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The Detroit Lions Should Draft Malik Willis and Be Legends

Kyle Koster
Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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Malik Willis had a spectacular pro day. We also live in a hyper-reactionary world where the shiniest sliver of recency bias blocks mountains of previous data. Both of these things are true. A third thing is true as well.

The Detroit Lions will need a plan for the most important position in all of sports eventually.

Delaying that reality a year or two with Jared Goff bridging the gap can be tolerated by a fanbase impossibly thirsty for even a droplet of success, but it will not be celebrated. Dan Campbell's gut rehab of a locker room ruined by the previous regime is right on schedule and he's emerged as a well-liked foreman for the job. Continued growth in 2022 will curry more favor with stakeholders or, as these things always tend to do in the Motor City, things could deteriorate quickly.

Simply put, everything is a risk. Deciding to do nothing of consequence is in itself a decision. So why not take the big swing now, early in the count? Why not roll the dice with the Liberty product in the hopes of getting a winning hand?

Using the second pick on Aidan Hutchinson or another offensive lineman would certainly not be the worst thing in the world. Matt Corral or Sam Howell could be around when Detroit's turn to pick comes again at No. 32. Of course, there's always the potential just one of them is — and few people would prefer their fourth choice to their first.

Willis may be a losing lottery ticket and real bust potential exists. Inconsistency and inaccuracy against middling competition should cause concern at worst and pause at best. Or he may be a winning scratch-off to be stowed away and redeemed when the time is right.

One of the things Detroit has going for it, ironically, is a lack of pressure to win now. Willis could get his feet wet while Goff succeeds every third Sunday. If the rookie can get some meaningful reps down the stretch while jockeying for position in next year's draft, it'd be soon enough.

A once-barren wasteland at receiver is looking much healthier following an active stretch that included DJ Chark landing in silver and blue. The future, ever murky for the franchise, actually shows some signs of clearing up. Willis might have the rare ability to blow the roof off completely. He'll get a chance somewhere.

Why not with the Lions? And that's really the ultimate question. If not now, if not this, then what?

Reactionary hyperbole from the short-sighted? Maybe. Misguided? Time will tell.

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