The Detroit Lions officially hold the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft and the mock draft selections at that spot continue to be flexed between the two top edge rushers with a sprinkling of other players from time to time—this week, it’s Notre Dame stud safety Kyle Hamilton.
While the Lions' first pick projections are a model of consistency, the Lions-owned Los Angeles Rams pick is anything but. Not only can analysts not settle on a pick spot—projections range from No. 26 to No. 30—but there were 12 different players projected for that pick.
As always, the mock draft roundup is an overview of the most popular mock drafting publications from the previous week. The focus, of course, is centered on who the analyst pairs with the Lions, and selected reasonings why.
Lions pick No. 2
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Currently being mocked by Jeff Risdon (Lions Wire), Michael Renner (PFF), Todd McShay (ESPN first draft podcast), Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports), Josh Edwards (CBS Sports), Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News), Bleacher Report Scouting department, Brian Johannes (The Huddle Report)
Renner: “Thibodeaux has a unique blend of physical tools that very few draft prospects possess. It’s also a tailor-made blend to play on the edge in the NFL. He showed out in a big way this season, earning a 91.5 pass-rushing grade in the process.”
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Currently being mocked by Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports), James Dator (SB Nation), Charles McDonald (For the Win), Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz (USA Today), Kyle Stackpole (CBS Sports), Jason McIntyre (Fox Sports), Bryan Fischer (Anthon Sports), Jeff Bell (Fantasy Pros), DraftTek Staff, Nick Simon and Chet Gresham (Draft Kings)
Trapasso: “Hutchinson feels like a Dan Campbell type. He’s big, physical, with good pass-rush moves. He’ll be welcomed locally coming from Michigan.”
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Currently being mocked by Cam Mellor (Pro Football Network)
Mellor: “The rangiest safety in recent memory, Kyle Hamilton draws comparisons to a larger Derwin James. The Detroit Lions can go in a wide variety of directions here, but grabbing a chess piece for the secondary is the move. Hamilton closes space in the blink of an eye and thumps downhill in the run game. He does all this with a massive frame and keen instincts. Hamilton should be a Pro Bowler in Year 1.”
There is little doubting Hamilton’s skill set and he is definitely one of the best players in this draft cycle. The biggest issue I have with pairing him with the Lions at No. 2, is that the NFL doesn't value the safety position that highly. In fact, the NFL draft has not seen a safety selected in the top three picks in 30 years, back when Bill Belichick did it when he was with the Cleveland Browns.
Adding Hamilton to the Lions would be a phenomenal match, for certain, but the NFL draft is about maximizing the value of picks and they get that in spades by grabbing one of the two EDGE players.
No. 26 Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina - by Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News)
QBs selected ahead: Malik Willis (6), Matt Corral (9), Kenny Pickett (11), Desmond Ridder (20)
No. 27 Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh - Cam Mellor (Pro Football Network)
QBs selected ahead: Matt Corral (6), Sam Howell (19)
No. 27 Malik Willis, QB, Liberty - Jason McIntyre (Fox Sports)
QBs selected ahead: Matt Corral (3), Kenny Pickett (6), Sam Howell (9)
No. 27 Carson Strong, QB, Nevada - by James Dator (SB Nation)
QBs selected ahead: Kenny Pickett (7), Malik Willis (8), Matt Corral (20)
No. 27 Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati - by Charles McDonald (For the Win)
QBs selected ahead: Kenny Pickett (6), Matt Corral (9)
No. 27 Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati - by Kyle Stackpole (CBS Sports)
QBs selected ahead: Kenny Pickett (5), Matt Corral (11), Malik Willis (20)
No. 30 Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati - by Michael Renner (PFF)
QBs selected ahead: Sam Howell (6), Kenny Pickett (12), Matt Corral (18)
The lack of consensus at the quarterback position is shocking and refreshing all at the same time. It’s shocking because there are really no patterns to decipher, and we see as many as four different quarterbacks projected to be the first one off the board. If there is no consensus at the top, it’s no surprise there is such variance when the Lions will be on the clock at the end of the first.
It’s refreshing to see this because it points away from the concept of groupthink in rankings. Maybe it’s because draft analysts haven’t done all their homework on the prospects yet, but if the variance continues throughout the offseason, it will make things even more exciting come draft time.
Rams pick, Non-QBs
No. 27 Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah - by Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports)
No. 27 Trayvon Walker, DL, Georgia - by Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)
No. 28 Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas - by Bryan Fischer (Anthon Sports)
The same variance we see at quarterback we also see at receiver. Despite there being six or seven prospects fighting to be the first receiver off the board, there is no unanimous stud separating himself from others. This could mean the Lions will take advantage of a receiver of value falling to them, or it could mean we see the Lions sit back and wait things out, knowing they can still get a player a bit later—like they did with “the USC kid”.
I do like the defenders that have been paired with the Lions recently. We have previously discussed Walker in recent roundups, and you could make an argument that Lloyd is LB1 in this class (yes, even over Nakobe Dean). For more on Lloyd check out my profile on him from my Draft Watchlist article back in October.