Todd McShay Reveals Brand New ‘Slam-Dunk’ Mock Draft for Lions

Sam Howell

Getty Sam Howell fires a pass for UNC during a 2021 game.

The Detroit Lions are getting prepared for the NFL Combine in a few weeks time, and before that process plays out, the mock drafts are flying in fast and furious projecting what could happen for teams in a few months time.

Detroit is one of the teams in an interesting position given the fact that they have a pair of first-round picks, and there are multiple ways the team can look about improving themselves for the future and continuing upon the young nucleus that has been built already.

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After the Senior Bowl and just ahead of the NFL Combine, ESPN analyst Todd McShay has revealed his new mock draft in an insider piece. McShay has the Lions going defense and offense in the first round, nabbing a pair of impact players at both spots. With the team’s first pick, McShay has the Lions selecting Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

As McShay explained, getting Hutchinson is a “slam-dunk” scenario for the team given he is local, productive and how much he can take over a game.

Where things get a bit more interesting is with the 32nd pick. McShay has the Lions rolling the dice on a quarterback, specifically North Carolina’s Sam Howell. McShay writes that he believes Howell would be able to step in well given his ability to make throws in spite of footwork limitations, and could sit behind Jared Goff and learn the ropes before taking over as the team’s starter.

There’s been many different scenarios mapped out, but this would be an interesting one to chart as it relates to turning around Detroit’s future.

McShay’s Aidan Huchinson Pick a Major Deviation

Just a month ago, McShay was doing a rapid-fire mock draft and had the Lions going with Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with their second-overall selection. As for why, he said that Thibodeaux has more athletic upside, but admitted that the choice between him or Hutchinson would be a “1 or 1A” type scenario for the team if they were faced with it during the draft. With this pick in his mock, it’s clear McShay could be circling back around to the Lions nabbing a player who has proven college production to rely on in Hutchinson.

The draft evaluation between Hutchinson and Thibodeaux might be tough considering the solid way in which both players play. As McShay and others have written, it could be more about figuring out which player could help a talent-hungry team like Detroit more immediately in 2022. To that end, Hutchinson could end up being the perfect pick for Detroit, which could by why McShay referred to the team selecting him as a slam-dunk scenario.

Howell’s College Stats & Highlights

When thinking about him as a prospect for Detroit this year, Howell has long been an interesting potential selection for the team to consider. 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, even if he is now overshadowed in his own class. No longer is he considered a top 20 selection, but could be lurking as a potential first-round pick or high second-round pick for a team like Detroit.

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

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 with taking a signal caller. The fifth-year option could prove a variable which tips the scales for a quarterback like Howell in the end if the Lions do need one.

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