Draft analyst names ‘ideal’ first two picks for the Detroit Lions

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions really can’t go too wrong with whatever they do with their two first-round picks, but Chad Reuter of NFL.com has offered his ‘ideal’ scenario.

With two first-round picks and plenty of needs, both immediate and looking down the road, the Detroit Lions truly can’t go wrong whatever they do with their two first-round picks on April 28.

Of course there’s consideration for positional value (perception or otherwise), as some might say don’t take a safety (Kyle Hamilton) with the second overall pick and a cornerback (Ahmad Gardner) feels like a reach there.

Still others say the Lions shouldn’t draft any quarterback anywhere in this draft, let alone at No. 2 overall (where there’s Malik Willis mock draft buzz).

Chad Reuter of NFL.com had a fresher idea than a simple mock draft. He tabbed what he would consider the ideal top two picks for each team in the 2022 draft.

Here’s what Reuter had for the Lions.

Round 1: No. 2 overall — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Round 1: No. 32 overall — Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota

The Lions received the last pick of the first round as part of the Matthew Stafford trade compensation. That deal brought veteran QB Jared Goff from the Rams, but it’s likely the team is looking for its future under center — which should be Willis. Detroit has not won a playoff game in over 30 years, and the former Auburn and Liberty quarterback has the skill set to end that drought. The Lions can meet their need for an edge rusher who can play right away by selecting an ascending talent like Mafe with their second first-rounder.

There’s definitely a high level of risk with Willis, and he’d probably benefit from sitting a year. But he is the quarterback with the most upside in this draft class, and that’s what the Lions should be seeking in their future signal caller. The Lions have Jared Goff as their placeholder under center for this season.

Mafe is a very raw prospect, and his best football is probably ahead of him. A strong pre-draft process has put him in the first-round conversation, likely in the back half of the opening round.

In some order, a quarterback and an edge rusher can be considered an ideal first round for the Lions. This specific conversation is about Willis and Mafe, two raw prospects who might not make a huge immediate impact as rookies.

If an ideal top two picks in the 2022 draft for the Lions is rooted in upside, this Willis-Mafe scenario is definitely in the running.

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