Lions ‘Bedrock’ 2022 Draft Class Dusts NFC North Rivals

Aidan Hutchinson

Getty Aidan Hutchinson celebrates a big play for the Lions in 2022.

The Detroit Lions have two years under their belt as it relates to their rebuild, and their work early on has been impressive.

Not only have the Lions managed to get good work from their last two classes, they seem to have a very bright future in the league as a result. Detroit’s deep 2021 and 2022 classes have taken on an increasingly important look for the team.

Recently, Eric Edholm of has taken a look back at grading draft classes, and when it comes to the NFC North, the Lions took home the best grade.

Edholm gave the Lions an A- grade for their work last year, and as he admitted, the team’s draft looks better now than many might have figured, especially given that a foundation may have been laid down.

“In some respects, this was a wait-and-see draft for the Lions, but they also started putting together a foundation on defense, improving on all three levels with this rookie haul. When it’s all said and done, we might look back at this class as a huge bedrock for a team that appears to be on the right track,” Edholm wrote in the piece of Detroit.

Amongst the rest of the division, the closest competitor to Detroit was the Chicago Bears, who took home a B- rating. Edholm then gave the Green Bay Packers a C- for their work, and the Minnesota Vikings an unflattering D- for their 2022 draft.

Specifically for the Lions, Edholm wrote that he liked the team’s additions of Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph and Malcolm Rodriguez. Additionally, he appreciated the emergence of James Houston as a pass rusher, who contributed a surprising eight sacks.

While the draft was wait-and-see, the Lions managed to do the best of anyone in the division in the mind of this analyst. That could be huge as it relates to the team’s future viability in the division.

The scariest part? Detroit has eight more picks for 2023, four of which come within the first two rounds. There should be ample opportunity for the franchise to improve a solid roster.

Lions Could Soon Have NFC North Advantage

As this draft projection shows, Detroit could have one major advantage over their competition in that they started their rebuild a few years early. That could help them be in prime position to compete in the division quicker.

Minnesota and Chicago both hit reset after the 2021-22 season, which means there could be some short and long-term pain yet to come for them in terms of roster building. The Packers still remain at the top of the heap, but after Aaron Rodgers leaves, all bets are off as it relates to the direction the franchise will take. They’ve got some strong pieces elsewhere, but elite quarterback play can prove to be a major driver of team success.

Minus Rodgers, the Packers could prove to be average. By then, the Lions could be emerging from their rebuild a team ready to contend. Even with Rodgers, the Lions were 2-0 against Green Bay in 2022, and were 5-1 against the division as a whole.

Chicago figures to be in firm rebuild mode, and depending on what happens in Green Bay, the Packers could be as well. Minnesota might be Detroit’s biggest competition, but with an underwhelming draft in the mind of Edholm, it will be hard to say where that team trends in the coming years.

Overall, if Brad Holmes continues to hit more home runs in the draft, it could leave the Lions in great position to make a move in an ever-changing division sooner rather than later.

Lions’ Rookies Dominant for 2022

No matter how they are ranked by any site, it’s safe to say that the Lions are in great shape for their future, especially on defense.

Led by Aidan Hutchinson in the trenches, the Lions have seen their rookie class set the tone on the defensive side of the ball. Hutchinson has been phenomenal already, and has been joined by James Houston and Josh Paschal in terms of consistency up front.

At linebacker, Rodriguez has stepped up to look like one of the most important rookies on the team for the future. His toughness and leadership has been downright impressive. In the second level, Joseph has come on strong to look like a star in the making for many reasons.

Aidan Hutchinson strip sacks Aaron Rodgers, no challenge. Detroit Lions VS Green Bay Packer, 1/8/23Last game of the season, the Lions are trying to spoil the Packers playoff hopes. Dan Campbell should've challenged this play, it looked like a strip sack!2023-01-09T02:05:35Z

As a whole, this is great news for the Lions. In addition to these players, they will be backed up by tight end James Mitchell and wideout Jameson Williams. They’ve needed some talent on the defensive side that is young, and these guys will combine with names such as Alim McNeill, Derrick Barnes and others to make the team formidable into the future.

As the class continues to produce on the field, things might only get better for the Lions team as a whole. Looking at the grades now, it’s tough to not agree that the 2022 class could lay the foundation for the franchise’s turnaround.

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