The Detroit Lions will have a decision to make in the coming month about what direction to take in the 2022 NFL draft, and whether or not to grab a quarterback will play a big role in that.
At this point, the position hasn’t been seen as a spot where teams must pick in 2022 given the relative lack of depth there or possible lack of elite impact makers, but apparently Malik Willis has shifted that narrative considerably for Detroit, sitting with the second-overall pick. After a solid pro day, many now believe the team could look in his direction with a selection.
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While some think defense is the way to go, insiders do believe that there is a good chance the Lions think about the quarterback spot and perhaps even elect to go for it with an early pick. Recently, ESPN analysts Jordan Reid and Matt Miller took a look at some early draft buzz, and their first move was to address the quarterback elephant in the room for Detroit. As Miller said, there is a chance the Lions make the move because Wills is a player that the team could easily “draft and develop” for the future.
Miller wrote, “the Lions are certainly in play for a quarterback — or a possible trade back slightly in Round 1 to allow an offensive tackle-hungry team to come up the board yet still keep themselves in position to draft Liberty’s Malik Willis.”
The back and forth has been notable in recent days with many maintaining the Lions should stick with defense while others saying the team needs to focus on finding a quarterback given their lack of a long-term option on the roster for the future. What is truth and what is fiction has been blurred, and that’s perhaps the way Brad Holmes wants it for leverage sake given desires for a potential trade.
Regardless, the insiders believe that Willis to the Lions is something that could play out in a big way next month.
Matt Miller, Jordan Reid Project Lions to Draft Willis
Based on this analysis and information, the insiders projected some picks in the top 10. When it came to Detroit’s pick, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson was already off the board to Jacksonville. Detroit, according to Miller, will draft Malik Willis with the second-overall selection in that scenario.
“Detroit won’t find a player with his upside or traits with its second first-round pick (No. 32). If the Lions are going in on a quarterback this draft, it should be Willis,” Miller said in his writeup. For his part, Reid agreed with that assessment of things when he slotted Willis to Detroit as well and projected that connection will happen plenty in the near-future in mocks.
As Reid wrote, the Lions have “a ready-made offensive line, an ideal bridge option in Jared Goff and cap space to build around a young quarterback.”
Add it up and it’s clear that the Lions are a team that could surprise some and pick a quarterback when all is said and done. Both insiders think it will be Willis with the second-overall selection this year.
Willis’s College Stats & Highlights
Willis will likely be one of the most intriguing prospects during the upcoming draft class, and he already has some intriguing numbers to boast heading into that period. Ahead of his senior year on the field, Willis has put up 2,319 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also has 1,253 rushing yards and 16 scores on the ground to his credit. Here’s some highlights:
Thus far this year, Willis has been no slouch with the numbers either, putting up 27 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions with 2,857 yards passing through the 2021 season. He has taken on the look of an intriguing, toolsy quarterback and that remained through the combine and evaluation process.
Willis is gaining in the hype now, and the chance will be there for the team to take the next step and make him their quarterback. Some see it happening soon.
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