Detroit Lions double up on edge rushers in first-round mock
In need of pass rush help, the Detroit Lions double-up on edge rushers in the first round of a recent mock draft.
By nearly any measure, the Detroit Lions had one of the NFL’s worst pass rushes during the 2021 season. Injury absences by Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers could not be totally overcome by Charles Harris’ breakout season and Julian Okwara having some good moments.
It’s practically a foregone conclusion the Lions will take one of the top edge rushers in the 2022 draft with the second overall pick. It’s just a matter of it’ll be Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, despite ideas out there pointing to them getting cute with another edge rusher, or taking someone at another position entirely at No. 2.
When it comes down to it, there’s no such thing as too many good pieces in a couple key areas on a defense–edge rushers and cornerbacks. The Lions happen to need reinforcements at both of those spots too.
Detroit Lions double-dip on edge rushers in first round of mock draft
James Dator of SB Nation released a fresh 2022 first-round mock on Monday. At No. 2 overall, the pick for the Lions was Hutchinson.
"No. 2: Detroit Lions — Aidan Hutchinson, DE, MichiganThis is an incredibly safe pick for a team that’s slowly building into something impressive. Hutchinson is a great local pick that fans will love, but it also happens to be that he’s the best defensive end in the draft. A plug-and-play difference maker from day one, this feels like the perfect selection for the Lions."
There will be plenty of options with the No. 32 pick to wrap up the first round. Dator has Detroit going for another edge rusher.
"No. 32: Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) — Drake Jackson, EDGE, USCInitially I had the Lions cashing in their pick from the Matthew Stafford trade here, but I think they will hold off until the second round. This board leaves Matt Corral, Carson Strong, and Desmond Ritter — all of whom could be taken here, but instead I think the Lions opt to get the next best pass rusher available. Yes, I know they took Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick, but Jackson is solid value here and will help re-make the defense in short order."
With another pick coming early in the second round at No. 34 and three quarterbacks sure to be there in his mock, Dator has the Lions going with edge rusher Drake Jackson at No. 3. He is being widely mocked somewhere late in the first round, so it’s not a reach at all. The USC product averaged nearly a tackle for loss per game in three seasons as a Trojan, with 12.5 sacks in 27 career games.
Doubling up on edge rushers in the first round before getting a quarterback of the future like Corral, Strong or Ridder early in the second looks like a scenario the Lions would be happy with. Time will tell how likely it becomes, and if it even lands as a viable possibility.