The Detroit Lions have become a team that needs multiple upgrades on both sides of the ball for 2022, and the defense is one side of the ball that could use the most in terms of improvement.
A big way for the Lions to get that improvement could be to prioritize defense with both early picks, and some folks have assumed that will be what the team will do when all is said and done. A new mock draft showed them doing just that, and perhaps even in the best way possible for the roster.
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Recently, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com and the NFL Network put together his new mock draft. Within, he had the Lions going with a pair of players from Georgia. With the second-overall pick, Jeremiah had the team selecting Travon Walker, an elite edge rusher from the Bulldogs who enjoyed a very elite NFL combine.
As Jeremiah wrote, “Walker has the athleticism and scheme versatility to fit in with any of the teams at the top of the draft.” According to Jeremiah, the best fit for him in this mock near the top is Detroit.
From there, the analyst was not done. He managed to scoop up Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean with the 32nd pick in the draft. As he explained about Dean, if he lasted to that point, he “would be the best value pick of the first round.”
Given the success Georgia had and the way they have put players into the pros, this kind of draft might be a good thing for the Lions and certainly represents something intriguing in mock season.
Dean’s Stats & Highlights
Dean had a solid career with the Bulldogs putting up 168 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 7 passes defended to go with 3 forced fumbles. The tape shows what an explosive athlete he is on the field, something he routinely was able to do with Georgia en-route to their elite season on the field in 2021-22.
By drafting Dean, the Lions would have effectively shored up one of their biggest holes from the 2021 season at linebacker. They need elite young players at the position, and Dean would offer one. Pairing him with Derrick Barnes could make for a very formidable duo in a few years as the pair learns the league together. Detroit has to hope he doesn’t go early to make this dream a reality.
Walker’s Stats & Highlights
In terms of Walker, there is no doubt he is beginning to rise. After he enjoyed an electric weekend on the field in Indianapolis, Walker could be sneaking up draft boards. His 4.5 40 yard-dash was simply an unheard of athletic feat for a man of his size. Walker also has the production to back those stats, with 61 tackles and 9.5 sacks in his college career:
Walker over some other big time defensive prospects like Kayvon Thibodeaux and safety Kyle Hamilton would be debated intensely, but after the combine performance, the Lions could feel good about the selection. It would represent a bit of a gamble, but it could be one that pays off handsomely for Detroit’s defense in time.
Given the success Georgia had on the field, making two additions to the Lions roster from the team might not represent the worst idea in the world.
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