7. New York Giants

Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Giants need cornerbacks who can hold up in man coverage in new coordinator Don Martindale’s defense. Gardner did not allow a touchdown his entire career.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Jermaine Johnson, edge, Florida State

I was tempted to slot Johnson to the Lions at No. 2, but I think he fits better in a 3-4 base defense like the one the Falcons run.

9. Seattle Seahawks

Travon Walker, edge, Georgia

Pete Carroll is 70. I’m not sure he wants to start over with a rookie quarterback so defense is the pick here.

10. New York Jets

David Ojabo, edge, Michigan

Five edge rushers in the top 10 may be a bit aggressive, but that’s where the strength lies in this draft.

[ Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo’s paths from Michigan to NFL combine spotlight ]

11. Washington Commanders

Derek Stingley Jr., cornerback, LSU

Martin Mayhew knows good cornerbacks when he sees them. He won’t pass on Stingley, despite the injury history.

12. Minnesota Vikings

Devin Lloyd, linebacker, Utah

Lloyd has a little Anthony Barr in him. He can rush, play coverage and he would energize an old Vikings defense.

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13. Cleveland Browns

Drake London, wide receiver, USC

If not London, one of the Ohio State receivers would make plenty of sense here.

14. Baltimore Ravens

Charlie Cross, offensive tackle, Mississippi State

I gave the Ravens an interior lineman in my first mock, but Ronnie Stanley’s recent injury history has me thinking Cross might be the better pick.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Devonte Wyatt, defensive tackle, Georgia

Fletcher Cox can’t stay dominant forever. Wyatt would be the perfect apprentice.

16. Philadelphia Eagles

Nakobe Dean, linebacker, Georgia

Back-to-back Bulldogs does a defense good.

More: Josh Reynolds: Lions ‘may have what we need’ at WR

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Jordan Davis, defensive tackle, Georgia

The star of the NFL combine would fill a sizable need in the middle of the Chargers defensive line.

18. New Orleans Saints

Kenny Pickett, quarterback, Pitt

Pickett is the most pro-ready of this year’s quarterbacks, and hand size won’t be as big a deal playing half his games in a dome every year.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Tyler Linderbaum, center, Iowa

Jason Kelce is back for one more season, but the Eagles will have to replace him eventually. With three first-round picks, they can use on an heir apparent.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Matt Corral, quarterback, Ole Miss

If the Steelers prefer Malik Willis as their quarterback of the future, as many suspect, they may have to trade up to get him.

21. New England Patriots

Garrett Wilson, wide receiver, Ohio State

Mac Jones needs weapons to compete with the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

22. Las Vegas Raiders

George Karlaftis, edge, Purdue

A partner in crime for Maxx Crosby on the edge.

23. Arizona Cardinals

Trent McDuffie, cornerback, Washington

McDuffie is one of the highest-floor cornerbacks in the draft and his lack of elite measurables could make him a steal in the second half of Round 1.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Dax Hill, safety, Michigan

Hill did not have a ton of ball production (four interceptions) in his three seasons at Michigan, but his athletic profile and versatility make him a first-round pick.

[ Will Michigan star Dax Hill’s production in NFL finally match the hype? ]

25. Buffalo Bills

Jameson Williams, wide receiver, Alabama

The Bills have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL and can afford to wait for one of the draft’s top receivers to return from a torn ACL.

26. Tennessee Titans

Trevor Penning, offensive tackle, Northern Iowa

The Titans whiffed on Isaiah Wilson in 2020, but can’t be shy about taking another offensive lineman here.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Andrew Booth Jr., cornerback, Clemson

If the Bucs keep Carlton Davis, they can use this pick to fortify the trenches.

28. Green Bay Packers

Chris Olave, wide receiver, Ohio State

This one gets Aaron Rodgers’ seal of approval.

29. Miami Dolphins

Quay Walker, linebacker, Georgia

If the Dolphins don’t address their offensive line need in free agency, they could take someone like Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann or Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green here.

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30. Kansas City Chiefs

Treylon Burks, wide receiver, Arkansas

Burks did not run a great 40 time at the combine, but Andy Reid can certainly use his youth and versatility on an aging offense.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Kenyon Green, offensive lineman, Texas A&M

The Bengals must do a better job protecting Joe Burrow going forward.

32. Detroit Lions

Jaquan Brisker, safety, Penn State

There should a handful of starting-caliber safeties available between picks 25-50. Brisker doesn’t get as much love as Georgia’s Lewis Cine, but he’s an excellent player.

Round 2

33. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Jaguars start Day 2 by getting a weapon for Trevor Lawrence.

34. Detroit Lions

Damone Clark, LB, LSU

Defense, defense, defense. The Lions take care of three major needs on the defensive side of the ball in this mock. Clark was named best linebacker on the American Team at the Senior Bowl, where he played for Lions coaches.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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