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One of the most recognizable NFL draft analysts, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has produced his first mock draft for the 2022 draft. Kiper sticks to the basics with the two projections for the Detroit Lions and the team’s two first-round picks.
At No. 2 overall, Kiper slots Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux. With Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson slotted at No. 1, it’s a pretty easy projection for the Lions with the team’s dire pass rushing needs.
With the second first-rounder, it’s another familiar name. North Carolina QB Sam Howell gets the nod for Detroit with the pick acquired from the Los Angeles Rams, currently slotted as the No. 28 overall pick. It’s a familiar pairing, one that our own Lions Wire mock also projected over last weekend—with Ohio State WR Chris Olave in between Hutchinson at No. 2 and Howell as the Lions’ second-round pick.
Kiper bases his projections more on his personal rankings and team/player fit than he does actual insider knowledge, something he makes clear in his intro into the mock. It’s the only intellectually honest way to script a mock at this point when there are eight teams without head coaches and five without GMs.