We are just eight hours (depending on when you are reading this) away from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft and we will soon know who the Detroit Lions will select with the No. 2 and No. 32 overall picks. If they keep those picks.
Well, Nick Baumgardner and Chris Burke of The Athletic have released their final Lions 7-round mock draft and they have the Lions trading the No. 32 overall pick to the New Orleans Saints for additional draft picks.
But first, Baumgardner and Burke have the Lions using the No. 2 overall pick to select EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon.
To be clear: We don’t know for sure, but if Travon Walker goes No. 1 to the Jaguars, we’d expect the Lions to be down to Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2. It’s possible Hutchinson is the pick — his personality fit with Dan Campbell’s culture and potential inside Aaron Glenn’s defense can’t be ignored. Neither can the impact of Thibodeaux as the best pass rusher in this class. Thibodeaux’s game has to continue to mature but his athletic ceiling as a pass rusher feels higher. The Lions aren’t afraid of personalities and the culture in Campbell’s locker room, if built properly (so far, so good), could be a great place for him.
In the end, we went with Brad Holmes’ familiarity with Thibodeaux from years of scouting work as the deciding factor here. But it’s very difficult. — Nick Baumgardner
Baumgardner and Burke then have the Lions trading the No. 32 overall pick to the Saints for No. 49, No. 98, and a 2023 fifth-round pick.
Then with the No. 34 overall pick, they have the Lions selecting S Lewis Cine out of Georgia.
We were pretty determined to move off No. 32, either up if Derek Stingley Jr., Kyle Hamilton or one of the top-tier receivers slid, or down to stockpile picks. The trade-up options didn’t really materialize, though, hence the Saints trade. An alternative offer from the Seahawks, just for you to chew on: Nos. 40, 145 and 229 for 32.
The board at 34 still showed Cine, Georgia linebackers Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker, and receivers like Christian Watson, Skyy Moore and George Pickens. Cine was the pick because of the dynamic combination he offers as an over-the-top safety who can thump in the box. The Lions have to address this position in the draft, and ideally do it before getting too deep into Day 2. — Chris Burke