Todd McShay Throws Rising SEC Defender Into Mix for Lions’ First Pick

Travon Walker

Getty Georgia's Travon Walker speaking during the 2022 NFL combine.

With a month to go, the Detroit Lions still have any number of directions they could go in the 2022 NFL draft, and are pondering what road to travel at this very time.

While many see quarterback as the biggest need that could be in play, others still think the Lions should stick to their guns and draft for defense. If that’s the move, there are any number of directions the Lions could go, including numerous linemen as well as with Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.

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A new name could be rising into the mix for the pick though, at least as ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay is to be concerned. Speaking with fellow draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. about the Detroit pick during a segment, McShay was debating where the Lions could go. While he said he didn’t necessarily see the potential for a quarterback, McShay did think the defenders could be in the mix, and added Georgia’s Travon Walker’s name to the list.

“When you look at some of the other positions they could go, I think edge is also a possibility. Everyone’s going to say well, then maybe we’re back to Hutchinson going one, Kayvon Thibodeaux going two like we talked about in October, November and December. But Travon Walker is a possibility there to be the number two player and the number two edge off the board,” McShay says in the segment with Kiper as posted on Twitter by ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.

Walker has suddenly come into focus for the Lions in plenty of ways. He has surged in terms of odds to be selected with Detroit’s pick, and several mocks have been handing him to the Lions recently. Add it all up and it certainly feels as if one of the freakier athletes in the class could go way higher than many folks expected at the start of this year’s draft process.

McShay seems to think he should be on the list for the Lions moving forward this April.

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:

Travon Walker highlightsNFL defensive end prospect Travon walker highlights2022-01-09T00:56:47Z

Walker over some other big time defensive prospects like Kayvon Thibodeaux and 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.

It will be interesting to see if the Lions do indeed go with a player high on potential like Walker. That could be an outcome to watch for.

Lions Need Defensive Line Help in 2022 Draft

Detroit’s defensive line has been seen as a team weakness for a while, and the team could look to make a move to find upgrades in this draft class. The Lions selected a pair of players in the 2021 draft for the interior in Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill, which may only leave the outside in terms of an upgrade for 2022. That’s part of the reason prospects like Aidan Hutchinson, Thibodeaux and Walker have been thrown into the mix for the Lions. Detroit needs to find a way to rush the passer consistently, and any of those names could give them a great shot at getting it done for the future.

Whether it’s early or later on, the Lions would be well-served to tap into what figures to be a deep class in terms of defensive lineman and pass rushers. Doing so would give them multiple solid young pieces with which to build around up front for their present and future. Walker would offer them a potentially elite player from the best team in football last year and objectively, the best conference in America.

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