It’s officially NFL Draft week, which means rumors are going to be running rampant. As always, you should treat them with grains of salt and consider the source the rumors are coming from before drawing any conclusions.
That said, Peter King of Pro Football Talk has been around for a very long time and has built up a pretty solid reputation. On Monday, he published his weekly “Football Morning in America” column, which served as his one and only mock draft. It’s filled with interesting tidbits about each team, but as it pertains to the Detroit Lions, the top of the draft is most intriguing.
With the first pick, he has the Jaguars taking Georgia edge defender Travon Walker. That’s a selection that has been picking up steam as of late, and King credits a source with his decision.
“Expect a surprise, I heard out of Jacksonville recently,” King wrote.
King admits that could mean a number of things, but one thing it probably doesn’t mean is Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson—the long-presumed favorite to go first overall—being drafted by Jacksonville.
At this point, Walker going first overall may not even be considered a surprise. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Walker is now the favorite to be the first overall pick (-150) over Hutchinson (+135).
With Hutchinson sliding to two, King couldn’t let him slip past the Lions for all of the reasons everyone believes Detroit would like him. His motor will be a perfect fit for Dan Campbell, and the kid eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He was also an absolute menace on the field in 2021, setting a Michigan record for sacks in a season and coming up second in Heisman voting.
That being said, King does drop an interesting rumor before moving on.
“Some late buzz about the Lions being smitten with Kayvon Thibodeaux and strongly considering him here,” King wrote. “I just can’t see them passing on Hutchinson.”
The rumors are all over the place with Kayvon Thibodeaux, but this seems to follow the recent trend that he’s possibly the favorite to go second overall.
Later in King’s mock, the Lions trade out of the 32nd overall pick with the Atlanta Falcons, who jump up and grab Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. In this scenario, Corral was just the second quarterback taken in the first round, with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking Kenny Pickett with the 20th pick. The return for Detroit in the trade: Atlanta’s 43rd overall pick and a 2023 second-round pick.