The Detroit Lions are busy acclimating their rookies to life in the NFL, but first things first. The team had to make sure they could get new uniform numbers for their class.
Folks had been waiting for quite a while for the numbers to be released, but finally, fans can put a digit with a new player thanks to the Lions, who revealed all the player choices ahead of rookie minicamp on Friday, May 13.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Early in the day with one neat and tidy tweet, the Lions managed to handle the business of their rookie numbers in a big way. Here’s a look at the threads all the new guys will be sporting in the league:
Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson will wear his familiar 97 in Detroit, wideout Jameson Williams will switch to 18 in the NFL, defensive lineman Josh Paschal will wear 93, safety Kerby Joseph will be sporting 31, tight end James Mitchell will wear 82, linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez will wear 44, edge James Houston will wear 59 and cornerback Chase Lucas will wear 36 with the Lions.
As a whole, there is nothing too surprising on this list for the Lions, and it’s interesting to see Williams switching from 1 to 18. Most of the other numbers fit the positions the players play perfectly. The chance now exists for these players to make the numbers their own.
A Brief History of Lions’ Rookie Class Numbers
The jersey numbers the rookie class is taking over have an interesting history with the Lions. In terms of 97, that number was most recently worn by defensive lineman Nick Williams, who was not re-signed this offseason. The closest a main roster player has gotten to 18 was wideout Kenny Golladay, who used to wear 19 in Detroit. 93 was recently worn by Da’Shawn Hand, who had a solid rookie season before injuries limited his impact. 31 was Teez Tabor’s number, so fans will be hoping for better things from Joseph. Tight end Logan Thomas last wore 82, but it was a number popularized by wideout Jermaine Crowell in the late 1990s. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin last wore 44, and Tahir Whitehead wore 59. Perhaps the best-known 36 in Detroit was safety Bennie Blades.
As a whole, the new class will have a big chance to impart some football life into these classic numbers for the team. The hope is all of these players can have long and fruitful careers and end up making these digits their own on the way to NFL immortality.
Recapping Detroit’s Stellar 2022 Draft
Why would people be so excited to see what numbers the players were wearing? Probably because the Detroit draft class has been generating almost universal praise since it finished a few weeks back, and not just for the top players. In round one, Detroit started strong with Hutchinson from Michigan, who will be a slam-dunk fit for the defense as well as a hit locally given he grew up in town. After that, the Lions traded up for wideout Williams, who should add a dynamic element to their offense. Day two brought the team some more defensive help with the gritty and classy Paschal, who may also have a future in acting. Super athletic safety Joseph closed out the day, and should contend for a role quickly in the Motor City on a needy defense. During day three, the Lions added Mitchell, a tight end from Virginia Tech, Rodriguez, an Oklahoma State linebacker and Houston, a Jackson State linebacker. Lucas, a cornerback from Arizona State, was the team’s final selection. Already, Rodriguez is seen as a potential steal.
The fans hope that they can begin to buy these jerseys and the rookie class quickly becomes favorited by them in the future. If the numbers start to be seen around town, that will be a big boost to the football future in Detroit.