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2022 NFL Draft preview: 5 safeties that could interest the Lions

In a draft class that is deeper than most with talented safeties, getting an edge that can separate a prospect from the rest of the class could make a difference on draft day.

Daxton Hill, a key performer on the University of Michigan defense, might have an edge.

"My versatility," Hill told reporters at his Pro Day workout in Ann Arbor. "I train with those guys (other prospects). They're great players.

"I think that's where I separate myself – my versatility, and the amount of things I can do."

Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame is the star of this year's safety class. It's a given that he will be the first safety drafted. Below him are a handful of prospects, some of whom have been timed in under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

As a three-year player at Michigan, Hill left school early to enter the draft. He had to answer questions from some teams on why he left early.

For Hill, the answer was simple. He dreamed of playing pro football. All things considered, he has enjoyed the pre-draft experience.

"It's really a lot of mixed emotions," he said. "For sure, I'm excited. I've been thinking about this for a while. I've been dreaming about this for a while.

"Seeing it come around and perform the way I've been performing, you're never for sure, but for the most part I'm just excited."

Following is a look at the 2022 safety class draft strength, the Lions' depth and draft priority, and five safeties who could fit the Lions.

Safety class draft strength: Strong at the top, with prospects with size who can run.

Lions' safety draft priority: It's based on how much they value other positions on a defense that needs help.

Five safeties who could fit the Lions:

(40-yard dash times are from Combine and Pro Day workouts as available.)

1. Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame:

6-4, 220. 4.56 40-yard dash.

One of the best players in the draft at any position. The only question about how high he'll get picked is how much teams value a safety. Is the position important enough for the Lions to take Hamilton with the second pick overall?

A three-year player, 31 games played with 19 starts. Limited to seven games in his third and final season by injury. Athleticism, range and instincts make him an elite safety prospect. For his career, Hamilton had 24 passes defensed, eight interceptions and 7.5 tackles for loss.

2. Lewis Cine, Georgia:

6-2, 199. 4.37 40-yard dash.

Played 39 games in three seasons at Georgia, with 15 in Year 3 for the national champs. Cine had 16 career passes defended with 10 coming in his final season.

Cine played well in Georgia's win over Alabama in the championship game. He had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit.

3. Daxton Hill, Michigan:

6-1, 191. 4.38 40-yard dash.

Built to play free safety with size, speed and long arms. "Rare speed and explosiveness" is how characterized what Hill brings to the position.

A three-year player, 33 career games with 23 starts. Posted 7.5 career tackles for loss and 20 passes defended with single-season highs of 4.5 and 11 in 2021-22. Some analysts project Hill as a potential cornerback.

4. Jaquan Brisker, Penn State:

6-1, 199. 4.49 40-yard dash.

A three-year player at Penn State after one season (2017) at Lackawanna Community College. Played 34 games at Penn State.

For his Penn State career Brisker had seven tackles for loss, five interceptions and 19 passes defended – seven in each of the last two seasons.

5. Tycen Anderson, Toledo (sleeper):

6-2, 209. 4.36 40-yard dash.

He possesses the "measurables." In addition to height, weight and a sizzling time in the 40-yard dash, he also has big hands (10.1).

A five-year player, Anderson played 55 games for the Rockets. Toledo used him in the box to defend the run and in pass coverage.

For his career, Anderson had nine tackles for loss, two interceptions and 21 passes defended.

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