2022 NFL Draft Rumors: 'There's Buzz' Linking Lions to QB with No. 2 Overall Pick

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 4, 2022

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis runs through passing drills during Liberty Football Pro Day in Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
AP Photo/Kendall Warner

The top quarterbacks of the 2022 NFL draft may not fall as far as expected.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported Monday "there's buzz" the Detroit Lions may wind up using the No. 2 overall pick to roll the dice on their next franchise quarterback. Liberty's Malik Willis and Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett are considered the top two quarterbacks in this class, but neither is considered a can't-miss talent.

Willis has seen his stock continually rise throughout the draft process and has now emerged as the favorite to be the first quarterback taken. While Pickett hasn't done anything for his stock to fall, Willis' combination of athleticism and arm strength has allowed him to pop in workouts.

Comparisons to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen have started to drown out concerns over Willis' lack of elite competition at the college level.

"Willis is a thick, sturdy quarterback with elite arm strength and playmaking ability," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said. "He has quick feet in his setup, and he throws from a wide, firm base. He usually releases the ball out of a 3/4 arm slot, and it jumps out of his hand. He generates incredible RPMs and flashes the ability to fit passes into tight windows."

Whether those physical gifts are enough for Willis to move up all the way to No. 2 is another question entirely. There are several elite prospects on the defensive side of the ball who will be available for the Lions, along with franchise-caliber left tackles in NC State's Ikem Ekwonu and Alabama's Evan Neal. 

If the Lions are high enough on Willis to take him inside the top 10, they could likely find a way to trade back and still land him. It's also possible the team will trade back into the first round if he starts to fall.

That said, it's hard to envision a scenario in which a largely unproven quarterback gets taken over some of the best interior prospects in recent draft history.