The Detroit Lions have one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, presenting them with a chance to add a player who can quickly improve a team that won three games last season.
But who will the Lions take with the second overall pick in the draft? Should they target a quarterback, seeing as they jettisoned Matthew Stafford before last season, only to watch the former Lion win a Super Bowl on the left coast? Or should the Lions be sensible and take “the best player available?” A defensive back? A wide receiver? A linebacker?
Many fans in Michigan hope it will be a familiar pass rusher from Plymouth last seen chasing ball carriers in Ann Arbor, but what do the betting odds at Michigan sportsbooks say about the likelihood that it will happen?
NFL Draft Odds: Aidan Hutchinson
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 28 at 8 p.m. ET, when first-round selections will be made. The Detroit Lions will pick second. Much speculation is on the possibility that the Lions will draft defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson of the University of Michigan.
Here are the odds at BetMGM Michigan Sportsbook.
Aidan Hutchinson To Be Selected in NFL Draft
FIRST PICK: -250
SECOND PICK: +260
THIRD PICK: +3000
According to most sportsbooks, which offer bonuses for new customers, Hutchinson is the favorite to be the first pick in the draft. That selection currently belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have more dysfunction than a Will & Jada Pinkett Smith Family Barbecue. The Jags need help, and they already have their franchise QB, so a pass rusher like Hutchinson makes sense.
The draft order for the top 10 picks:
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- New York Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- Giants again
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks
- Jets again
In reality, every team on that list could use an impact pass rusher. The NFL is a quarterback league, and the best way to negate the opposing QB is to put him on his arse. You just can’t teach tenacity when it comes to a pressure pass rush. Both the Giants and Jets have two selections in the top 10 due to trades. Hutchinson could fall as far as fourth to the Jets. It’s that type of year when draft strategy could be difficult to predict.
At least one mock draft (from the football guys at CBS Sports) has Hutchinson falling to the Lions at No. 2, with the Jags picking Ikem Ekwonu, an offensive lineman. As CBS Sports points out: Jacksonville has drafted edge pass rushers in the first round in two of the last three NFL drafts.
No NFL? No Problem!: Can you bet on the USFL in Michigan?
Mock Draft Predictions: Lions First Round
CBS Sports: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
ESPN: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
NFL.COM: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Malik Willis
PFF.COM: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
If It’s Not Hutchinson
It’s going to be difficult for the Lions to pick anyone other than a quarterback at No. 2 if Hutchinson is not available.
The top name being tossed around is Malik Willis from Liberty University. Willis is rated at or near the top in arm strength and rushing ability among QBs available. Like tater tots on a cheeseburger, that’s a pleasing combo rarely seen in pro football, and less fattening. Could Detroit take the athletic Willis if the Michigan native Hutchinson is off the board?
The Lions have Jared Goff at QB, and while head coach Dan Campbell has given Goff a vote of confidence, it seems like the team is more “in like” with the 27-year old than “in love.” There’s just no spark there.
Detroit has gone the athletic route at QB before. In 1990 the Lions used the No. 7 overall to pick Andre Ware, a mobile, strong-armed QB. About a decade later they used a second-round pick on Charlie Batch, and in 2007 they drafted Drew Stanton with the 43rd overall selection. None of those three athletically gifted, strong-armed, fast-footed QBs panned out.
Yet, after his impressive performance at the NFL Combine, some experts have Willis earmarked as an impact player in the NFL. His detractors say he lacks touch on his passes and isn’t intuitive in his reading of defensive schemes.
Photo courtesy of Associated Press/Al Goldis