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Tuesday open thread: Which Day 3 Lions’ draft pick will get the most snaps in 2022?

Detroit selected four players on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, so let’s discuss which one has best chance of seeing the field in their first season.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Oklahoma State at Notre Dame Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With how much we’ve seen of Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams recently, it’s easy for the players Detroit rounded out their draft class with to fade into the background.

James Mitchell, Malcolm Rodriguez, James Houston, and Chase Lucas were the four players the Lions selected on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft; each at a different position, but all of them with a good-to-great chance of making Detroit’s 53-man roster in August.

Considering these players all occupy different spots on the field, none of them are in real competition with one another for playing time, but nonetheless, when you take into account the depth at their respective positions and their ability to contribute on special teams, the projections get a little more clear.

Today’s Question of the Day is...

Which Day 3 Lions’ selection will get the most snaps in 2022?

As already mentioned, the four players all play different spots. During rookie minicamp, Jeremy noted that Houston, an EDGE player for Jackson St. his senior season, was repping with the linebackers, but he figures to serve in a much different role than someone like Rodriguez who would play your traditional MIKE linebacker. But what’s important to first figure out is which of these players has the clearest route to being a contributor on special teams—a place where Day 3 rookies can earn their coaches’ trust and respect, and eventually find their way onto the field on offense or defense.

Rodriguez figures to be a special teams player from the jump in a number of phases given his athletic profile and his natural ability as a sure-tackler. When you consider the depth at the linebacker spot Rodriguez will play in Aaron Glenn’s defense, Alex Anzalone is penciled in ahead of the former Oklahoma State standout, but with a strong showing at training camp, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Rodriguez earn his spot as Anzalone’s backup.

The aforementioned Houston could find his way onto defense as a situational pass-rusher in his rookie season given his knack for getting after the quarterback—Houston had 16.5 sacks in his lone season at Jackson St. He could also very well be a contributor on special teams, but after transitioning to the EDGE from linebacker in college, he’ll have to undergo another position flip-flop his rookie season as he moves back to linebacker, and the transition could likely be a gradual move.

Chase Lucas was the Lions' last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he faces the longest odds of any of Detroit’s Day 3 picks to find the field. If Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are healthy and ready to play from the get-go, the Lions have quite a few players Lucas would have to climb over on the depth chart including Amani Oruwariye, Mike Hughes, AJ Parker, and Ifeatu Melifonwu.

Lastly, and the player I think has the best chance to see a lot of playing time in their rookie season is Virginia Tech tight end, James Mitchell. The Lions are without a bonafide TE2, and if Mitchell’s knee is ready for action, he’s got a real shot to fill that need for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Detroit didn’t line up in as much 12 personnel last year as they would have liked to because of their roster’s limitations. After Josh Hill signed, and then subsequently hung up his cleats, Detroit was left unable to fill that void.

With the arrival of Mitchell, the Lions have a tight end capable in all phases—he could even play some H-back if called upon. His ability as a pass-catcher, combined with his willingness to mix it up as a blocker, make Mitchell my early, odds-on favorite to secure the TE2 job in training camp should his knee be healthy.

Your turn.

Poll

Which Day 3 Lions’ selection will get the most snaps in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Malcolm Rodriguez
    (1319 votes)
  • 7%
    James Houston
    (172 votes)
  • 3%
    Chase Lucas
    (67 votes)
  • 29%
    James Mitchell
    (638 votes)
2196 votes total Vote Now