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2022 Detroit Lions’ mock draft roundup: Jaguars, Lions team writers release initial projections

Identifying the players that have been mocked to the Lions over the past week.

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Syndication: USA TODAY Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

In this week’s Mock Draft roundup, we get a special treat because team writers from the Jacksonville Jaguars (who hold pick No. 1 in the 2022 NFL draft) and the Detroit Lions (Pick No. 2) both released their first mock drafts of the season.

Now, team writers’ opinions shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Heck, the Jaguars just hired Doug Pederson to be their head coach a little over 24 hours ago. But they do have a solid handle on the pulse of the team, what the team’s biggest needs are, and knowledge of the tendencies of their organization's general manager (both of whom are heading into their second offseason) might do with their selection.

Jaguars’ team writer John Oehser (Version 1.0)

No. 1: Jaguars select Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Oehser makes a point (several times) to let readers know that he is only making “a semi-educated guess” at what the Jaguars might do with the first pick. He goes on to mention the most likely players in the mix are Evan Neal (OT, Alabama), Ikem Ekwonu (OT, NC State), Aidan Hutchinson (EDGE, Michigan), Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE, Oregon), and a name we haven’t heard a ton about but could definitely be in the mix, Charles Cross (OT, Mississippi State).

“For the sake of this mock,” Oehser explained, “we’ll go offensive tackle with the idea of adding an elite player to an offensive line that could undergo moderate-to-significant change this offseason. So, we’ll go with Neal from Alabama at No. 1 overall.”

It’s also with noting that Oehser had the Lions selecting Thibodeaux, which may seem insignificant on the surface, but it could also point to the fact that he believes the Jaguars have him ranked ahead of Hutchinson on their “early” draft board, as opposed to what he thinks the Lions might do.

So what might the Lions do?

Lions’ team writer Mike O’Hara (Version 1.0)

No. 1 Jaguars select Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
No. 2 Lions select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

O’Hara, who published his mock draft before Oehser, is actually on the same page as him with the first pick and also paired the Jaguars with Neal. When O’Hara broke down the Lions' needs, he acknowledged that “pass rusher” was “the most pressing need is on defense” because “the Lions had only 30 sacks in 2021.” And that thought process led him to pair the Lions with Hutchinson.

This falls in line with the most recent popular thinking that the Jaguars will take a tackle and the Lions will take an edge. In fact, this combination of players was the most popular scenario at the top of this week’s featured mock drafts.

There are still projectors naming Ekwonu at No. 1, something I think will get more popular as we progress through the offseason. Thibodeaux is still finding himself mocked at each of the top spots, and Kyle Hamilton is still in the conversation as well.

More top of the draft scenarios

No. 1 Jaguars select Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
No. 2 Lions select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

This scenario is currently being mocked by Sam Monson (PFF), Ryan Trapasso (CBS Sports), Joe Broback (Pro Football Network), Raju Byfield (Fantasy Pros), Dave Zangaro (NBC Sports Philadelphia), Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune)

No. 1 Jaguars select Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
No. 2 Lions select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

This scenario is currently being mocked by Keith Sanchez (The Draft Network), Zack Patraw (SI Fan Nation)

No. 1 Jaguars select Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
No. 2 Lions select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

This scenario is currently being mocked by Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)

No. 1 Jaguars select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
No. 2 Lions select Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

This scenario is currently being mocked by Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports), Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News)

No. 1 Jaguars select Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
No. 2 Lions select Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

This scenario is currently being mocked by James Fragoza (Pro Football Network)

Erik’s thoughts

Once again, regardless of the scenario, Hutchinson is the most popular player mocked to the Lions. In fact, 10 of the 14 mock drafts paired Hutchinson to the Lions, three went another direction after Hutchinson went first overall, and the only one that had the Lions choosing Thibodeaux over Hutchingson was Oehser—and we talked earlier about how there may be some transference going on.

With the Combine looming, it’ll be interesting to see if things shift, but for now, the local prospect is the overwhelming favorite to land in Detroit.

Quarterback focus

Matt Corral (6), Sam Howell (12), Kenny Pickett (32)
James Fragoza (Pro Football Network)

Pickett (11), Desmond Ridder (13), Malik Willis (32)
Keith Sanchez (The Draft Network)

Ridder (9), Howell (18), Corral (20), Malik Willis (32)
Sam Monson (PFF)

Pickett (6), Corral (9), Howell (11), Desmond Ridder (32)
Dave Zangaro (NBC Sports Philadelphia)

Willis (7), Corral (9), Pickett (11), Ridder (26), Sam Howell (32)
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News)

Erik’s thoughts

This group is surely going to be shuffled around after the week Willis and Pickett had at the Senior Bowl. But will we notice much? Because this quarterbacks group is still wildly inconsistent. My guess is we will see a lot of Willis and Pickett being the first two off the board.

Rams pick No. 32 (non-QBs)

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State - by Mike O’Hara (DetroitLions.com)
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State - by Raju Byfield (Fantasy Pros)
David Bell, WR, Purdue - by Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia - by Zack Patraw (SI Fan Nation)
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn - by Joe Broback (Pro Football Network)
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn - by Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Lewis Cine, S, Georgia - by Ryan Trapasso (CBS Sports)
Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati - by Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports)

Erik’s thoughts

Wide receiver is still a popular option for the Lions here, but it’s nice to see some new options presenting themselves, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Pairing Davis and Alim McNeill would be completely unfair, and I’m here for it. McCreary continues to be a popular choice ever since The Athletic’s Dane Brugler paired him with the Lions, and him being on the Lions roster at the Senior Bowl surely amped up this connection. Cine is a terrific safety and would be worthy of the selection, as he is one of only a few Day 1 starters at his position. I’m not as high on Cook as Wilson is.