Like it or not, and with Aidan Hutchinson gone first overall here, Willis is among the options for the Lions with the second overall pick. This goes against the grain of what’s been said within the organization about getting an immediate contributor at No. 2, but remember we’ve been in lying season since the Senior Bowl in early February.
If the Lions like Willis enough, taking him second overall will be an equally a reasonable and aggresssive bet on his upside as a future franchise quarterback. He can sit for a year behind Jared Goff, and be ready to take over in 2023. If they do it, they just can’t be wrong.
Dean’s stock seems to be falling, possibly all the way out of the first round by some accounts. But he is no worse than the second-best off the ball linebacker in this draft, with the intangibles and all-around skill in spades (72 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, five pass breakups and two interceptions last season).
Dean would be an immediate starter for the Lions, with no one in their linebacking corps close to his talent level or upside.
The simulator had the Lions accept a trade offer from the Carolina Panthers here. For No. 34, Detroit acquired pick No. 137 this year (fourth round), then first-round and seventh-round picks in 2023.
I don’t love giving up pick 34, but Carolina’s first-round pick next year could be quite good if they’re as bad as it seems they could be. And a previous 80-pick wait for the Lions this weekend, from late in the third round to late in the fifth, has been closed some.
If you’re interested, the PFN simulator had the Panthers take North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell with the 34th pick.