If the Lions are picking this high in 2022, it's possible that they could look to reset at quarterback. The Lions would only incur a $10 million cap hit if they moved on from Jared Goff next offseason. In addition, Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently said they "would have had to strongly consider" a quarterback at No. 7 if Penei Sewell weren't their highest-ranked player available.
Since 2018, two Sooner quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) have been selected first overall and another (Jalen Hurts) was a second-round pick. If there's a quarterback that will challenge Howell for the honor to be 2022's QB1, it's most likely Rattler. Based on props from Bovada, Rattler (11/2) is the early favorite to win the Heisman Trophy over Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei (6/1), who's not eligible until the 2023 NFL Draft.
After missing all of 2020 after surgery to repair a bulging disk and congenital fusion in his spine, the draft evaluations for Ross will begin with his medicals. Provided doctors are comfortable with his outlook, he has the talent to be a first-round receiver next April and perhaps even the WR1 in 2022. In his first two seasons with the Tigers, Ross (6-4, 205) has 112 receptions for 1,865 yards (16.7 Y/R) and 17 touchdowns.
The Detroit Lions passed on the quarterback position with their first selection in the 2021 NFL draft, adding young and talented offensive tackle Penei Sewell. That likely means Jared Goff has at least one season to prove himself as the starter in Detroit.
But if the Lions are picking where odds-makers believe they will be, then the Goff experiment likely has come to a sudden, and disappointing, conclusion. If the Houston Texans indeed address the pass rush, that could give general manager Brad Holmes his choice of quarterbacks. While many point to UNC's Sam Howell or Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler as the likely QB1 right now, there is a case to be made for Liberty's Malik Willis. Allow Bruce Feldman to open the argument:
“He has the strongest arm of anybody I have ever seen.” Quincy Avery, who has worked with a bunch of NFL QBs, including Trey Lance, the guy with the biggest arm in this draft, is one of many raving about the potential of Malik Willis: https://t.co/9UAprGnnYw
There is a lot of football to be played, but Willis could certainly be the next QB riser, perhaps all the way to the Motor City. If he takes another big step forward, Willis could indeed put himself in QB1 contention.
Thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade, the Detroit Lions have a second pick in the 2022 first round. Earlier in this scenario the Lions added Malik Willis from Liberty, the intriguing quarterback who could rocket up boards if he puts together a solid 2021 season. Now they add to the receiver room later in the first round.
And yes, Alabama has another receiver to watch. After seeing Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle all get picked in the first round, John Metchie III could be the next Crimson Tide WR to crash the early selections. There is early buzz that Metchie could be the best of the group, and while in my mind it is far too early for such a statement, every time you turn on Alabama film you can see #8 working himself open. If that continues this fall, Metchie will certainly see his stock rise.
Howell has the arm strength and accuracy to warrant such a selection, but the North Carolina offense is doing him no favors in his development. His tape is pretty much littered with go-balls and RPOs. His 132 RPO dropbacks last year were 25 more than any other quarterback in the country.
30. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Burks is a physically imposing specimen at the position. Listed at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, he went for 811 yards in only nine games last year, hauling in eight of his 12 contested targets.
Current Lions QB Jared Goff was part of the return in the Matthew Stafford trade in January, and a lot of what the Lions do with their two first-rounders in 2022 will depend on how he performs in his sixth NFL season. Detroit does have a potential out on Goff's contract after the 2022 season with a $10 million dead cap hit, so it could certainly be in the quarterback market next April. Slovis is 6-foot-3 with a strong arm, and his 70% completion percentage over 2019-20 ranks seventh among FBS signal-callers.
Detroit is back on the board after taking a quarterback earlier, and it gets a versatile high-impact linebacker. Before transferring to LSU, Jones played the nickel/Sam position at Clemson after Isaiah Simmons left for the NFL. He is 6-foot and 220 pounds, so his role in the NFL is still to be determined, but wherever he is, he will produce. In 10 games last season, Jones had 26 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, two passes broken up, half a sack and a forced fumble.
Harrison is still developing pass rush instincts, but a third year coached up by defensive line savant Larry Johnson should do the trick. He could test off the charts when we return to the combine in Indy.
Until he proves otherwise, Jared Goff is likely the short-term option in Detroit while the organization searches for the long-term answer. It is tough to watch Howell and not see similarities to Baker Mayfield -- both positive and negative. His maturation will be interesting to track without Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, all taken in last week's draft.
The second Ohio State receiver drafted in this mock, Olave was considered a borderline first-round pick before he decided to return to Columbus for his senior year. His body type is only average, but his speed and ball skills are appealing traits for the next level.
We'll find out if Jared Goff is the answer in Detroit, and if he's not the Lions will be in the market for a franchise QB. Howell has some of the same gunslingin' traits as the last face of the franchise, Matthew Stafford.
Detroit hit the trenches hard in the 2021 draft. Penei Sewell, Levi Onwuzurike, and Alim McNeill help solidify both sides of the line of scrimmage. Despite taking those two DTs, though, the Lions still need more help up front, particularly off the edge. Thibodeaux is a former five-star recruit who has produced 12 sacks in his first two seasons on campus, which is made slightly more impressive due to the PAC 12's 2020 season being shortened.
The Alabama WR dynasty is not over. Last season, Metchie got a ton of playing time as Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy left school, in addition to Jaylen Waddle missing much of the season with injury. Like his teammates, Metchie has tremendous speed and a natural ability to track the ball down the field. Metchie, at 6-foot and 200-pounds, is a bit thicker and tougher than Waddle and DeVonta Smith, though, and offers a slightly different style of YAC.