Our own Erik Schlitt pointed out in his weekly mock draft roundup that Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson—the long-presumed first overall pick in this year’s draft class—is trending towards potentially dropping out of that spot if you are to believe the validity of mock drafts this time of year. Rumors have been swirling that Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke may fall in love with the athletic traits of Georgia’s Travon Walker and take him first overall.
This isn’t just mock drafts trying to be different, either. Pro Football Talk’s Peter King talked to several NFL general managers and coaches over the past week, and many believe Walker will be the pick.
“I look at Trent Baalke’s history going back to San Francisco. That year he picked Aldon Smith. Look who he passed on—J.J. Watt, Cam Jordan. Bigger guys, sturdier guys. Trent picked the guy with tools and traits, Smith. That’s why I think he’ll take Travon Walker,” one anonymous GM told King.
The latest to buy into the Walker hype is NFL Network’s Peter Schrager. In his newest mock draft published on Tuesday morning—in which he says he bases picks on “what I’m hearing from my sources” rather than his own personal preference, he has the Jaguars taking Walker first overall, but admits this is far from decided.
“I’m told by people in the know that the decision on this pick is far from made,” Schrager wrote. “With less than two weeks to go, the Jaguars are still building their board. The fact that it remains a debate makes me think Trent Baalke is leaning toward Walker.”
That leaves Hutchinson—who visited with the Detroit Lions on Monday—for the Lions with the second overall pick.
It’s worth pointing out that while Schrager often boasts about his insider knowledge, his mock draft accuracy does not appear to be any better than the average media analyst. Per FantasyPros.com, Schrager’s final 2021 mock draft ranked 71st among 181 mocks in terms of accuracy. In 2020, he was 78th.
Later in the mock, Schrager slotted the Lions with Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, but did not give any inside information as to why he made that pick.
“Corral has fans around the league and conceivably could go as high as the top 10. I think Detroit grabs a quarterback (for the fifth-year option) with the 32nd pick,” Schrager said.
- Speaking of Hutchinson, he’ll be at the Tigers game this Friday throwing out the first pitch:
- MLive’s Benjamin Raven looks at the last 10 players picked with the second overall pick ($) and how their careers played out.
- This is a nice background look into the competitive nature of Amon-Ra St. Brown:
- The fellas at The Athletic have a well-balanced argument for and against Kyle Hamilton ($) with the second overall pick.
- The Lions are back in the building, and for some reason, this video has got me PUMPED UP for Lions football.... just four months away... sigh:
"Siri, play 'Welcome Back' by Mase" pic.twitter.com/20tl5RfzI8— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 19, 2022
- You want some draft sleepers and risers? PFF has 17 guys who may go earlier in the draft than you think, based on conversations they’ve had with “league sources.”
- Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs is an easy guy to root for. Last year, he beat all the odds in making Detroit’s 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie, then he took it a step farther by becoming a starter. This offseason, while he’s recovering from his torn ACL, he’s endearing himself to the city by taking in a bit of local culture:
- This isn’t Lions related, but it’s an awesome video diving into offensive line play and the importance of pre and post-snap communication.