In a mock draft from ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, the Detroit Lions go bold, then take a quarterback, in the first round.
The Detroit Lions are in a good spot for the 2022 NFL Draft, in particular with two first-round picks and three of the first 34 selections. With the second overall pick, they have plenty of options to consider.
ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, a former NFL executive for the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, has put his general manager hat back on and entered the mock draft fray with his first rendition for this year, picking the first round for all 32 teams.
Many Lions fans will be disappointed to see Tannenbaum has the Jacksonville Jaguars taking Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson first overall in his mock. But that doesn’t mean said fans should lose interest in the former general manager’s mock.
Detroit Lions go against the grain at No. 2, then take a quarterback to end first round in Tannenbaum’s mock
There is a lot buzz attaching the Lions to Liberty quarterback Malik Willis with the second overall pick. Another dose of mocks has Detroit taking Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker at No. 2. Tannenbaum eschews the “conventional wisdom”.
"2. Detroit LionsAhmad Gardner, CB, CincinnatiIf I’m Detroit, I’m crossing my fingers that Jacksonville goes another way, leaving Hutchinson for an easy win here at No. 2. That’s not how things happened, though. And yes, I know the Lions used the No. 3 overall pick on cornerback Jeff Okudah just two years ago, but I also know he has ended up on injured reserve in both of his pro seasons and has been limited to 10 total games. The Lions gave up the NFL’s third-best opponent QBR (53.4) last year and still need a corner. Gardner didn’t surrender more than 13 yards in a game or a single TD all season in 2021."
The Lions will have “Sauce” Gardner in for a pre-draft visit. So he’s on their radar to some degree, even if it’s easy due diligence in case they move down from No. 2. As a Detroit native, he should count as a local prospect visit and not against Detroit’s alloted top-30 visits.
At No. 32, Tannenbaum has the Lions taking a quarterback.
"32. Detroit Lions (via LAR)Matt Corral, QB, Ole MissGetting the fifth-year option is important for drafting a quarterback. The Ravens used the 32nd pick on Lamar Jackson in 2018, and it gave them an extra year on Jackson’s rookie deal. Detroit — after drafting Gardner earlier — can do the same with Corral. The Lions have Jared Goff under contract, so there’s no need to rush Corral into action, especially because he’s still working his way all the way back from an ankle injury. But he’s a quick prospect with a smooth release. I’m intrigued by the upside here."
Corral seems to have an equal amount of fans and detractors in the draft analyst community. Detractors will point to a remedial, RPO-heavy offense at Ole Miss and an NFL learning curve, while fans (like Tannenbaum, and frankly, me) see the intangible makeup and physical tools that point to upside. As with any quarterback they might draft this year, the Lions have Jared Goff as a placeholder to allow said rookie to sit for a year.
The Lions can do practicaly anything early in this draft and not be wrong in the moment. A shutdown corner and a potential quarterback of the future, in that order, is within the realm of possibility.