2022 NFL Draft: What do the Lions do if Aidan Hutchinson is taken first overall?

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions have been frequently linked to Aidan Hutchinson, but what if the talented edge rusher is gone at No. 2 overall?

The Detroit Lions only nibbled in free agency. Most fans seem to get it, but others don’t. It’s clear the focus for adding impact talent will be the draft. For many, with the second overall pick, it’s Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or no one.

Until very recently it seemed a slam-dunk that the Lions would be able to land Hutchinson at No. 2. But situation has gotten murkier.

It once seemed certain the Jacksonville Jaguars would take an offensive tackle to protect Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick (Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu…). But they franchise tagged left tackle Cam Robinson a second time, while signing guard Brandon Scherff in free agency. Now, Hutchinson seems to be firmly on the Jaguars’ radar at No. 1.

With that in mind, if Hutchinson isn’t there at No. 2, I would agree with the majority of fans who would prefer to trade back.

In terms of trade down partners for the Lions, the Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 9) make the most sense. If Malik Willis is the coveted signal caller for either one, getting ahead of the Carolina Panthers at No. 6 would be an order.

What should the Lions do if Aidan Hutchinson is gone at No. 2?

Moving back and getting more draft capital would be nice. But if the Falcons or Seahawks (or any others) don’t want to budge, then I would use the second pick to select the same player I would target a little further down: Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. It’s a rare safety that’s worthy of a top-5 pick, but Hamilton might be it as an all-around impact player.

Hamilton and Tracy Walker would be a nice safety pairing.

Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker might better land on the radar if they move down the top-10 overall, but the Lions have some leverage and options if the price to move up is not met and they stay put a No. 2–including Liberty quarterback Malik Willis and (seeming less likely) the NC State offensive tackle Ekwonu.

With a month to go before the draft, nothing is set in stone and many things could change. But if Hutchinson is gone first overall to Jacksonville, even if some fans will think so, all will not be lost for the Lions.

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