Mock draft watch: Breaking down Draft Wire’s latest 3-round projections for the Lions

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The latest 3-round projections for the 2022 NFL draft are posted from our friends at Draft Wire. It’s a mock draft that hits a theme of blue chip players from big schools for the Detroit Lions.

Starting with the No. 2 overall pick, Draft Wire sticks to prominent players from major programs. The first Lions projection is a familiar one: Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson.

The Lions could use a quarterback of the future, but this class doesn’t have one worthy of this spot. Hutchinson could have been a Day 2 pick in last year’s draft, but he made a wise decision to return to Ann Arbor for another season, and his dominant 2021 campaign has launched him into the top-three conversation.

With Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux slotted at No. 1, it’s a fairly academic choice. Hutchinson gets to keep a Wolverine teammate with Detroit’s second-round pick, too. Safety Daxton Hill gets the nod, a much-needed safety for the back end of the defense.

In between the two Michigan players, Detroit gets a wideout from USC. Tapping into the school that brought the Lions Amon-Ra St. Brown, this mock projects fellow Trojans WR Drake London. He’s a very different type of receiver from St. Brown, a widebodied downfield playmaker more in the mold of Kenny Golladay.

The third-rounder taps the ACC for a quarterback. North Carolina’s Sam Howell arrives in the projection as the potential successor to Jared Goff. The Tar Heels signal-caller is projected all over the draft map in recent mock drafts, a testament to the variability of his evaluations.