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2022 NFL dueling mock drafts: Can the Detroit Lions still hit their needs if they draft QB first?

If the Detroit Lions decide to draft Malik Willis, how much will that hinder the rest of this year’s draft class? We find out on our live mock draft show.

Old Dominion v Liberty Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

This week, myself, Erik Schlitt and Ryan Mathews jumped on our Twitch channel for the return of Mock Draft Wednesdays. During this show, we run through a couple of mock draft scenarios, discuss the kind of debates that should be happening in the Detroit Lions war room for each pick, and analyze our favorite draft prospects that could be wearing Honolulu Blue later this year.

For our first episode, we compared two potential mock drafts: one where we grabbed a quarterback with the Lions’ first pick and one where we decided to go defense at No. 2 overall.

Here’s a look at the results of the first draft:

  1. Round 1, Pick 2 — QB Malik Willis, Liberty
  2. Round 1, Pick 32 — S Daxton Hill, Michigan
  3. Round 2, Pick 2, 34th overall — LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
  4. Round 3, Pick 2, 66th overall — EDGE Logan Hall, Houston
  5. Round 3, Pick 33, 97th overall — WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
  6. Round 5, Pick 34, 177th overall — LB Damone Clark, LSU
  7. Round 6, Pick 2, 181st overall — RB Tyler Allgeier, BYU
  8. Round 6, Pick 39, 217th overall — OT Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan
  9. Round 7, Pick 13, 234th overall — EDGE Amare Barno, Virginia Tech

Admittedly, this draft fell quite favorably to us. We were able to not only get the Lions’ future franchise quarterback, but we got two potential starters at the Lions’ biggest needs on defense. Hill was incredible value at 32, as was Dean a couple of picks later. Hall isn’t the game-changing edge rusher that Detroit could’ve gotten with the second overall pick, but he’s a versatile piece that can bring some much-needed interior pass rush with some surprising athleticism in that 6-foot-6, 283-pound frame.

However, signs point to the Lions potentially passing on a quarterback this year, so we decided to run the mock draft simulator without picking a quarterback at the top. Here’s how that draft played out:

  1. Round 1, Pick 2 — EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
  2. Round 2, Pick 2, 34th overall — LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
  3. Round 2, Pick 9, 41st overall — WR George Pickens, Georgia
  4. Round 3, Pick 2, 66th overall — TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
  5. Round 3, Pick 33, 97th overall — S Bryan Cook, Cincinnati
  6. Round 6, Pick 2, 181st overall — DT Eric Johnson, Missouri State
  7. Round 6, Pick 39, 217th overall — RB D’vonte Price, Florida International
  8. Round 7, Pick 13, 234th overall — LB Nephi Sewell, Utah

*Note: We traded picks 32 and 177 for picks 41 and a 2023 third-round pick

While this draft feels a little weaker than the other, it’s worth pointing out that Detroit picked up three different players at the top of their position: Thibodeaux is arguably EDGE 1 or 2, Lloyd is likely LB1 and McBride is TE1. We didn’t get as lucky with a safety falling to us early, but Bryan Cook provides high upside and he’s a perfect fit in Detroit’s split-zone scheme. Aaron Glenn could make him a starter by the end of his rookie season.

Perhaps the highlight of this draft is the trade down. There does seem to be a deep amount of talent for picks 32 and 34, so trading down a few spots to load up on more 2023 draft ammo makes a lot of sense. It may hurt a little in the present, but if Detroit passes on a quarterback this year, they should consider loading up draft picks for next year’s draft.

You can view our entire conversation about each draft pick below or on our Twitch page:

Note: I was wearing Macho Man Randy Savage clothes as part of our viewer reward system on Twitch.