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APC Community Mock Draft: Lions set to pick at No. 2

With the Jaguars selecting edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson #1, the Lions are now on the clock

NCAA Football: Missouri at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Things went as expected with the #1 pick as the Jaguars chose Aidan Hutchinson out of Michigan. The Jags now have cornerstones on offense and defense as they look to rebuild and get out of the top spot in the 2023 draft. We now look ahead to the Detroit Lions at #2. After trading Matthew Stafford and triggering a rebuild last offseason, the Lions failed to record a win until December 5th and finished the season 3-13-1.

The team was quiet in free agency but signed DJ Chark to a 1-year deal. The question now is who will be throwing him the ball. Jared Goff performed as expected last season, albeit with a poor supporting cast, and the Lions could look to replace him here. While a QB would be a reach in such a weak class, the Lions may be enticed by the arm talent of Malik Willis. On the other side of the ball, Detroit did not have a player record double-digit sacks last year and could use a game-breaker on their defense. Travon Walker, one of the top Combine performers, and Kayvon Thibodeaux are both in contention here.


Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Willis is a swing for the fences type of pick. A decision that gets GM’s fired or given a lifetime extension. Despite poor competition in college, Willis displayed all the necessary traits to be an NFL QB. At times, his escapability, rocket arm, and ball placement downfield worked in perfect harmony, resulting in a QB that left scouts foaming at the mouth. The problem, of course, is that interspersed between these highs were a fair share of lows. Inconsistency and turnovers were the name of the game for Willis in 2021 and cleaning up mechanics will be the first order of business for the team that drafts him. Still, there’s no doubt that all the ingredients are here for a dynamic playmaker and that unlimited upside will be worth the risk to someone in the 1st round.

It’s no secret that the Lions need more from the Quarterback position. Replacing a franchise QB is never easy, and the Lions learned that lesson up close and personal last season. But with a strong QB class in 2023 and little path toward contention this year, would they be better off waiting?

Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Of this draft’s top 3 edge rushers, Travon Walker may be the freakiest. Posting a 9.99 RAS, Walker is a one year starter who was a pivotal part of Georgia’s ferocious defense last season, posting 7.5 TFL and 6 sacks. He can play just about anywhere on the line due to his rare athleticism at 272 pounds and is solid against the run, Walker will need to develop his secondary rush moves at the next level, but the focus on one position in the league should help there. With Romeo Okwara set to return from injury, the Lions may feel they can roll with their current crop of rushers, but adding an athletic marvel like Walker up front could only help.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Long considered the top edge rusher in the draft, Thibodeaux has fallen down boards recently. On the field, Thibodeaux has shown he is a force to be reckoned with, if not a bit raw as a prospect. Another freak athlete, he possesses a fantastic blend of speed and power that aids him in pursuit of the quarterback and against the run. He will need to improve at stringing together his moves at the next level to reach his lofty ceiling and clean up penalties, but the ceiling is just as high as Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker. Dan Campbell has been vocal about his love for Thibodeaux’s tape and if the concerns about his desire to be great turn out to be hogwash, he could certainly be the selection here.


Poll

Who will the Lions select at #2?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
    (110 votes)
  • 36%
    Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
    (197 votes)
  • 42%
    Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
    (227 votes)
534 votes total Vote Now

That’s all for the top 2 picks in the draft! Will the Lions begin their future with Malik Willis? Or will they bolster their front seven and punt the QB decision to 2023? Be sure to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco).

Tomorrow we return with the Houston Texans and the New York Jets at #3 and #4 picks, respectively.