With the 2022 NFL draft coming up tonight, we are out of time to do any more scouting reports and out of patience to look at a 1,000th mock draft from any source you can find hoping to find one of your favorite teams taking the exact player you want them to.
That being said, I have done my final mock draft using The Draft Network and let the picks fall as they may. One last one with the mindset of how I think the Detroit Lions will draft, not just how I want them to. Also, no do-overs or redrafts if I don’t like who did not fall to me or I got an insane unrealistic trade offer. Still, I got two of the top four picks for the Lions right here so let’s see how I do this year.
1.02 (2 Overall)
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
With their first pick in the draft, the Lions get lucky and take the safest and most pro-ready player in the draft that just so happens to be in a position of need as well. Aidan Hutchinson plays well against the pass and run game, and does not have any notable shortcomings. The only knock on him: How high is his ceiling?
Other edge players have more of a boom-or-bust chance but Hutchinson has by far the highest floor. After his record-setting season last year, highlighted by leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff, the Michigan native will not have to move very far to continue his career.
1.32 (32 Overall)
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The 2021 Butkus Award winner as the nation’s best linebacker is an easy choice for Detroit if he is still available this late in the draft. Nakobe Dean can blitz and put pressure on the quarterback as well as drop-in coverage, either zone taking up the middle of the field or man-to-man on the running back (which in this day and age in football is a must as every team’s running back seems like a receiver out of the backfield). I see him as more of a “Will” linebacker at the next level instead of the “Mike” that he played in college.
2.02 (34 Overall)
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Jaquan Brisker is a day-one plug-and-play starter next to Tracy Walker III. He can cover in man or zone and is the only safety in this draft class to have an 80.0 or higher grade by Pro Football Focus in both types of coverage. Moreover, the Penn State prospect can come down into the box and play in the run support as well as drop into the slot and play man-to-man on the slot receiver and hold his own. This do-it-all safety would be the best option at the position in most classes but is now behind Kyle Hamilton and possibly Georgia’s Lewis Cine.
3.02 (66 Overall)
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
With their first third-round pick, the Lions will take an absolute weapon on offense with John Metchie III. He has a tremendous start-and-stop speed and is a threat to score anytime the ball is in his hands. Metchie can play both in the slot and out wide. His targets have only trended downhill over the course of his career at Alabama because he played alongside greats such as DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs III. He will pair well with the Detroit’s new free-agent signing DJ Chark, adding more speed and quickness to the offense.
3.33 (97 Overall)
Cade Otton, TE, Washington
With their second third-round pick, the lions select Cade Otton, the 6’5, 250 lbs tight end from Washington. The big body Otton is a solid run blocker in line and was also used as a lead blocker out of the backfield in situations. Furthermore, he struggles to get separation in his routes but is a sure-handed receiver and does a good job of catching balls with his hands away from his body. He will compliment TJ Hockenson well as he can stay in to block while Hock runs the routes or be used as a mismatch in the red zone himself.
5.34 (177 Overall)
Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
Jack Jones may or may not be on the Lions’ radar due to his past legal issues, but at this point in the draft, the talent is worth the risk. Jones started as an outside corner with the ability to kick inside if needed as a true freshman at USC. Then, he had some academic issues before his legal troubles.
The Trojan defensive back lacks some size and strength and at times can struggle to get off his block in the run game. The good news is that’s where his flaws end: he has great hips and better in-game closing speed than the 40-yard dash he registered (4.51). Also, the Long Beach native has solid hands and will not drop interceptions as often as other corners, also being a threat to return them once the ball is in his hands. Finally, Jones is not afraid to hit and is a willing tackler.
6.02 (181 Overall)
Chris Owens, IOL, Alabama
Chris Owens was a backup for the Crimson Tide but took snaps over his career at center, guard, and tackle. Meanwhile, Detroit love linemen who can play multiple roles. The Lions were hit with the injury bug on their offensive line last winter, with every starter on their offensive line missing at least one game.
Owens is a better run blocker than a pass blocker. However, he is a big man who can move bodies in the run game. With his versatility and power blocking, Owens is a no-brainer for the Lions at this point in the draft, primarily as an insurance policy.
6.39 (217 Overall)
Joshua Ross, LB, Michigan
Michigan linebacker Joshua Ross is one of the Wolverines’ leaders. He has been voted as a captain in back-to-back seasons. Ross excels in the run game, as well as blitzing on passing downs from the middle. Michigan’s leader is not the best cover linebacker, but if he did not have holes in his game he would not last until Pick 217. His upside is nice for someone this late in the draft and would be a valuable special teams addition as well.