Lions 2022 Draft Grades
There’s so much to like about where the Detroit Lions are in their current rebuild. The 2021 offseason was outstanding and general manager Brad Holmes has done well again in free agency to add to the roster with the 2022 NFL Draft representing the next opportunity to build. Given all the movement in the NFC, the Lions are quietly building a strong foundation and are set up well to climb the ranks within the conference. Let’s examine what Detroit accomplished with its latest opportunity to infuse the roster with young talent and hand out Lions 2022 draft grades.
Lions 2022 Draft Grades
Round 1 (No. 2 overall): Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Whatever process led the Jacksonville Jaguars to select Travon Walker at No. 1 overall means the best player in the draft fell into the Lions’ lap at No. 2. Not only is Hutchinson a dynamic playmaker on the field, he has all the intangibles necessary to make him a face of the franchise and influential leader in the locker room. EDGE was the biggest need for Detroit entering the draft and the Lions landed a blue-chip prospect to solidify the position.
Round 1 (No. 12 overall): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
First of all, the Lions FLEECED the Vikings in the trade-up for this pick. Moving up from No. 32 to No. 12 while parting with Nos. 34 and 36 and somehow getting back No. 46 is robbery. Historically, moves like this cost teams a future first-rounder but Detroit pulled off a bargain deal with a division rival.
Williams is the most dynamic offensive weapon in the class. His speed and ability to win down the field are unmatched by the other receivers. And he’s not just a fast guy, Williams is a nuanced route-runner with natural hands and outstanding ball skills. He’s a top-five selection without the knee injury.
Round 2 (No. 46 overall): Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
Paschal is a Holmes/Campbell pick through and through. He’s a gritty football player who executes with physicality and urgency. He’s stout at the point of attack and should immediately offer the Lions a powerful edge setter against the run. He’s a power pass rusher that knows how to reduce rush angles and apply heat on the quarterback. He has the makings of a foundational piece of the roster given his playing style and football character.
Round 3 (No. 97 overall): Kerby Joseph, SAF, Illinois
Only a one-year starter at Illinois, Joseph made the most of that opportunity by snagging five interceptions. Joseph has the range and ball skills to serve as a true centerfielder for the Lions’ defense. He’s a physical player attacking downhill despite primarily functioning from deeper alignments. Joseph has the makings of a quality starter that routinely makes game-changing plays on the ball.
Round 5 (No. 177 overall): James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech
Mitchell is a good football player that was overlooked in the process due to an early-season knee injury that cost him the remainder of the season. With that said, he’s shown an appealing receiving skill set during his time at Virginia Tech where his natural hands, route-running skills and body control led to him averaging a whopping 18 yards per reception. I love the way he complements T.J. Hockenson as more of a move tight end. He will help diversify the Lions’ offensive personnel groupings.
Round 6 (No. 188 overall): Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
In two drafts under Holmes and Campbell, it has become abundantly clear that Detroit prioritizes urgent and physical football players with strong leadership qualities. Rodriguez falls right in line. A 48-game starter at Oklahoma State, Rodriguez is a tackling machine that was a tone-setter for the Cowboys’ defense. Ideally, he would be taller with more length, but Rodriguez should be a standout on special teams and I wouldn’t doubt his ability to claim a role on the defense.
Round 6 (No. 217 overall): James Houston, EDGE, Jackson State
Houston was a reserve player at Florida before transferring to Jackson State for his senior season, where he started 13 games and collected 24.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He features 34.25-inch arms and a quick first step. Ideally, he would have more bend for a 244-pound edge rusher and his tight hips create some challenges in space but there is plenty of untapped potential with Houston.
Round 7 (No. 237 overall): Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State
Lucas is a better football player than the No. 237 overall selection but his age and narrow frame pushed him down the board. He’s a smart player in coverage that does well to stay leveraged and is more than willing to trigger downhill as a tackler. Lucas has a chance to be a sound special teams contributor that I would not overlook as quality depth in the slot.
I love the collection of talent that the Lions were able to come away with and Holmes has knocked it out of the park in his first two drafts as general manager. There is a commitment to a clear vision in Detroit and it’s only a matter of time before they are a quarterback away from competing in the NFC. The Lions received ideal value for each selection and there is a clear path for every pick to claim a meaningful role on the roster.
Overall Grade: A
- Aug 01, 2022
- Jul 25, 2022