Intriguing Big 12 Tackle Headlines Lions UDFA Signings

Obinna Eze

Getty Obinna Eze at the NFL combine in 2022.

The Detroit Lions have finished off their 2022 NFL draft class, and as usual, the next step for the team is to see what undrafted free agents they can bring into the fold for next season.

In the past and as recently as 2021, the Lions have had success with undrafted free agents cracking the roster, so it would not be a stretch to see another few players from this group crack the roster or multiple players from this group crack the team’s practice squad in 2022.

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What does the team’s undrafted class look like this year? Here’s a look at more about some of the names that have surfaced.

  • Central Michigan WR Kalil Pimpleton. A wide receiver with smaller 5-9 size but big production, Pimpleton put up an eye-catching 2,131 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air in split time with Virgina Tech before coming back local. Pimpleton can also run the ball a bit given 303 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.
  • Appalachian State DE Demetrius Taylor. Another lineman for the Lions in the form of Taylor, who was incredibly productive in college with 137 tackles and 26.5 sacks in college. Taylor also has an interception and 6 forced fumbles up front and will compete for a job in camp.
  • TCU LT Obinna Eze. A Memphis transfer, Eze was an honorable mention as a Big 12 newcomer of the year player and a big body up front to come in and compete with one of the best offensive lines in the league.
  • Tulsa WR Josh Johnson. The former Iowa State transfer hopped to Tulsa and was a productive wideout in college. In total, Johnson collected 2,119 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career. He’s 5-11 in size and has been cited as a possible sleeper player for a team in the slot according to Pro Football Network.
  • Appalachian State WR Corey Sutton. More competition for the Lions at wideout comes in the form of Sutton, a very productive wideout for the Mountaineers. Sutton never had a season below 500 yards receiving in college, and topped out at 2,278 yards and a staggering 24 touchdowns in college.
  • Miami (Ohio) DB Cedric Boswell. An Iowa transfer, Boswell stands at 5-11 and collected 86 tackles and 1 interception in college with 10 passes defended. Last year, Detroit had multiple UDFA defensive backs crack the roster, so Boswell has tough duty but also a good opportunity in front of him.
  • San Jose State TE/H-Back Derrick Deese Jr. A big target at tight end, Deese has 11 touchdowns and 1,149 yards to his credit in college. His father Derrick Deese played in the NFL, so he has quality bloodlines to rely on as he attempts to make his dream come true.
  • Southeastern Louisiana TE Nolan Givan. The Lions continue to add firepower at tight end, bringing Givan to the mix as a signing. He was seen as one of the top small school offensive prospects in the draft. Givan put up 386 yards and 6 touchdowns between Ball State and Southeastern Louisiana.
  • San Diego State RB Greg Bell. Bell comes to the mix in Detroit to add a little punch to the backfield, and that could be what he is expected to do. Bell put up 1,901 yards and 15 touchdowns in college, and is a hard runner. He will get a chance to compete at a deep roster spot.
  • Michigan State G Kevin Jarvis. The Lions handed Jarvis a bigger guarantee deal to come to Detroit, and given they didn’t draft for the interior, Jarvis could find a way to stick on the roster. The Lions have had depth finds along the front in the last few years, and Jarvis could be an intriguing fit. The lineman was an All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021, and has played at guard and tackle in college. That could give him the versatility to land a role in Detroit.

  • Breaking Down Lions’ UDFA Class

    The Lions have had a strong draft class, but the team has done a decent job with some of these additions. Brad Holmes admitted post-draft that the team could have a smaller UDFA class this year than in 2021, but the team did a nice job to add a player in Pimpleton who could be a hidden-gem for the team’s offense. Additionally, Taylor is a versatile weapon along the defensive line. Eze adds some competition to the offensive line and depth and was one of the more interesting tackle prospects on the board. Sutton is a wideout that has made plenty of big plays in college, but it could be tough for him to break through in Detroit. In terms of Deese Jr., he has the right bloodlines, but like at wideout, tight end might be a tough group to crack, so he will earn it if he gets on the team.

    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 Josh 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 Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell, Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, 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. Adding these undrafted free agents to the mix should help the Lions as it relates to creating even more quality depth for the roster.

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