The Detroit Lions have finished off their 2022 NFL draft class, and as a result, they have a whole room full of new players to welcome into the mix.
Meeting the new guys and making sense of their fit on the roster will be the goal in the coming weeks and months, but so soon after the draft, some snap judgements can be made about the new studs the Lions have welcomed into the family.
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In terms of the class, what are some superlatives that can be tossed out to describe players? Here’s a look at some adjectives to describe some of the team’s newest draftees.
Most Athletic: Kerby Joseph, Safety
Joseph’s all-around athletic ability is actually quite staggering and insane. A jumpy 38.5 vertical leap at the NFL combine was just the beginning for the safety. He’s also been seen as one of the best leapers in this class given his springy feet and ability to do backflips of all kinds. While flips don’t translate to immediate NFL success, Joseph has shown the kind of natural ball instincts of a veteran at the position just a short time after converting to safety from wide receiver in college.
Some of the plays that Joseph makes seem impossible for other players who might only be slightly less athletic. To that end, he seems like the kind of guy that could make a big impact when all is said and done.
Best All Around Talent: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver
Is there anything that hasn’t been said about Williams thus far? Not only is he likely one of the speediest wideouts in this entire class, he is a home run play waiting to happen on the field. It had been since 2008 and Calvin Johnson that the Lions had gone wideout in the first round, and Williams is a good player for the team to break the seal with at this point. Arguably, he has the highest ceiling of any wideout in the class when completely healthy. Some plays Williams have made look insane on tape:
While Williams may not get a chance to show his stuff immediately due to an ACL injury, the Lions should be happy to have him in the mix for the future. Williams and his ability to be a constant home run threat makes him the top player in this class from a pure talent standpoint, and someone the Lions should be pleased to have catching passes moving forward.
Best Personality: Malcolm Rodriguez, Linebacker
Watching how a player interacts with his teammates as well as how he leads and reacts on the field can provide a good window into what kind of a pro they will be. To that end, Rodriguez could be a slam-dunk to play some type of important role for the Lions early on whether on special teams or defense. Always bringing the passion, Rodriguez is excitable and fiery between the lines and always getting psyched up after a big play of a teammate or one of his own. Off the field, he always has thoughtful responses to offer to the media as this chat proves:
While this Lions class is a winner overall in terms of personality, Rodriguez feels like a home run fit for the team in terms of what they like to see out of their players. Count on him making a favorable impression fast.
Class Clown: James Houston, Linebacker
When a player comes to town with a pretty epic nickname, you can tell they’re a person that offers some flair and personality. Such is the case with Houston, who leaves Jackson State with a great moniker already. Dubbed “Da Problem” because of his ability to make a huge pass rushing impact and blow up an opposing offense, Houston has a million dollar smile and it will be easy to see him making a huge impact on the locker room for the team.
Hearing him speak, it’s obvious that Houston is a good move in terms of chemistry and personality. There will be no fooling about his game, but he is also likely to keep it light and be a favorite of his teammates.
Best Upside: James Mitchell, Tight End
The Lions have had plenty of athletic players in the past, but Mitchell might be the most interesting of any recently. Armed with a solid 16.1 yards per-catch average in college, Mitchell could have been a second-round or third-round pick if not for an untimely ACL injury in 2021. The Lions snatched him in the fifth-round, and that could prove to be a great value buy for the team in time. As he showed in college, Mitchell can be a big play waiting to happen.
If Mitchell is healthy, he is a basketball player on grass and a solid combination of a gritty, willing blocker and solid receiver. That’s a combination that can be hard to find in the NFL anymore, so if the Lions gambled right on his health, they could be paid off quickly. It feels if Mitchell could be an early-round talent packed into a late-round steal for Detroit.
Most Likely to Succeed: Aidan Hutchinson, Defensive End
Save the best for last, right? In this case, save the most obvious for last. The Lions lucked out to land Hutchinson with their second-overall selection, and he might be the best player in the draft. He also stays close to his college home of Michigan and within his home state. Such comfort cannot be duplicated, and often times, players that struggle with an entry into the league do so thanks to an adjustment period. Hutchinson has none of that to worry about whatsoever. Consider how happy he was getting the call to join the team:
Hutchinson joins a defense where he can be the centerpiece and make an immediate impact, yet not be so important he is being counted on to be the only guy doing anything on the field at his position. To that end, it feels like a lock to proclaim Hutchinson destined for success in Detroit in the future.
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