Written by Nick Cooper
May 3, 2022
Very few times in recent memory has a player shown so much joy regarding joining a Detroit team of
any kind. Aidan Hutchinson skipped down the sizable runway that led from the green room to the Las
Vegas NFL Draft stage. Hutchinson, a former standout defensive lineman from Devine Child High School
in Dearborn, Michigan, and University of Michigan mega-star in the making, heard his name called by his
literal hometown team.
His feverish bound to the big stage showcased his excitement for being able to stay within 45 minutes of his alma mater. Hutchinson surprising slipped to the Lions after appearing to be the no-brainer #1 overall pick. Aidan’s 14 sacks this season alone dwarfed the actual number 1 pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Travon Walker, who had had just 9.5 sacks for the entirety of his Georgia career.
The opportunity to even draft the best prospect in the draft is something that is not typically
afforded to the Lions in any year since drafting Matthew Stafford. Hutchinson projects to be an immediate locker room presence and a high-level plug and play defensive lineman that will give the Lion’s Dan Campbell, the tough nosed head coach, the type of player that he has been searching for since joining the Lion’s. If this year’s Heisman Trophy finalist had not won over the Detroit fanbase with his play alone then the way that he joyfully joined the team most certainly will.
Following the unbridled excitement that brought Hutchinson to the Lions more potential super-star
talent fell into the lap of the organization. Jameson Williams, former Alabama Crimson Tide wide
receiver, was scooped up by Detroit. The pick for the potential game changing receiver came at a price
that is relatively steep in current NFL standards. Detroit traded the number 32, 34, and 66 th picks in
exchange for Williams and the 46 th pick which amounts to the 12 th pick in both the first and second
While there is some injury concern surrounding a torn ACL in the National Championship game,
he is still on track to be fully medically cleared to return to full health by the start of training camp. A
player of Williams immense talent and game breaking ability is worth the risk especially considering that
the Lions were able to attain another valuable second round pick. Jameson Williams has elite wide
receiver measurables. His 40-yard dash speed was last recorded at 4.3 seconds which is closely
comparable to NFL superstar Tyreek Hill’s 4.29 dash. However, Williams is 4 inches taller and 4 pounds
These measurables and the production that he showed in Alabama in the top conference, the
SEC, suggest that Williams could be a perennial Pro-Bowler. His 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns
highlight production that had some draft analysist choosing Williams as their number one overall pick.
There is little worry that any sort of skill or production will dip as his health progression has been very
encouraging. Enormous potential and next level skill equal another steal for the Lions.
Josh Paschal, defensive tackle out of Kentucky, is another great selection and fit for the Lions. Paschal is
a lien and slippery tackle that can help to funnel the run to Hutchinson. As the draft approached his
stock began to rise due to college performance, measurables, and team leadership. The defensive tackle
adds another leader to Detroit who has sorely lacked one for quite some time. Paschal is a player with
pro bowl potential.
Kerby Joseph out of Illinois is a safety who was a bit of a late bloomer finishing his final season with five
interceptions which tied for the big ten lead. He is rangy and athletic and has a chance to be a solid
starter if he can refine his game and build upon a solid final season at Illinois.
James Mitchell Virginia tech- major injury issues and production issues. Great measurables 6’4” but a lot
of question marks regarding durability make this pick a wait and see type situation.
Malcolm Rodriguez out of Oklahoma State is an exciting linebacker who has both impressive
measurables and massive production. The Lions were able to select the 3-time All Big-12 linebacker with
the ninth pick in the sixth round. Rodriguez tied for seventh in the entirety of the FBS in the solo tackle
category with seventy-six. Rodriguez was also the Fiesta Bowl MVP with gaudy numbers that would
indicate a high probability of future success. Rodriguez is an athletic marvel having won state football
titles as a quarterback and defender as well as winning the Oklahoma high school state championship in
wrestling. Ultimately, the fall in the draft appears to be a height concern as Rodriguez is shorter for the
linebacker position, standing at 5’11”. The ceiling is extremely high for this prospect and appears to be a
James Houston from Jackson State is a defensive end who is a bit of a calculated risk as he missed more
than three quarters of the college football season. He has size and potential but needs to work on his
overall technique and he needs to stay healthy to reach his ceiling which could be a mid to high level
The selection of Chase Lucas from Arizona State is another solid selection. The cornerback only lacks
top-end speed (4.48 40-yard dash) but produced once he hit the scene in Arizona State as a freshman.
Lucas is a bit below average for the ideal corner in the NFL but at pick 237 he is a steal if he reaches
what could be an impressive ceiling.
The Detroit Lions rebuild has been a dumpster fire for quite some time. It would appear that the
dumpster fire may be making a turn and becoming something like a bonfire. Dan Campbell has fire
starters in Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams. To build on that flame is something that is a bit
trickier. The Lions appear to have made strides in drafting talented players who have potential and
leadership that fit in to Campbell’s mindset of “Biting kneecaps.”
As a lifelong Lions fan, I can confidently say that this draft is a cause for optimism that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t another train that derails another year, instead it is a flicker of light that signifies that the rebuild could turn the corner with a year of experience under each of these young rookies’ belts and another solid draft and offseason next year. This year may not drastically different than others, but it is a step in the right direction and signifies that NFL kneecaps are in danger.