The Detroit Lions have made it pretty clear during the 2022 NFL Draft that general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell really want to disrupt quarterbacks and stop the run. If selecting Aidan Hutchinson second overall wasn’t enough, the Lions doubled down on the edge by selecting Kentucky defensive lineman Josh Paschal with the 46th pick.
From the outside looking in, Paschal has everything the Lions could want. He’s an athletic lineman that can play on the edge and the interior. He also has all the character you could possibly ask for. Seems like a Campbell guy all the way.
Paschal seems like a guy with the highest character possible. Can you speak to that?
“He is the only three-year full-time captain in Kentucky football history. That tells you all you need to know about what his teammates thought of him. His battle back from a malignant melanoma, which included three surgeries and a year of immunotherapy treatments, was inspiring, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of his story. He was named the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year in 2021 in honor of his leadership.”
How did Paschal fare against some of the bigger SEC teams?
“He was credited with six tackles and a forced fumble against Georgia. Florida didn’t end up being very good last season, but at the time Kentucky beat them the Gators were a top-10 squad. He had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a blocked field goal in that win.”
What are his weaknesses?
“The only thing that really held Paschal back at Kentucky was injury. Not even including the cancer diagnosis that cost him most of the 2018 season, a variety of minor nagging things limited him at times the last two seasons. He probably tried to play through some injuries he shouldn’t have at times because he knew how important he was to Kentucky’s defense.”
Can Paschal be an impact player in the NFL?
“Definitely. I’m not sure he will ever be a superstar, but he should have a long career if he can stay healthy. His locker room presence will earn him the benefit of the doubt.”
Did the Lions get themselves a steal here?
“It’s hard to say he is a steal since he went earlier than projected, but I definitely think he was not getting enough respect in the pre-draft chatter. He should be a fan favorite.”