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Sunday open thread: Who will lead the Lions in sacks in 2022?

The Lions invested a lot of resources into their defensive line during the offseason. Which player will end the year with the most sacks?

2022 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

After finishing near the bottom of the league last year in sacks (30th) and pressures (29th), the Detroit Lions made it a point to invest heavily in their pass rush this offseason. Two early picks in the NFL Draft were spent on the defensive line, adding Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal in the first and second round, respectively. On paper, they look much better along the defensive front right now than they did a year ago.

At edge rusher, the Lions return their leading sack getter from last year in Charles Harris as well as Julian Okwara, Austin Bryant, and draft picks Hutchinson and Paschal. They will also get Romeo Okwara back at some point, who is still recovering from a torn Achilles injury that kept him out for all of 2021. He led the team with 12 sacks in 2020.

On the interior, the Lions field roughly the same unit as last year with Michael Brockers and Alim McNeil as your projected starters, and Levi Onwuzurike, John Penisini, among others as the reserves.

Today’s Question of the Day is...

Who will lead the Lions in sacks in 2022?

My answer: Aidan Hutchinson.

It might sound crazy to expect a rookie to come in and lead a team in sacks, but last year, Charles Harris led the team with only 7.5 sacks. Though I think there is a lot more to performing well than just getting sacks, that number should be pretty attainable for a second overall pick like Hutchinson. As a matter of fact, Pro Football Focus even has Hutchinson projected to lead all rookie edge rushers with 9.4 sacks and 57 pressures.

If not Hutchinson, then I could see Harris having another big year following his career year last year. I don’t expect Romeo Okwara to put up near the same numbers as he did in 2020 because Achilles injuries are pretty tough to come back from, but I wouldn’t count him out completely.

A wild card here is fellow rookie Josh Paschal. Hutchinson is likely to take most of the snaps as the Lions’ rush end, with Romeo Okwara filling in opposite him as their big defensive end. If Okwara misses any time while recovering, then Paschal could be next in line behind Okwara in that role, which should give him plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback.

Your turn.

Poll

Who will lead the Lions in sacks in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Aidan Hutchinson
    (729 votes)
  • 15%
    Charles Harris
    (172 votes)
  • 9%
    Romeo Okwara
    (108 votes)
  • 3%
    Josh Paschal
    (44 votes)
  • 5%
    Julian Okwara
    (57 votes)
  • 1%
    Austin Bryant
    (14 votes)
1124 votes total Vote Now