Lions Roster ‘Improved Most’ After Draft, ‘Could Be a Problem’ in 2022

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell interacts with a referee during a Lions-Vikings game in 2021.

After a frustrating 3-13-1 season, there wasn’t much of anywhere for the Detroit Lions to go but up in 2022, and that could be even more the case after seeing what played out in the NFL draft.

Detroit’s class this season has already taken on the look of one of the best in the league, and that’s due to not only the players the team selected, but the needs that they managed to check off. As a result, some see the Lions as one of

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After the draft played out, Bleacher Report and writer Kristopher Knox rated all of the teams who managed to improve in a big way. The Lions made the cut on the list as one of the handful of teams, and their bold class that filled out plenty of needs was the major reason why.

Knox seemed to love Detroit’s ability to find starters and depth pieces over the entire weekend, and cited the fact that the Lions added elite players early on as well as scouring the draft for key depth in the middle and later rounds. As a result, he sees the team as not only being improved, but perhaps looking like trouble for their opponents on the field as soon as this coming season.

“Detroit added high-end starters early and did a great job of finding value and addressing needs throughout the draft. The Lions are shaping up to be a problem for opponents in 2022,” Knox wrote in the piece.

The Lions could still be seen as a year or two away depending on the growth of players on their roster, but at this point, there’s no reason the team couldn’t take a step forward in a meaningful way in 2022. Depth has been improved, and if lots of young players on the roster take a step forward, Detroit could be above average on the field.

That seems to be just what some analysts see as playing out when all is said and done.

Multiple Lions Picks Could Play Major Role in 2022

If the Lions are to improve in a big way, it could be because their players end up seeing the field sooner and earning their way into the lineup. The good news for Detroit? Multiple players could fit this mold for the team, which could give the Lions a good chance to get some instant impact on a very needy roster.

In terms of the moves that were best for the Lions and the players who could benefit the most, it can be difficult to nail down some of the best ones this year given the dearth of options. 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. If linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez doesn’t play a big role on defense, he could be a quick force on special teams.

Lions 2022 NFL Draft Recap

The Lions have been enjoying perhaps their second straight strong draft in the last few years. On Thursday night, Detroit started strong with defensive end Aidan 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 Jameson Williams, who should add a dynamic element to their offense. Day two brought the team some more defensive help with gritty and classy Paschal, who may also have a future in acting. Super athletic safety Kirby 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 Virginia Tech tight end, Rodriguez, an Oklahoma State linebacker, Jackson State linebacker James Houston and Arizona State cornerback Chase Lucas.

All-told, it was a solid draft for the Lions that filled plenty of needs. It’s more than possible if these players develop fast that the Lions could take on an entirely different look in 2022.

READ NEXT: Mel Kiper Offers Bold Prediction for Aidan Hutchinson’s 2022 Season

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