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2022 NFL Mock Drafts: Detroit Lions have several quarterback options

Many experts are already connecting the Lions to a QB in 2022, but which one?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cure Bowl - Liberty v Coastal Carolina Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There aren’t many football exercises in the media that are a bigger waste of intellectual time than year-early mock drafts. All you have to do is look at last year’s slate of 2021 NFL Mock drafts and see that players like Florida State DT Marvin Wilson (went undrafted), Stanford CB Paulson Adebo (third round), and Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross (returning to Clemson) were just a few that were mocked to the Lions at eight overall last year.

But I have nothing against dumb fun. I get the appeal of stupidly fun things like the new “Mortal Kombat” movie. And sports are ultimately entertainment, so if a few of you get a kick out of way-too-early 2022 NFL mock drafts, I’m not going to stand in your way.

Of course, I’m not insane enough to create my own 2022 mock, so here are a few interesting ones I found across the internet that will give you your fix.

Unsurprisingly, many of them focus on the Detroit Lions grabbing a quarterback, especially since they’re projected to be selecting in the top three.

CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson)

Lions pick (2nd overall): North Carolina QB Sam Howell

As you’ll see, there is little consensus right now as to who the top quarterbacks of the 2022 class will be, but Howell makes an interesting case. Howell made a significant jump in efficiency last year, increasing his completion percentage by nearly seven percentage points (61.4 to 68.1) while also averaging nearly 2 yards more per pass attempt (8.6 vs. 10.3).

Howell has both the accuracy and the mobility to fit in today’s NFL, but he’ll need to be less careless with the ball at the next level.

Lions pick (28th overall): Miami S Bubba Bolden

Bolden decided to return to college after a breakout season that ended in him being named second-team All ACC. The Lions passed on the safety position in this year’s class, so it certainly makes sense that they’d be targeting the position early in 2022.

ESPN (Todd McShay)

Lions pick (2nd overall): USC QB Kedon Slovis

If you’ve watched Amon-Ra St. Brown highlights, you’ve probably noticed Kedon Slovis throwing the ball to him. While USC’s offense heavily features short, tempo passes, Slovis displayed a nice ability to manage the game and throw the occasional deep ball. Like Howell, he’ll have to reign in the turnovers at the next level.

Lions pick (28th overall): LSU LB Mike Jones Jr.

Jones Jr. was considered one of the best linebackers last year with Clemson, then oddly decided to transfer after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision, per Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, was brought on by a desire to play inside the box, rather than on the edge.

The Athletic (Dane Brugler)

Lions pick (2nd overall): North Carolina QB Sam Howell

Brugler goes with the aforementioned Howell to the Lions.

“It is tough to watch Howell and not see similarities to Baker Mayfield — both positive and negative,” Brugler notes.

Lions pick (30th overall): Ohio State WR Chris Olave

In the past two seasons, Olave has racked up 19 touchdowns and 1569 yards. It was a big surprise when Olave announced that he’s returning to the Buckeyes in 2021, but he’ll have three years as a starter of tape next year, giving NFL teams a good look at his talent.

Draft Wire (Luke Easterling)

Lions pick (2nd overall): Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler

Rattler only has one season under his belt at Oklahoma, but it was a promising one. Many have him as the consensus best quarterback in next year’s class, even after a tough start to last season. By the end of the year, however, he was hitting his stride.

Lions pick (29th overall): Alabama WR John Metchie III

2021 should be a year in which Metchie III can really make a name for himself. Despite being teamed with Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Metchie still managed 916 receiving yards and six touchdowns last year. He could eclipse those numbers now that he’ll likely have an advanced role in 2021.

At 6-foot, 195 pounds, Metchie has big-play potential, and the Lions will almost certainly be in the receiver market.

Pro Football Network (Ian Cummings)

Lions pick (1st overall): Liberty QB Malik Willis

A bit of a curveball here, Willis could be one of the more exciting players to watch in football this upcoming season. In his first season as a starter for Liberty, he ran for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns. Teamed with a solid 20-to-6 touchdown/interception ratio, Willis is the dual-threat quarterback that has become trendy in the NFL today. He’s still unpolished as a passer, though.

Lions pick (28th overall): Georgia WR George Pickens

Another bit of a curveball here, as Pickens is coming off two fairly productive seasons at Georgia, but he suffered a torn ACL this offseason. He may still play at some point this upcoming season, but even if he doesn’t, he made some eye-popping catches that will get him drafted next year.

Touchdown Wire (Mark Schofield)

Lions pick (2nd overall): Liberty QB Malik Willis

Apparently, Schofield likes to throw curveballs as well: “There is a lot of football to be played, but Willis could certainly be the next QB riser, perhaps all the way to the Motor City. If he takes another big step forward, Willis could indeed put himself in QB1 contention.”

Lions pick (29th overall): Alabama WR John Metchie III

The Lions passed on an Alabama wide receiver last year. Could they do it again?

Bleacher Report (Brent Sobleski)

Lions pick (2nd overall): Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

This year’s class didn’t have the game-changing pass-rushing threat at the top of the draft. Next year could be a different story, though. In 2019, Thibodeaux had nine sacks and followed it up with three in seven games last year. A five-star recruit out of college, Thibodeaux may be the surest bet to be drafted in the top-five next year.

Lions pick (30th overall): Alabama WR John Metchie III

There’s Metchie again. Alabama is quite simply a wide receiver factory.