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NFL Draft: Detroit Lions Recap

When it comes to making the right calls in the NFL Draft, it’s been quite the struggle for the Detroit Lions. Thus, it’s another reason why the NFL betting lines typically have Detroit a longshot to reach the playoffs.

Detroit Lions Betting Summary

Things could be changing. Running back D’Andre Swift and offensive lineman Jonah Jackson were solid selections in 2020. In 2021, the Lions hit with first-round pick Penei Sewell, who joins Jackson as a key member of the offensive line. The Lions came away with one of the steals in the draft as receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown went in the fourth round and had 90 catches as a rookie.

NFL Draft Detroit Lions Recap

The 2022 draft also looks pretty solid, especially the first-round picks of Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams.

Not picking a quarterback when they were sliding down the draft board was a bit of a surprise. Perhaps Williams will help bring the best out of former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. There’s still plenty of work to do as the Lions (+12500) are “ahead” of only the New York Jets and Houston Texans in the Super Bowl Odds.

The Lions went heavy on offensive linemen and receivers among the undrafted players signed after the draft.

Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how the Lions drafted.

  • Pick 2 Aidan Hutchinson | DE, Michigan Wolverines

Could this have worked out any better for the Lions? Not only did Michigan native Hutchinson Michigan finish second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior, but he brings the pass-rush potential and work ethic the Lion defense desperately needs. Much of the pre-draft buzz about the first selection had Hutchinson as the favorite.

Hutchinson had 14 sacks in his final season in Ann Arbor as the scheme was reworked to feature his ability to be a disruptive force off the edge. The last time Detroit picked second overall, Ndamukong Suh was the selection in 2010. Suh had 10 sacks as a rookie. It won’t be a surprise to see Hutchinson hit double digits as well.

Regarding those jokes about Detroit picking receivers in the first round annually, this is the first time the Lions chose a wideout in the opening round since Calvin Johnson was the No. 2 overall pick in 2007. That wasn’t all that bad in Detroit, especially after Johnson’s enshrinement of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Lions used the first-round pick acquired in the Matthew Stafford trade-and two of its own selections-to nab arguably the best receiver in the draft.

The Las Vegas odds will have Williams as one of the favorites for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Jameson Williams | David Becker/Getty Images/AFP

The Lions are serious about revamping the defensive line. Paschal has a chance to be on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage from Hutchinson. Paschal had 13½ career sacks at Kentucky. Also, 15½ tackles for loss as a senior, despite not playing in the Wildcats’ bowl game.

There were other positions that Detroit could have addressed, rather than doubling up on defensive ends, so this pick was a bit of a gamble.

The last time Detroit used a top-100 selection on safety came in 2019 when Will Harris was drafted out of Boston College. Harris had 93 tackles in his first season as a full-time starter.

Joseph isn’t known as the biggest hitter out there, but he did have five interceptions last season. He will give the Lions another option in the secondary.

Considering that Detroit has one of the better tight ends in the NFL in T.J. Hockenson, this might seem like a curious choice. Mitchell will offer some depth.

Mitchell averaged 17 yards on 47 catches during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He had five receptions in the first two games of the season before his season ended prematurely.

James Mitchell | Roanoke Times

There’s no questioning the production of Rodriguez, leading the Cowboys with 131 tackles during the 2021 season. He finished his career with more than 400 tackles.

Rodriguez began his collegiate career as a safety before making the move to linebacker. Oklahoma State had four games against ranked opponents in 2021, and he had more than 10 tackles in each of them. Rodriguez also forced four fumbles and had 15 tackles for loss while defending five passes..

Detroit didn’t take Deion Sanders with its first-round pick in 1989, though the Lions did reasonably well with a Hall of Fame running back, someone named Barry Sanders. Sanders was the third overall selection. Now. the Lions tabbed one of Sanders’ players at Jackson State.

Houston had 24½ tackles for loss and 16½ sacks as a senior. Beginning at Florida, Houston recorded more than 100 tackles in three seasons for the Gators.

Speaking of draftees having ties to the pros, Lucas was in the secondary of former NFL head coach (and secondary standout) Herman Edwards. Lucas had 28 career pass defenses at ASU. He was a regular (five-season) contributor in Tempe, the second defensive back drafted by Detroit.

Detroit used some undrafted rookies in the secondary a season ago, so perhaps seventh-round pick Lucas is able to earn a roster spot.

Chase Lucas | Devils in Detail

Grading the draft

It was a pretty solid effort by the Lions. Three of the top four selections came on the defensive side of the ball, led by second-overall selection Hutchinson.

Williams teaming with slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson gives the Lions options on the other side of the ball. Those who wager online aren’t ready to declare the Lions as contenders in the NFC, but the 2022 draft was a nice start in Detroit.

Grade: B+

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