Mel Kiper Reveals Quarterback Surprise for Lions in New Mock Draft

Mel Kiper

Getty Mel Kiper on ESPN's set during the 2007 NFL Draft.

The Detroit Lions are getting set to attack the offseason, and a major part of that revolves around what the team will do in the NFL draft.

Early on in the process, a bit of a consensus has formed as it relates to what the Lions will do. Most outside of a few mocks see the Lions pursuing a defender early, then adding offense with their second first-round selection. What spot they add to the offense has been a matter of early debate between many prognosticators.

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ESPN’s Mel Kiper added another layer to that discussion in his updated 2022 mock draft. Kiper unsurprisingly had the Lions going with Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the second-overall pick. It was a decision that he called a “no-brainer” thanks to the fact that Thibodeaux is quick, and the kind of player who can easily get around opposing offensive tackles with ease. He also fits the Lions given the need they will have at the spot.

Where things get interesting within Kiper’s mock is with Detroit’s second first-round selection. There, he has the team taking quarterback Sam Howell from North Carolina. As Kiper explains, the Lions do have a lot of needs, but it would make sense to gamble on a quarterback for the future that the team likes. As for why that could be Howell, Kiper says that the quarterback throws a nice deep ball and has good touch even if his evaluation figures to be a tricky one.

Many have seen the Lions going with a wideout to supplement their offense in the first-round, which might be a good way for them to build up the offense. Even such, a quarterback has seemed like a major need for a few years. Whether or not Howell is the guy will be determined likely in-part by the Senior Bowl. Howell will be on Detroit’s team there, giving them a rare close-up with the key prospect.

Perhaps that’s why the Lions are linked with Howell in this mock draft.

Thibodeaux’s Stats & Highlights

Thibodeaux is an interesting prospect considering his penchant for getting to the quarterback and making big plays up front. Coming into this season, Thibodeaux had collected 90 career tackles, 14 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss thus far in his college career. In 2021, he followed that up with a decent year given 49 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Here’s some of his top work on the field:

Kayvon Thibodeaux 🔥 Scariest Player in College Football ᴴᴰKayvon Thibodeaux Highlights college football pump up nfl draft2021-11-29T23:58:46Z

It’s obvious that Thibodeaux has the physical tools to be great in the league, so it will be interesting to see how he tests and what the offseason process looks like. That will be his next step, even as he continues to see love in mock drafts for the Lions. Kiper seems to appreciate him in this slot for Detroit.

Howell’s College Stats and Highlights

When thinking about him as a prospect for Detroit this year, Howell was an interesting potential selection for the team. He had thrown for 7,227 yards in his career and 68 touchdowns with just 14 interceptions entering this season. In 2021, Howell has thrown for 3,056 yards and 24 touchdowns. As a result, he is trending toward being one of the better pro prospects that can be picked up this year. No longer is he considered a top 10 selection, but could be lurking as a potential first-round pick as Kiper explains.

Here’s a look at some of Howell’s highlights from 2020:

North Carolina QB Sam Howell 2020 Highlights ❄️❄️❄️ ᴴᴰSubscribe, Like this Video & Turn On Notifications! (↓↓ click show more ↓↓) Instagram: Twitter: Patreon: Facebook: North Carolina QB Sam Howell Sophomore 6’1 225 lbs North Carolina QB Sam Howell is one of the top prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. Ever since his first collegiate start, he has been…2021-05-26T00:00:00Z

Whether the Lions look to quarterback or not remains to be seen, but it’s obvious that the team may have a big decision to weigh when all is said and done. Kiper thinks the Lions will go with the quarterback after addressing the defense at this point.

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