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The Detroit Lions have been much maligned as a franchise for most of their existence. This is the first team to go 0-16 as we know…but not to be understated, the franchise could bounce back from that and the 2021 season.
The new regime made the team competitive in 2021, losing some heartbreakers along the way. The team needs a pick me up and a “face” of the franchise. Here is how this year’s draft class could look.
Round 1, Pick 2: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Round 1, Pick 32: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Detroit tried the Trey Flowers experience and got nothing but thorns. Flowers only produce 10.5 sacks in three seasons and the Lions need a dynamic player on defense. They also need a receiver after letting star Kenny Golladay go to New York in free agency.
The Lions should go the Washington Commanders route here and take Aiden Hutchinson with the second overall pick. He is the most polished pass rusher in the draft and luckily is right in the backyard of Detroit.
Pickens is a big body receiver with deceptive speed. His route running is also very solid and he would come in and become WR1 as a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 2: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
Round 3, Pick 2: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
Round 3, Pick 33: Chases Hines, OL, LSU
Continuing the trend of improving both sides of the ball, the Lions should get some talent on day two!
Detroit dips in the Alabama pot to take Armour-Davis and Battle at the top of the second and third rounds. Armour-Davis is a long and physical corner with a nasty streak in the run game. Jeff Okudah has yet to live up to his hype but getting him a running mate could light a fire under him.
To bolster the safety spot, Battle comes in as one of the better instinct players in the draft. His combination of size, speed and agility makes him a good candidate to start at either safety spot as a rookie.
Hines is a force that can move men up front as well as pass protect. Sticking him next to Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell will give Detroit a solid front to protect Jared Goff and open the offense.
Round 5, Pick 34: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
Round 6, Pick 2: DJ Dale, DT, Alabama
Round 6, Pick 40: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
Round 7, Pick 13: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Round 7, Pick 21: Changa Hodge, WR, VA Tech
Day three has a lot of picks that will be “depth guys” but the highlights could be Brock Purdy and Changa Hodge.
Jared Goff might be a bridge quarterback at this point in his NFL career and Purdy has all the tools to be a starter in this league. He has a good arm, deep ball accuracy, anticipation, poise in the pocket and his mobility is a plus. Sitting for a year or two will give him time to develop a little more, but all in all, he is solid for a 5th round QB.
Hodge has everything Pickens gives you but with more explosion. He is a natural hands catcher and could easily overtake the group on the roster as the WR2 on the team. He is a smooth athlete with nice wiggle at the top of routes and at 6’1” and 207 lbs, he won’t lack physicality.
Other notable names that could be contributors for Detroit are Tyler Allgeier and DJ Dale. Allgeier is a versatile three down back with a nice patient running style which is perfect for the zone scheme the Lions run. Dale comes in as a polished run stopper with some issues as far as pass rushing goes but that could get better as he develops.
This could be the draft that solidifies Lions’ future with the NFC North getting a little older.