Entering the 2022 NFL Draft with two first-round picks, the Detroit Lions have a ton of flexibility. They pick at No. 2 overall and No. 32 overall — two chances to add instant starters to an extremely barren roster.
With that in mind, all eyes are on Detroit regarding their plans at the quarterback position. This year’s QB class is weak compared to the 2021 class. However, it’s not often a franchise gets to pick No. 2 overall. The Lions should be considering using this opportunity to take the first QB off the board, seeing as the Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to take a pass rusher at No. 1 overall.
The Detroit Lions should be considering Liberty QB Malik Willis
The Lions’ current starting quarterback is Jared Goff, who they acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Rams. However, Goff doesn’t have a long-term future in Detroit. He massively struggled during his debut season with the Lions last year. His poor play is a primary reason the Lions are picking second overall in the first place.
Whether they want to admit it or not, the Lions should be in the market for a quarterback during this year’s draft. Liberty’s Malik Willis is most analysts’ and draft experts’ QB1, and Detroit will have the opportunity to snag him at No. 2 overall.
Sure, the Lions could just as easily invest this pick into an offensive or defensive lineman, which are both severe needs. However, quarterback is the most important position in all of sports, and the Lions have a prime opportunity to get a future franchise arm right now. There’s no guarantee they’ll be in a similar position to do so next offseason. Several teams are expected to tank/trade up for top 2023 prospects Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud.
NFL analyst Charles Davis has the Lions passing on Malik Willis for Matt Corral
In his latest mock draft for NFL.com, analyst Charles Davis has the Lions taking a quarterback. However, he does not have them taking Willis.
Davis projects the Lions to pass on Willis with the second overall pick, waiting all the way until No. 32 overall to select Ole Miss’ Matt Corral.
Corral is an exciting prospect who turned a lot of heads during his final season at Ole Miss. However, he’s currently rehabbing from an injury and likely isn’t being viewed as an option to start games until 2023. In this scenario, Goff remains the starter next season while Corral studies behind him as the backup, getting fully healthy in the process.
On paper, this looks like a promising approach for Detroit. They get to add a top-tier pass rusher at No. 2 overall while still getting a future starting quarterback in Corral at No. 32 overall. However, it’s not that simple.
If Detroit is ready for a quarterback, it should simply draft the best one available
If the Lions want to stave off their need for a quarterback until 2023, that’s understandable. They have two first-round picks in next year’s draft, and there’s always a chance a top veteran becomes available via trade.
However, if they’re ready to draft a rookie now, they shouldn’t overcomplicate things. Instead of trying to get cute with Corral, or someone else, at pick No. 32, they should very simply take Willis at No. 2 overall. He’s the best quarterback available in this year’s draft and is arguably on the same level as guys like Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields from last year’s draft class.
Overcomplicating things just to get “value” keeps bad teams like Detroit bad. If the Lions want a new starting quarterback this offseason, taking the best one in the entire draft is the way to go about it.