Lions Defender, Budding Offensive Star Lead Most Overlooked Players

Romeo Okwara

Getty Romeo Okwara goes for a sack against Aaron Rodgers in 2021.

The Detroit Lions are set to get through the rest of the offseason in the push to begin the 2022 year, and up to this point, there’s been a lot of buzz during the offseason for the team.

So far, there’s been multiple players that have generated headlines at every turn, and while that isn’t a bad thing, some players have also been overlooked more than a bit at this point in time for the team.

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What players are being the most overlooked at this point in time? Here’s a look at some of the names that fans will not want to be sleeping on ahead of the start of the 2022 season.

Romeo Okwara, Defensive Line

Given the injury that claimed Romeo Okwara’s 2021 season, it could be hard for some folks to remember him this year, and grasp that he is indeed healthy coming into a new season. That will be the case, though, and the pass rusher has twice had phenomenal seasons in Detroit, racking up 10 sacks in 2020 as well as 7.5 in 2018. The work he put forward on the field was no less solid.

That is some big production for a Lions defensive front that is not prolific when it comes to rushing the passer. Okwara is going to be healthy and looking much stronger, and that’s a safe prediction to make for 2022. While some might be focusing on the other names up front, Okwara is still a crafty veteran who can make a big difference himself.

Tracy Walker, Safety

This offseason, the Lions prioritized re-signing Tracy Walker from the beginning. The safety was a player who has fit the scheme and managed to be a big-time contributor for the defense, which is why he got rewarded in the first place. Still, some fans might underrate him in terms of his overall impact on the defense.

Many Lions fans may have even preferred to see him get replaced. Still, Walker had a career year on the field in 2021 with 108 tackles, 1.0 sack and 1 interception. There’s a thought he could do even more given the fact he is comfortable with the team and will stick around to grow within Aaron Glenn’s defense.

The Lions clearly believe in Walker, which means the fans should not be overlooking him at this point in time.

Jamaal Williams, Running Back

Given his effervescent personality, it should be hard to underrate Jamaal Williams anywhere for any reason, but it still happens. Talk to anyone about the Lions’ 2022 season or offense and most of the buzz centers around D’Andre Swift at running back.

It’s fair to remember that Williams still looked solid at times last year and is the perfect complement to Swift’s sneakier style. The Lions should count on a durable season from Williams running the rock and also can count on him to be the kind of leader the locker room craves. That’s a good reason not to underrate him at all when it comes to the 2022 season.

Williams is going to be able to deliver some more big moments for the Lions this coming year, so it would be wise for folks not to sleep on him at all.

AJ Parker, Cornerback

Most of the attention will be on Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye and others at this position in Detroit, but AJ Parker quietly played a very solid role for the Lions last season as a cornerback.

Coming into the league as a fellow undrafted free agent just like Jerry Jacobs, Parker stepped up and provided the Lions a solid 50 tackles, 7 passes defended, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble. Everywhere Parker was, he was a playmaker.

Perhaps the best news? Parker has the right kind of mindset to be great again, given he wants to stay on the grind. It would not be wise to bet against him making a big impact this season for Detroit at cornerback. He is healthy and has another year under his belt of learning.

Quintez Cephus, Wide Receiver

With big play after big play during the OTA sessions, Quintez Cephus has become impossible to overlook at this point, but it doesn’t change the fact that some on the outside could be sleeping on the kind of impact he could make for the Lions in 2022.

Much like Okwara, Cephus was lost to injury early on, which prevented fans from getting a good grasp on all he can do for Jared Goff and the offense. Chemistry is a big thing, though, and Cephus seems to have it in spades with Goff.

While others focus on Jameson Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark this year, Cephus could quietly rack up big plays and yards given the penchant for them that he’s shown in the past.

Cephus could be a big-time solution that helps drive the Lions offense this year. Don’t sleep on that as a new season begins to dawn come training camp.

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