If Hutchinson were available here, I would expect him to be the pick. Since he's not in this mock, the Lions could go in a few different directions, but the top offensive tackles seem unlikely after they drafted Penei Sewell last year.
Some may be disappointed by Hamilton's time in the 40-yard dash at the combine (4.59), but his two interceptions against Florida State highlight his range and coverage ability. With rare size (6'4", 220 pounds), length and versatility, Hamilton would become an immediate impact player on the back end of Detroit's defense.
Perhaps the Lions will make a bold move with their first pick and draft Malik Willis, but in this scenario, they'll draft the other quarterback they coached at the Senior Bowl. (Technically, they also coached Bailey Zappe.) The departure of nearly all of his top weapons led to a year-over-year drop in passing production, but Howell is arguably the best deep passer in the class and a plus athlete who ran for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Nothing changes here for me. While Kayvon Thibodeaux is my top edge rusher in the draft, I'm high on Hutchinson as well, and he seems like an obvious fit for Detroit. He's a need, he played at Michigan, and he has the kind of motor that Dan Campbell will appreciate.
If you have concerns about Pickett's hand size and ability to play in bad weather because of it, those concerns are mitigated a bit when at least half his games will be played indoors as they would be with Detroit. Pickett's polished enough to compete with Jared Goff right away, or the Lions can opt to let him start the year in a reserve role.
The Lions have been near the bottom of the league in sacks and QB pressure rate the last three seasons, and there simply isn't a quarterback available worthy of this pick. Hutchinson's a high-floor prospect who wins with technique, strength and athleticism. It would take general manager Brad Holmes a nanosecond to turn this card in.
If there's a quarterback the Lions fall in love with, he'll likely be selected here. Corral is slightly undersized, but he's a NFL-caliber playmaker with genuine arm talent. His X-rays were negative after he injured his ankle in a loss to Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, but the injury kept him from throwing at the combine. He'll be a "full-go" for his pro day on March 23.
A home-state player making the short trek to the Motor City to showcase his... high motor? Yes, aside from some cheap puns, Hutchinson is the kind of player who can help to reshape a rebuilding program thanks to his ability to play both the pass and the run and provide an impact. I personally feel he's the most well-rounded rusher in the class.
The Lions could easily grab a more traditionally high-value position in the first round, but #DraftGoodPlayers isn't just a saying, it is a lifestyle. And consider this me advocating for the best player available being the pick for the Lions--their second in the front seven in the first round of this year's draft.
No, the 4.59-second 40-yard dash doesn't bother me. Hamilton plays fast on tape, and you don't come across 6-foot-4, 220-pound safeties with his range, explosion (38-inch vertical jump) and ball skills (three interceptions and four passes defensed in seven 2021 games) very often. The Lions' pass defense struggled mightily in 2021, giving up 5.9 yards per play (29th) and 26.9 points per game (28th). Opposing quarterbacks teed off on them with the third-best opponent QBR (53.4). Hamilton closes like a heat-seeking missile, and his playmaking would be welcomed in Detroit.
Defensive ends Travon Walker (Georgia) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon) got some consideration here, and it's also worth mentioning that the Lions' coaching staff worked with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl. While I don't see them considering a quarterback this early, it's possible they try to trade back, pick up extra picks and draft him later in the first round -- or even try to trade up from No. 32, their other Day 1 selection.
Let's keep chipping away on defense, after giving Detroit safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 2, and cap off Day 1 with yet another combine standout. We expected a big-time workout from Mafe, and he didn't disappoint. He ran a 4.53 in the 40 and sprung 10-foot-5 in the broad jump at 261 pounds. Mafe's game is raw and needs development, but he has one of the fastest takeoffs I've seen on tape in this class. The arrow is pointing way up on him, and the Lions are searching for a consistent pass-rush presence, especially now that Charles Harris is off to free agency. Detroit's 30 sacks were No. 30 in the NFL last season. Penn State's Arnold Ebiketie could be in play here, too.
And as mentioned earlier, the Lions could certainly either trade up for a quarterback or even draft one here. UNC's Sam Howell and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder are both still out there.
A safety with the second-overall selection? One that tested poorly in Indianapolis to boot?
When we are talking about perhaps the best football player in the class, it makes sense. While the Detroit Lions have a need at quarterback, there is no need to force a player at that position this early, given this class. Kyle Hamilton is an elite talent that can play in a few different roles, whether as a pure free safety, down in the box, a half-field safety, or in man coverage against mismatch-type players.
There is a lot of buzz in recent days about the Detroit Lions going with Malik Willis with the second-overall selection. If, however, they decide to punt on quarterback for this cycle and address other positions, then adding a receiver at 32 to pair with Amon-Ra St. Brown is a smart move.
Chris Olave might not be here when the Lions are back on the clock, given what he did on film and in Indianapolis. But if he is, it is a true "run to the podium" situation for the Lions. He is a smooth route-runner that gives you almost the full route tree on Day One.