In many ways, the Detroit Lions‘ 2022 NFL draft seems to have been with the the future in mind. Such could be proven to be the case when the team traded up for wideout Jameson Williams.
Williams, recovering off an ACL injury, may or may not be ready to play right away in 2022. Whether he is or not doesn’t seem to matter for the Lions, as the team is building for 2023 and beyond with his selection. That’s just what a draft expert sees as the case.
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ESPN Insider and draft expert Todd McShay revealed his favorite pick for every team in the draft this year. When it came to the Lions, naturally, the choice was Williams given his explosion and dominance at the wideout position on the field. McShay loved Detroit’s move to stack defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson along with Williams in round one given both were elite players in the 2022 class.
What he seemed to love the most, though, was the possibility of Detroit pairing Williams with his former college quarterback Bryce Young in the 2023 NFL draft. It’s something McShay sees as a looming possibility to think about in the future.
“And who knows? Maybe the Lions are back atop the board next April and can reunite Williams with his 2021 quarterback at Alabama, Bryce Young. They did plenty of damage together. Williams piled up 1.572 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches last season,” McShay wrote in the piece.
While Williams could certainly help the 2022 Lions, the team could be looking forward to him in 2023 thanks to this variable. The pairing of Young and Williams was great in college, and could be even more explosive in the pros. That’s just what McShay seems to see already, which could contribute to his love of the Williams pick even more.
Williams’ College Stats & Highlights
It might not be a stretch at all to proclaim Williams one of the top players in the NFL draft like many have done since the pick took place. In college he showed a knack for speed and the big play. A big-time transfer from Ohio State, Williams came to the Crimson Tide after 266 yards and 3 touchdowns and set the SEC on fire in 2021. Williams racked up 1,572 yards and 15 scores en-route to being one of the top players in college football. An ACL injury in the National Title game hurt Williams’ chances of being a top five pick, but there would have been a chance if not for that. The tape shows a speedy player who has afterburners:
Obviously, speed is the key portion of the game for Williams, so if he can be healthy, that would be a big plus for the Lions and help them sooner rather than later on the offensive side of the ball. Him catching deep balls from whatever quarterback is a fantasy that fans will now get to live out.
Lions’ 2023 Plan Could Revolve Around Quarterback Pick
The Lions didn’t select a quarterback in 2022 after being rumored to be interested in the position through the process. The team didn’t so much as add a player to the mix from outside the building this offseason, re-signing Tim Boyle as well as David Blough. They didn’t invite an undrafted free agent rookie to camp as an arm, either, up to this point. All of this could show how committed the Lions are to 2023 at the position. Detroit will have a pair of first-round picks once again, and could be able to maneuver around for the quarterback they like. In Young as well as Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, the team could have a couple potential top answers lurking that make plenty of sense.
Many wanted to see the Lions go all-in at quarterback next year, and for those people, this 2022 draft was a win. Detroit got an elite wideout and boosted up the defense in a major way. If they complete the puzzle with a quarterback next year, the team could be on their way to bigger things as McShay and others seem to realize.