They may have finished 3-13-1 in the 2021 regular season, but don’t let this Detroit Lions team fool you — they’re trending up. Dan Campbell’s players play hard for him, and there’s a strengthening young core of talent. Now locked into the No. 2 overall pick, the Lions turn their attention to the 2022 NFL Draft. In this Detroit Lions 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Campbell and Brad Holmes build on the improvements made in Year 1 and inch one step closer to true contention.
Detroit Lions 7-Round NFL Mock Draft
The Lions currently own nine total picks in the 2022 NFL Draft — two first-round picks, one second-round pick, two third-round picks, a fifth-round pick, two sixth-round picks, and a seventh-round pick.
Using those selections, we conducted a 7-Round Detroit Lions 2022 NFL Mock Draft using PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator. There are no trades for the time being. For now, let’s simply get accustomed to the finalized draft order after Week 18.
Round 1, Pick 2: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
If you’re a Michigan resident, chances are you’re happy with this pick — and I can’t blame you. There’s been talk about whether Aidan Hutchinson is worth the hype. His arms are shorter than most edge rushers who go this high. And his relatively quiet performance against Georgia, on the second-biggest stage in college football, drew whispers of doubt.
Nevertheless, a viewing of the tape confirms that Hutchinson is worth the top-five NFL Draft buzz. He’s explosive and tenacious off the snap, with a red-hot motor and wicked fast hands. With his closing burst and ferocity, he can generate ample power. And with his searing pursuit speed and flexibility, he can surge into the pocket and make QBs regret stepping back to pass.
Round 1, Pick 27: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The 2022 NFL Draft’s EDGE group is one of the strongest in recent memory, so why not double-dip in Round 1?
The Lions will presumably get Romeo Okwara back from injury in 2023, but even then, they’d do well to strengthen their rotation and add more versatility. When you add an absolute freak like Travon Walker along the way, the opportunity costs seem smaller and smaller.
At 6’5″, 275 pounds, Walker is an albatross on the field. With a massive wingspan, he generates certifiably elite power at the point of attack. But beyond that, he has a quick first step, scary lateral agility, and the versatility to rush from all across the line. Put him at 3-technique alongside Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike, or line him up at 5-technique opposite Hutchinson. Either way, he’s going to eat.
Round 2, Pick 34: Drake London, WR, USC
This was a value deal that proved impossible to pass on. The sun god Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a major steal for the Lions, but Detroit needs more firepower outside of the USC product. With his former teammate still on the board at the top of Round 1, the choice is easy. Drake London is coming to Detroit.
London’s ankle fracture could be enough to push him just outside Round 1. But London had surgery and is on track to recover.
When he was fully healthy for USC, London was absolutely dominant. He looms over defenders like the shadow of a tsunami wave and snares the football in the air with just as much violent authority. His elite contested-catch ability at 6’5″, 210 pounds is reminiscent of prime Plaxico Burress, but he’s a physical bull after the catch as well, and a smooth athlete.
Round 3, Pick 66: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Lions technically have Jared Goff as their starter. He’s experienced and an able quarterback in a limited capacity. But if your quarterback can’t elevate your team, then your chances of competing in the playoffs drastically decrease. More likely than not, this Lions 2022 NFL Mock Draft won’t stop the Lions from looking at Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud in 2023. But Desmond Ridder is worth the swing in Round 3.
Ridder is a talented quarterback with the physical potential to be an impact starter. He’s a great athlete with exceptional off-script ability and a live arm that can layer across the field. The problem with Ridder, however, is that he’s maddeningly inconsistent with his mechanics and accuracy, even after four years as a starter. Still, Ridder has high-end talent, and he’s a great leader with top-notch character. Sitting behind Goff for a year, perhaps he could iron out some inconsistencies and earn an opportunity in Year 2.
Round 3, Pick 98: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
Channing Tindall isn’t going to be the MIKE linebacker that the Lions have been searching for over the past 200 years. But at this point, he’s a great addition as a high-upside linebacker with immediate SAM and pass-rushing capabilities.
Tindall has legitimately elite explosiveness, which pops every time you watch his film. He closes ground in an instant and is a very sure tackler. Behind a revamped Lions front, Tindall can be a playmaker.
Round 5, Pick 176: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
The USC boys are back together, but the Lions aren’t done yet at wide receiver. The 2022 NFL Draft is incredibly deep at the WR position. Thus, it’s a perfect opportunity for Detroit to double down.
In Round 5, getting a dynamic speed threat like Calvin Austin III would be a spectacular move. Austin has sub-4.4 speed and searing explosiveness, but he’s also a route-running technician who can make tough catches despite being undersized. With St. Brown and London drawing attention, he can be a deadly deep threat for defenses.
Round 6, Pick 181: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
There’s an air of tepid hope surrounding the Lions’ cornerback position in 2022. Amani Oruwariye has developed into a legitimate Pro Bowl-level talent on the boundary, and Jerry Jacobs was a steal in the undrafted pool.
There’s also 2020 first-round pick Jeffrey Okudah, who’s set to return from injury this coming season. Still, the Lions can add depth, especially in the slot. Marcus Jones, an undersized but physical cornerback, fits well there. On top of that, he’s an electric return specialist in the mold of Jamal Agnew.
Other alternatives at No. 181: Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia
Round 6, Pick 218: Abram Smith, RB, Baylor
The Lions have solid depth at RB, but there could be some turnover there this offseason. At the very least, running back is always worth a late flier. Abram Smith, in particular, provides value here. He’s a physical, downhill back with good explosiveness and contact balance. But beyond that, he’s a former linebacker who projects well as a special-teams player, too.
Other alternatives at No. 218: Andrew Stueber, OL, Michigan; Dawson Deaton, C, Texas Tech; Chamarri Conner, DB, Virginia Tech
Round 7, Pick 233: Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina
This may seem like another special-teams pick on the surface. But Jeremiah Gemmel was quietly a productive MIKE for North Carolina. Gemmel’s revered by coaches and teammates for his leadership, and he’s not a bad athlete, either. He’s a little undersized, but if given a chance, he could grow to take on some MIKE reps between Derrick Barnes and Tindall.
Other alternatives at No. 233: Jaivon Heiligh, WR, Coastal Carolina; Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland; Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo