While taking him at No. 2 overall is an absolute no-go for some people, how about the Detroit Lions trade up from late in the first round for Malik Willis?
As the idea of the Detroit Lions being able to get Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick in the draft has faded, the idea of taking Liberty quarterback Malik Willis has surfaced and been executed in many mock drafts. Much to the chagrin of many Lions fans, by the way.
Willis might be the first quarterback drafted at the end of this month, even if the Lions don’t go bold and take him at No. 2. But there’s a chance he falls, at which point teams might find it more palatable to take the risk on him. Some teams may want to trade up to get him.
If he were to fall to their second first-round pick, No. 32, Willis would be a virtual no-brainer pick for the Lions. But the odds of that look remote.
NFL Draft rumors: Detroit Lions trade up for Malik Willis?
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah is on record saying Willis is only quarterback worthy of the Lions’ attention in the first round. On a recent episode of “Move The Sticks”, he went a step further (h/t to SI.com).
(The Lions) are gonna get right up in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who pick (No. 20),” Jeremiah said. “Let’s say you’re a Lions fan. Let’s say you get Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick, come back and make this move to get Malik Willis and oh, by the way, you still have pick number 34 at the beginning of the second round. If you want to move back from that slot, you’ll have an opportunity to do so.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 20th overall pick. There’s also some buzz that they really like Willis. So Jeremiah had the Lions making a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 19 pick, adding a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to move up from 32 to 19.
You’ve got somebody you can dream on with Malik Willis, with that huge upside,” Jeremiah said. “Jared Goff, with his presence, he’s not gonna have to rush onto the field. I think that would be a perfect setup for the Detroit Lions.”
Of course if the Lions take Willis at No. 2, this whole scenario is moot. It also might be more ideal to take a different quarterback at No. 32 (or No. 34), with Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, Sam Howell and Carson Strong among possible options, without having to surrender draft capital to trade up.
Very little should be off-limits for Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes in this draft. Including, if it’s palatable, a trade up in the first round to get Willis if he lingers available for longer than expected. Mark it in the “unlikely, but possible” column.