With the NFL Draft just a few short weeks away we take the time to sift through the abundance of NFL mock drafts to see what experts around the league expect the Detroit Lions to do with their two first-round picks, including the no. 2 overall pick.
I examine NFL Network Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund‘s mock 2.0. In Frelund’s 1.0 version, she had the Detroit Lions selecting Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick, like many of us expected, but now weeks later, many, myself included, anticipate the Michigan edge-rusher to be selected first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There is still a sliver of hope that the Jaguars will select a left tackle, whether it’s Evan Neal or Ickey Ekwonu. Again, the Jags failed to agree with their starting left tackle, Cam Robinson, who is set to play on the franchise tag.
With the uncertainty surrounding Robinson, perhaps the Jaguars will elect to draft a tackle to protect their investment at quarterback for the next five years and look to shop Robinson.
Cynthia Frelund has the Detroit Lions selecting Kyle Hamilton with the no. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Frelund admits that Kyle Hamilton’s position doesn’t fit the draft position. Teams look to maximize their value when making a selection, and position certainly plays a role in determining which prospect to target.
Usually, organizations are looking for a quarterback, edge rusher, left tackle at the top of the draft, followed by a cornerback or even a receiver before you get to linebacker, interior linemen (both sides of the ball), and safety.
Here’s what Frelund has to say about why Hamilton makes sense for the Detroit Lions;
"Hamilton’s versatility makes him the best selection for Detroit at No. 2 overall, as he has the potential to impact several phases of the game and areas of the field. My favorite Hamilton stat? Computer Vision shows he ranks in the 95th percentile in body control (eight-year sample) in plays that resulted in the following: interceptions, pass breakups, effective blitzing, and shutting down outside pass-catchers and slot pass catchers."
Before everyone labels me a Hamilton hater, I believe Hamilton is the best safety in this draft class and perhaps a generational-like talent on the backend.
I prefer to pick an edge-rusher in this spot, whether it is Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, or Travon Walker. The Detroit Lions are not in a position to make a luxury pick at this point in their rebuild. Selecting a receiver or safety this high in the draft would go against the vision Lions general manager Brad Holmes created last season, building from the inside out.
Also, I don’t see much of a drop-off from Hamilton to either Daxton Hill, Jaquan Brisker, or my preferred choice Lewis Cine at the end of the first round or beginning of the second.
The Detroit Lions possess three picks out of the first 34. Holmes will have an opportunity to pick and play an edge rusher, safety, and either linebacker or receiver, depending on who is available and where they rank on their draft board.
Although I can’t entirely agree with the choices, Frelund addresses the same issues in her latest mock draft but in reverse order. With the no. 32 overall pick, Frelund has the Detroit Lions selecting edge-rusher David Ojabo. Unfortunately, the Michigan product suffered a torn Achilles during his Pro Day and is expected to miss his entire rookie season.
Ojabo is an ultra-talented pass-rusher that hasn’t reached his full potential. He’s a bit raw, but before the injury was widely considered a top-15 pick.
I like Ojabo’s overall potential; I believe he will be a superb pro, but I have a few concerns with his skill-set at the NFL level; plus, this injury shouldn’t be overlooked.
I feel that Okabo fits more of a 3-4 defensive front as more of a stand-up edge-rusher or outside linebacker. The Detroit Lions are shifting gears and are expected to use a lot more four-man fronts in 2022 when they are in their base defense. I feel like the perfect landing spot for the outside rusher would be in Pittsburgh or even Baltimore.
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In Frelund’s 1.0, she had Penn State’s Johan Dotson tabbed to be the pick at no. 32.