The Detroit Lions drafted two instant impact players on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft, securing Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with pick No. 2, and Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams after trading up to pick No. 12.
The trade-up for Williams was a smooth piece of maneuvering by general manager Brad Holmes (a trade most thought the Lions convincingly won). However, the aggressiveness does leave them with just two picks on Day 2, and three on Day 3 to add more talent—assuming Holmes doesn’t start making phone calls again.
So, if the Lions stay put and continue to fill needs with the best player available approach, who might they select? Let’s head back to the draft simulator and take a shot at projecting what Holmes may do the rest of the draft.
Round 2, pick 46: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
After three safeties went in the first round, the Lions were fortunate to see Brisker last 14 picks into the second round and they would be wise to grab him at this spot. It’s possible they could try and wait until their next selection for a safety, but with pick No. 66 gone in the trade, there’s no guarantee any of the other safeties with starter-level potential make it that far. The Lions could have also looked linebacker here, but that position group is a bit deeper and Brisker is an excellent value pick at this spot.
A solid split-zone safety with box potential, Brisker is a terrific tackler, with plus instincts and ball skills. He’s a nice balanced player who can compete with DeShon Elliott for playing time next to Tracy Walker, and would be the expected starter in 2023.
Round 3, pick 97: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
Speed is the name of the game for Tindall, who never started a game at Georgia, but was a heavy part of their rotation. He’s an enforcer-like player who explodes to the ball and is able to track down running backs and tight ends with ease. He is still a project at this stage, but he has starter potential and would pair nicely with Derrick Barnes.
Round 5, pick 177: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Bellinger started on the Lions’ coached Senior Bowl roster and was voted by his teammates as the best tight end on the roster that week, beating out UCLA’s Greg Dulchich and Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely, who were both off the board at this pick in this simulation.
So might Bellinger last longer in the draft than the other two in the actual draft? He certainly could because he’s not as dynamic a pass catcher, but for what the Lions want in a TE2, he is an ideal player. One of the best blocking tight ends in the draft, Bellinger can line up inline, split into the slot, and in the backfield as an H-back. Aggressive and tough, as well as position versatile sounds exactly like the kind of tight end Lions coach Dan Campbell would love to have on the roster.
Round 6, pick 188: Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State
One of the rare players who attended the Senior Bowl (on the Jets coached roster) but not the NFL Combine, Johnson was brought to Allen Park for a top-30 visit so he could meet with Lions coaches.
A 3/5-technique with plus explosion, Johnson is a strike-first defensive lineman who is comfortable in both 1- and 2-gapping schemes. He is still developing as a player, but he is talented enough to push John Penisini and Jashon Cornell for a reserve role that can grow with development.
Round 6, pick 217: Hasaan Haskins, RB, Michigan
While Hutchinson was the leader of Michigan’s defense, Haskins was the soul of their offense. He’ll likely be limited to a power/third-down role in the NFL, but the three-year starter has an intriguing combination of skills and could develop into one-half of a two-headed running back tandem. The Lions lack a power back in their RB room, and while Haskins can comfortably fill that role, it’d be his pass blocking and ability to contribute on special teams that would get him on the active roster on game days.