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Brett Whitefield makes strong case for Malik Willis to Detroit Lions at 2

It’s not the popular pick, but friend of the show Brett Whitefield made a compelling case for the Detroit Lions drafting Malik Willis with the second overall pick.

LendingTree Bowl - Liberty v Eastern Michigan Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

It has become a bit of a tradition to have our good friend—and former data analyst for PFF—Brett Whitefield on the podcast before the NFL Draft. Not only is Whitefield a film junkie who has a great track record with player evaluation, but as a local Michigander, he knows the Detroit Lions just as well as anyone.

So on Thursday night, Whitefield joined us for a discussion on what he thinks the Lions should do and what they may do during next week’s draft.

Our conversation kicked off with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Whitefield has made it clear all offseason that he believes Willis makes a lot of sense for the Lions with the second overall pick.

“What can’t Malik Willis do?” Whitefield asked. “I haven’t heard anyone answer that question yet. There’s some things he needs coaching for, but there’s not a single football thing he cannot do right now, and there isn’t a player in this draft that can turn around this franchise quicker than Malik Willis if he hits his potential.”

Whitefield defends that statement and answers criticisms about Willis’ rawness or his perceived issues going through his progressions. He also gives some eye-popping stats about Willis’ accuracy and playmaking ability that was second to none in 2021.

But Willis only occupies the first part of our conversation with Whitefield. He also provides his take on this year’s edge class, and why he believes Kayvon Thibodeaux may be Detroit’s preferred player—even if Aidan Hutchinson is on the board with the second overall pick.

Other topics include:

  • Why the Lions should steer clear of Kyle Hamilton at 2
  • The best linebacker fits for the Lions at Picks 32 and 34
  • Whitefield’s crushes on wide receivers Christian Watson and Alec Pierce
  • Why the Lions should consider trading down to add a fourth-round pick
  • One potential first-round WR that Whitefield is NOT a fan of
  • Breaking down a deep safety class

You can listen to our entire conversation below. Or, if you want an unedited version with almost double the conversation, you can watch the interview on our Twitch page.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.