In a bit of a surprise move, after spending the No. 2 overall pick on Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, the Detroit Lions went back to the edge in Round 2, selecting Kentucky defensive lineman Josh Paschal with pick No. 46.
A high-character individual, Paschal was a three-time captain, a locker room influencer, and clearly the best player on the Wildcat's defense.
On the field last season, Paschal spent nearly 85 percent of his snaps on the edge, splitting his time almost equally between both sides as well as standing up and with his hand in the dirt. He spent the remaining 15-percent of his snaps inside, with an occasional snap at linebacker.
In Detroit, Paschal will likely stay as a position versatile option that the Lions can use on either edge, as well as inside at the 3-technique in pass-rushing situations.
Paschal possesses an elite first step which he frequently uses to cross the face of offensive linemen, often beating them to a spot and getting penetration into the backfield. This feature is accentuated in obvious pass-rushing situations, especially when he rushes from the 4i and 3-technique.
josh paschal is a heavy-handed mfer pic.twitter.com/IGQucyKFPm— charles (load up the drake (london)) mcdonald (@FourVerts) April 25, 2022
Power is also a large element of his game which he often uses to set the edge and stop the run, which makes him a valuable asset on early downs on the edge.
With Hutchinson likely taking over a starting role as an edge defender, along with Romeo Okwara (Achilles) and Charles Harris working from the other side, Paschal will be competing with Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant for snaps in the rotation. Julian Okwara is a unique pass-rushing specialist who doesn’t appear to have hit his ceiling and likely won’t cross roles with Paschal much, but Bryant should be feeling the pressure because based on our film, study Paschal looks like the more complete player.
Adding a fourth edge rusher, who can kick inside may not seem like a priority position to address in the second round, but Romeo Okwara’s injury recovery timetable is still unknown, Harris has just the one season over his career as a productive edge rusher, and depth is always an asset at the position.