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Boye Mafe

Getty Boye Mafe doing drills during the 2022 NFL combine.

With early picks in the NFL draft typically more interesting, it isn’t hard to find a take on what the Detroit Lions should do with the second-overall selection next week. It’s been much harder to nail down an idea of how the team should proceed with pick 32.

Given the need for multiple different players on the roster and holes plentiful, the team could conceivably go in plenty of directions while still satisfying their biggest concerns. Specifically, though, what positions should the team consider the most with that selection?

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DetroitLions.com insider Tim Twentyman recently asked fans to provide him some questions on Twitter. One of the better ones revolved around what Detroit could do with pick 32 in the draft, and Twentyman had perhaps a surprise of an answer, revealing the Lions should elect to go with the best overall defender at that spot in his opinion.

“Best defensive player on their board, preferably at LB or S, assuming they went edge rusher at No. 2. Lions defense ranked 31st in points allowed, 29th in total defense, 28th against the run, 24th in pass defense, 29th in 3rd-down defense & 31st in red zone efficiency in 2021,” Twentyman tweeted.

Many have put wide receiver into play for the Lions with pick 32 or even quarterback, and even though those spots could represent a need, the depth of that class could mean the Lions do elect to look at defense first and foremost when they select. It would not be a surprise to see that being the case for the Lions, especially with as many problems as the team had on defense in 2021, finishing 29th overall as Twentyman pointed out.

With all this in mind, defense seems to be the most sound move for the Lions during the 2022 draft, and perhaps early as well.

Top Defensive Prospects Who Could Be Available at 32

The good news for Detroit? There are lots of players that could fit the criteria as a top pick at the spot, and a good majority of them are on the defensive side of the ball. For a team that needs help at every level, locking in a selection at linebacker could be a smart move, especially if that player is Nakobe Dean of Georgia. Dean could have all the traits the Lions like in terms of a solid player, steady fit and gritty competitor at the spot. Moving backward a bit, the safety position could figure to be of need for the team, and some soild players could exist at that spot in the form of Michigan’s Dax Hill as well as Baylor’s Jalen Pitre. Either could fill a need on the back end and perhaps allow the Lions to develop one of the better young safeties in the class at a lower cost.

Should Detroit elect not to go with edge rusher early, there could be some quality players at that spot around, too. That list is led by Minnesota’s Boye Mafe and USC edge rusher Drake Jackson. Georgia’s Quay Walker could make sense, Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo could fall after injury concerns, and the team could also consider a cornerback in this range, including Washington’s Kyler Gordon. Add it all up and there figures to be a plethora of elite defenders for the team to choose from at pick 32.

Lions’ 2022 NFL Draft Primer

With eight picks coming up this year, Detroit will continue to use the draft as the big way to build their roster for the future. With a trio of selections within the top 35 of the draft, there’s a multitude of ways they could elect to go with the picks given the unique needs of the roster. The team’s defense needs playmakers up front to rush the passer along the defensive line, and could also need depth on the back end at cornerback. Offensively, the Lions have a major need for a big time pass catching wideout to help their down field attack on offense. As always, quarterback is going to be a position to watch near the top of the draft and at the bottom, especially considering some of the struggles of Jared Goff with the Lions in 2021 and the questions the position has beyond that for its future.

There’s only just over a week until everyone finds out what the Lions decide to do officially. Until then, count on there being plenty of conjecture for the team just like this.

READ NEXT: Lions Reportedly ‘Like’ Explosive PAC-12 Pass Rusher in Draft

Source: Heavy

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