With the 97th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Illinois safety Kerby Joseph. The pick addresses one of the Lions’ biggest needs, as they have been looking for a long-term playing partner alongside recently re-signed Tracy Walker.
A one-year starter at Illinois, Joseph had a breakout season in 2021 with seven passes defended and five interceptions.
The Lions were interested enough in Joseph in the pre-draft process to bring him in for a top-30 visit early this month.
Though he didn’t fully test due to a hamstring injury, his tape shows all the athletic traits necessary to be a perfect fit in the Lions’ split-zone safety scheme. He’s an instinctive player whose reaction time resulted in five interceptions last year—his only year as a full-time starter. With only one year of experience, that could scare some teams off, but the Lions would be wise to jump on the opportunity to grab an athletically and instinctively gifted player.
The Lions have now gone defense with three of their first four picks—a wise decision for a team that finished 31st in points allowed last year.
Lions picks thus far
- Round 1, Pick 2 — EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
- Round 1, Pick 12 — WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
- Round 2, Pick 46 overall — EDGE Josh Paschal, Kentucky
Lions remaining picks
- Round 5, Pick 34 (177th overall)
- Round 6, Pick 2 (181st overall)
- Round 6, Pick 39 (217th overall)
Top remaining needs for Lions:
Safety Edge defender Wide receiver
- Tight end
- Defensive tackle