The biggest and brightest stars of the 2022 NFL Draft took center stage at the NFL Scout Factory in Indianapolis.
The week-long event allowed the best players eligible for the draft to showcase their strength and athleticism in front of a host of NFL scouts. This stage of the off-season is a precursor to the fact that the draft has become the dominant conversation in football circles.
Detroit Lyons will be selected early and often when the draft begins, but how they use this election remains to be seen.
Back in February, I struck in seven rounds of the ideological draft for the Lions, and now I’m putting on my GM hat again and going into a hypothetical military hall.
Below is my second 2022 layout with seven rounds.
№ 2 overall – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
No changes here, as I have Lions opting for the top EDGE Rusher, available with a second draft choice.
I believe that Jacksonville, despite the offensive hit with the franchise label, Cam Robinson, will seek to strengthen its offensive line by choosing Ikem Ekwan from NC, or Evan Nile from Alabama.
That means Hutchinson will be available to take, and Detroit general manager Brad Holmes has to do just that. The team parted ways with veteran Trey Flowers, also freeing up playing time in the position.
Hutchinson has many connections to the Detroit area, and he should be great for Lions. He is also full of athleticism and a tireless worker, despite the size of his arm and the bend around the edge.
№ 32 overall – Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota
This may seem like a small achievement, but there is reason to believe that Watson shares may continue to rise rapidly as the project approaches. He was one of the best performers of the combine, running on a 4.36 40-yard dash along with his 6 foot 5 frame.
The Lions are expected to be players in a wide market of free agents, but the number of available players lacks a dynamite star. By choosing Watson, the Lions provide a prospect with high-level potential that can contribute immediately.
№ 34 overall – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Another important area of Detroit’s needs is security. In my first attempt the Lions chose Duxton Hill. However, I believe it is more likely that Hill will be qualifying in the first round.
Blue has a similar versatility as Hill, as he can play both in security and in a nickel defender. This versatility is something Detroit lacked last year, as he had to turn to Will Harris on the corner when the team ran out of position due to injury.
Cine, a product from Georgia, was part of the country’s best defense in 2021. Thus, bringing this mentality to Detroit would be beneficial as the Lions seek to recover by building up their defenses.
№ 66 overall – Desmond Reader, QB, Cincinnati
At the beginning of the offseason, I thought that the Lions would not think about taking a defender. However, due to the fact that Reeder came out in the third round, I think he is just worth trying this choice.
Reader was perhaps one of the main signalmen on the combine, showcasing his hand talent as well as his athletic ability. It ran an impressive 4.52 40-yard jerk, and looks part of the QB franchise at 6 feet-3.
The NFL is becoming a game dominated by sports defenders with big hands. While Rider’s arm isn’t the best in its class, his athleticism can be very close to Malik Willis of Liberty.
At the risk of quarterbacks in the middle of the round, he could plant for a year or two from incumbent Jared Goff, while assessing his readiness to act in the league.
№ 97 overall (predicted compensatory choice for NY Giants signed by WR Kenny Goldey) – Darian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
Cincinnati products for Lions when Holmes and company catch a couple of the best players from one of last year’s college football playoff teams.
Physical Beavers are suitable for a prototype of what Campbell is looking for, as Lance Zirlein of NFL.com calls him a “phone booth supporter who is well-trained in taking and advancing blocks between tackles”.
With Beavers there is room for grinding, but it is another part of development. Holmes said the recovery will be linked to the development of players the organization considers gems, and the former Bearcat may be just that.
THE FOURTH ROUND
No current election.
№ 177 overall (projected selection) – Zion McCall, CB, Sam Houston
The product for the small school at McCollum was one of the biggest winners in its position during the combine. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash and impressed training, showing scouts that he had enough athleticism to play with the best competitions.
He, like Beaver, needs to be polished. The competition between the FCS and the NFL will be a tough leap.
Because Detroit deals with second-class injury issues, its time to show its affiliation may come sooner rather than later.
Here, too, some special teams should be unpacked, as the support in the special teams unit is worth the choice in the fifth round.
McCollum is currently seen as an inconspicuous reiser on the call boards and seems to be a reliable option for Day 3.
№ 180 in total – Pierre Strong Jr., Belarus, South Dakota
The topic has evolved over the last few elections when the Lions go with another player who is not attending Power Five conferences at the College of Football.
Strong has excellent open field instincts, and while playing for Jackrabbits, he interrupted 10 test runs of 50 yards or more.
The Lions are facing an interesting backback competition, where D’Andre Swift is recorded as the starter, but questions are behind him. Jamal Williams is assigned number 2 RB, but that’s only if he’s not a victim. I, for one, think that Williams will return to Detroit in 2022.
Apart from these two, Lviv has several young options that still lack experience. Newcomer Jermar Jefferson was selected in the seventh round in 2021, but qualified in just seven games.
By taking Strong, the Lions hook up a potential prospect of gain or decline to bring competition to the rear.
№ 218 overall (projected selection) – Ben Brown, OG, Ole Miss
The Lions will need help in the offensive line. However, this is a need that does not seem too urgent. In the 2022 season, the team must return all of its starting core, but adding a little depth will never hurt.
In this case, Holmes and his brass add physical protection from the SEC. Brown did not perform on the combine due to the fact that he is still recovering from a biceps rupture he received during the regular season.
The Lions are the worst on guard: John Jackson and Halapulivati Waitai hold the fort and support only Tommy Kramer and Logan Stenberg. The latter was not impressive after being called up for a draft in 2020, and could leave if Detroit takes another liner of internal attack.
№ 240 overall – Connor Hayward, TE / FB, Michigan
The Lions are finishing it off with another product in the state, as Holmes chooses a hybrid of a tight end and defender who played for the organization’s American team at the Senior Bowl. I made that choice in the sixth round of my previous layout, but I believe there is now a good chance that Detroit could get Hayward in the seventh.
This choice makes sense for many reasons. First of all, there’s the fact that he seems to be a player who would have liked head coach Dan Campbell. He is athletic and tough, showing in his last year in Michigan that he can do different things to help the crime.
Detroit is certainly tuned when it comes to the starting tight end (with TJ Hockenson). However, Heyward would be a very good work of depth moving forward
This article was prepared by Sports Illustrated / All Lions staff. For more information, visit si.com/nfl/lions.