It’s officially draft week. I, for one, am incredibly happy that it’s here. This has been an insane draft cycle for the Detroit Lions thus far. There’s been a ton of different scenarios flying around since about midway through the 2021 season. How probable are any of them? At the end of the day, it’s hard to tell. As we’ve noted here before, the Lions are doing an incredible of keeping everyone in the dark. Still, we’re going to break down the probabilities for the Lions’ second pick based on the things we know — or think we know.
Before we jump into it, let’s first establish the scenarios. After going through everything that’s out there, there are nine scenarios that the Lions could go through with the second pick. Here they are in no order.
Trade for a player
Alright let’s get into with the most probable move for the Lions at two.
Right off the bat, this has always seemed like the way the Lions would go. Going back to the early mock draft days when the Lions were in line for the first pick, it seemed that Thibodeaux and the Lions were a match made in football heaven. There have been a lot of fluctuations since then, but it seems like the idea the Lions could draft Thibodeaux has never gone away.
The Lions may feel the same way about the match. The Lions had seven reps at Thibodeaux’s pro day at the beginning of the month. Lions GM Brad Holmes was one of those reps, too. They also had Thibodeaux in for a draft visit as well.
There’s some talk about Thibodeaux’s character, but they’ve all been blown out of proportion and a lot of the complaints don’t make sense or are out of context. There’s also rumor that Dan Campbell doesn’t like him, but that rumor seems unfounded and there just seems to be so much going against that notion.
On top of it all, Vegas agrees that Thibodeaux to the Lions at two is the most probable route for Detroit.
I had a hard time placing this probability. This is because what the Jaguars do with the first pick is just a unknown. There was a lot of speculation early that Hutchinson was going to be the Jags pick. Lately the talk has moved in a different direction. North Carolina State tackle Ikem Ekwonu has found himself in the first overall pick conversation and Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker has too.
Ultimately, it seems as though the Jaguars will pick Hutchinson in the end, but if they don’t, I would personally be shocked if the Lions didn’t draft him.
Every GM is essentially saying the same exact thing when it comes to trading down. It’s all been a bunch of corporate speaking that’s a variation of, “Yes, we’ve had talks with other teams about trading, but also we haven’t.” It’s a roundabout way of saying “I know, but I’m not going to tell you.”
If there’s one thing that we can guarantee will happen on Thursday, it’s that draft picks will be traded. I think it’s safe to believe that there’s a good chance the Lions will be one of those teams that could do some of the dealing. We may not find out until the Lions actually get on the clock on Thursday, but the possibility of a trade down for the Lions is just too good to ignore, especially when there are two great tackles, Malik Willis and the top edge rushers in the draft just hanging around in that area. You have to believe someone may want to make a move. Will they make it with the Lions?
Who hasn’t gone back and forth on this one in their mind? Do the Lions need a quarterback? Yes. Do the Lions have a perfectly fine quarterback that’s capable of getting them by until they can either make the decision to get a new one or realize this one is good enough? Yes to that as well. That’s why it’s incredibly hard to place this one, but the fourth seems about right.
The Lions have been around Willis a lot this offseason. They coached him in Senior Bowl, then they invited him in for a visit, too. That’s an interesting move since they already spent an entire week with him and they were at his pro day. Was the visit necessary? Maybe it was if they’re in love the guy. Still, Lions also did this very same thing with Quay Walker and Jermaine Johnson, too.
The other thing that gives me pause is that there is likely a handful of teams that might want Willis more and may be willing to trade up to get him. This is another reason I’ve placed the trade down probability higher.
Trade for a player
I’m sure many will think I’m crazy, but we’re talking about probabilities here. Travon Walker, Jermaine Johnson, Kyle Hamilton and Sauce Gardner are all still here, but there are very good arguments going against the probabilities for each of them with the second pick.
So let’s talk trade possibilities. There are trades happening left and right in the league right now, and the Lions have a ton of draft capital they could use to outbid teams. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Lions may trade for Deebo Samuel or DK Metcalf. The Lions may also just choose to trade down and receive a player or players as a part of that package.
Travon Walker, Jermiane Johnson, Kyle Hamilton and Sauce Gardner
I’m grouping these last few guys together because I believe the probability of the Lions use the second pick on any of these guys is just too low. But we’ll touch on each of them now.
Walker has flown up draft boards since he showed off his athletic ability, and there’s even been the aforementioned talk of him possibly going first. It all just seems kind of risky with the second pick. If the Lions were to trade down and remained in the top 10, then they should absolutely take a swing at him. He may be too big of a project to take with the second pick though.
I love Jermaine Johnson, and I love the flexibility he has as a player, but much like Walker, it just feels like taking him with the second pick would be a reach. Johnson is great and you’ll find him in the top 10 in mock drafts, but you’ll also find him outside the top 10 in some too. Again, if they trade down, then it makes a lot of sense.
I know there are a lot of fans of Hamilton out there, and I’m aware that just because the Lions signed a safety in free agency doesn’t mean they can’t draft one, but the fact is that they don’t have to take this one this early. The Lions can just as easily wait to get someone like Lewis Cine or Jaquan Brisker at the bottom of the first or the top of the second, and that represent much better value with their pick. They could even wait to get Smoke Monday if they care about our yearly name bracket at all. Taking Hamilton at two just feels like the Lions would offset their entire haul right off the bat.
The same rules apply for Gardner. The Lions just signed Mike Hughes, they’re getting Jeff Okudah back along with Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker. They also have Will Harris playing a cornerback / safety hybrid too. The Lions just don’t need to take a corner at two. There’s more corner talent later in the draft, and they already have a very young and well developing group.