Mel Kiper Offers High Grade, Glowing Assessment of Lions’ Class

Mel Kiper

Getty Mel Kiper during the 2007 NFL Draft.

In the immediate aftermath of any NFL draft, the first thing to leak out is the letter grades, as folks rush to some snap judgements about the class of players that has just been drafted and hasn’t even played a down yet.

Even though such grades can be seen as crapshoots in real-time, it’s still a fun excersize to enjoy, and one of the voices people have come to appreciate the most has been ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. In terms of the Detroit Lions, folks rarely love their drafts.

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Always seen as a sage through the process, Kiper is the kind of analyst who’s words seem to carry a bit of extra weight. So this year, it has to be seen as good news for the Lions that like plenty of others, Kiper loves the team’s 2022 class.

After the draft finished up, Kiper put together his usual grade rankings for every class in an Insider piece. When it came to Detroit, Kiper had the team as a top-five class. The Lions earned a B+ mark in the piece from Kiper.

As he admitted, he was a bit puzzled Detroit traded a pair of picks to move up for Jameson Williams, even as much as he loves Williams. He did, however, love Detroit picking defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson as well as Josh Paschal. Kiper also appreciated the team picking tight end James Mitchell, who he admits could be a “solid find when he’s healthy.”

All-told, as Kiper admitted, having Hutchinson and Williams on the team gives Detroit’s draft work as a near A for 2022. Even though it’s not, a B+ is still a very solid grade from Kiper.

Many Draft Experts Love Lions’ 2022 Class

It’s not just Kiper on an island loving Detroit’s draft with a high grade. The team has gotten love from almost every corner of the internet as it relates to what they have done this year. Pro Football Focus gave Detroit a rare flawless A+ grade for their work, and pundits have been taking to Twitter in recent days to laud the Detroit class and its depth. Bleacher Report also appreciated what the Lions did, giving the team an A grade for their work in 2022. Add it up and it seems there isn’t many analysts who aren’t a fan of what the Lions did. With his B+ grade, Kiper might be the most critical, and Detroit’s class was still good enough in his eyes for a top-five class ranking overall.

Analysts seem to like the aggressiveness, the value buys at key spots and Detroit’s ability to address a defense which averaged out as one of the league’s worst in 2022 in ranking 29th overall. With just one pick on offense in Williams all weekend, the Lions prioritized that lousy defense, which feels like a smart approach. That could be a major reason the analysts are currently loving on Detroit’s class post-draft.

Rating Lions’ Best Picks From 2022 Draft

In terms of the moves that were best for the Lions, it can be difficult to nail down some of the best ones this year. Obviously, the team’s performance in the first-round of the draft has been cited as impressive already. Adding Kentucky pass rusher Josh Paschal in the second-round as well as adding Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez in the fifth-round seem like particular steals for the Lions. It’s also easy to like the potential of Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell in round five as well.

Grading the entire draft and those on the outside seem to absolutely love what the Lions were able to do. Kiper is certainly no different than some of the others who have been loving on Detroit’s draft so far.

READ NEXT: Grading Lions’ 2022 Draft: Why Detroit Earned High Marks

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