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2022 Detroit Lions draft class, as described by their college coaches

Get to know the Detroit Lions’ 2022 NFL Draft class through the words of the people who coached him in college.

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We’re now a week past the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, and the die-hards have a pretty good grasp on the eight new Detroit Lions players selected throughout all seven rounds. But we’re always trying to dig a little deeper in the draft, because we’re hungry for information and can’t wait until these young gentlemen make it onto the field.

So let’s get to know this draft class on a deeper level from the people who know them best: their college coaching staff. Sure, these coaches are not likely to throw their own players under the bus to the media, but they undoubtedly know more about these prospects than just about anyone outside of their families.

Here’s a sampling of what each draft pick’s coaching staff had to say about them.

Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on why Hutchinson should be the No. 1 pick (via ESPN)

“Aidan epitomizes [being a champion]. He stayed, he became a champion, he improved his game, he became a captain, he was a great leader. He took our team on his back—along with Hassan Haskins. Broke his dad’s record and I think he’s going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.”

Harbaugh on who Hutchinson compares to in the NFL (via 247 Sports)

“Relentless, he’s a relentless player. He does not take a play off. It’s every single play. He’s all out and then I watched him in practice, he’s the same way every single day. You know, it’s kind of interesting. Our strength coach, Ben Herbert, was a strength coach at Wisconsin and he’s been asked that same question, I asked him too, ‘Who would you compare him to?’ He said he would compare him to the Watt brothers. So J.J. Watt is who he compares him to. There’s nobody else that he would compare to agent Aidan Hutchinson in his mind. He was somebody that was with them both as a strength coach at Michigan and Wisconsin.”

Former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald on how Hutchinson inspired David Ojabo (via WXYZ-TV in Detroit)

“I think what happened was he saw how Aidan approached everything and the success that he was having, and he realized what it took to be great.”

MacDonald on Hutchinson’s versatility and variety of pass rushing moves (via The Maize and Blue Review)

“I’d say Aidan has a 104-mile-per-hour four-seamer, then a 96-mile-per-hour two-seam and he can go with a 93-mile-an-hour slider, if that makes sense.”

Alabama WR Jameson Williams

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day (via The Athletic)

“When Jameson got here, we knew his track times were off the charts. We knew his length, we knew his speed, but what we didn’t know was how tough he was. This is a guy who’s practiced really, really hard. He goes in there and just tries to (make plays). There’s a couple clips of film where he’s just throwing his body around. That was really impressive to all of us. His work ethic is really good. I think he’s got a really bright future ahead of him.”

Alabama head coach Nick Saban on recruiting him from the transfer portal (via on3.com)

“We looked for a receiver,” Saban said. “We looked at everybody in the portal. He started and played against us last year during the National Championship game and we had a lot of respect for him from that standpoint. When he was in the portal, we looked at all the players and said, ‘No doubt, this is the best guy out there let’s try to get him.’”

Saban on how Williams compares to Devonta Smith (via ESPN)

“I think JaMo can do both (inside and outside), but I think he’s more of a vertical guy. He’s going to be a guy that is going to cause a lot of problems for people because of his ability to catch the deep ball, which will make other receivers on that team better as well and more effective.”

Kentucky EDGE Josh Paschal

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops (via Your Sports Edge)

“You cannot say enough good things about Josh. I’ve bragged on him and he deserves it. He truly is one of the most special players I have ever been around. I have coached a long time and some really good football players and some amazing individuals. He is, if not number one, it is hard to beat him, as far as a person.”

Stoops on Paschal’s fit in the NFL (via Your Sports Edge)

“He’ll play in the NFL, there is no doubt. He is definitely a tweener, and that could be a good thing, but he is versatile. He’ll get a lot of looks, and I think a lot of people will really study him to see where he’ll fit in their system. If you’re a 3-4 team like we are, he could still go outside because he’s so sturdy, stout, and on first and second down could be ‘Sam’ or ‘Jack’ (linebacker) in that league and he’s hard to move, but he’s also versatile enough to go inside in predictable pass (situations).”

Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White (via The Advocate-Messenger)

“We all know what he can do. Look at Auburn, Ole Miss and halfway through the Mississippi State games last year and he was playing as well as any defensive lineman in the SEC before he got banged up. His body, his conditioning are at an elite level. We need him to perform at an elite level.”

Illinois safety Kerby Joseph

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema on his mid-season improvement (via STL Today):

“I think he just continues to get smarter and smarter the way he plays the game,” Bielema said. “I like the way (defensive coordinator Ryan Walters has) worked with him individually, just building his confidence up. I think this is the third game in a row now where he’s come away with a turnover of some capacity. ... But I think he’d be the first to tell you, too, he hasn’t played a perfect game yet, and he’s a player that I’m excited about where he can go in the next games ahead of us and then also in the future.”

Bielema on Joseph’s NFL future:

Bielema on Joseph’s tenacity on special teams (via Journal Gazette & Time-Courrier)

“A guy that goes hard all the time, and he’s literally involved in all four (special teams) units for us and has gained more of a defensive role as well.”

“He does have that attitude of a player that enjoys the special teams aspect just as much as the defensive snaps he takes, so that combination is something you can win with it.”

Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell

Former Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente on Mitchell’s character (via Bristol Herald Courier)

“He’s a kid who does everything you ask him to do, makes great grades, graduates, all that sort of stuff. He doesn’t go act the fool. You just want him to make other people act like him.”

Former Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen (via the Virginian-Pilot)

“One of the best players we have ― not only on the offense, but on the team. He’s got the experience. He’s got the respect from his teammates. He just checks all the boxes.

Fuente on the loss of Mitchell to a torn ACL

Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez

Oklahoma head coach Mike Gundy on why he values former wrestlers like Rodriguez (via ESPN)

Wrestling is mental toughness. It’s discipline. You’ve got to make weight. There’s times you can’t eat. You go a couple days and you’re hungry all the time. You’re in hand-to-hand physical combat. Your nose gets busted, your eyes get busted. It’s just you on the mat. You can’t point the finger at anybody else. You learn to be disciplined and tough and try to find a way to finish.”

Gundy on the performances of Rodriguez and WR Tay Martin in Fiesta Bowl game win over Notre Dame (via Pistols Firing)

“These guys are warriors. This is a violent, physical game. Their bodies are beat up. They can feel everything at night when they go to sleep, and they feel it again when they wake up in the morning. So for them to be willing to put their bodies on the line for our culture, for our organization, and then have success, makes it all worth it.”

Jackson State EDGE James Houston

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders on Houston’s similarity to Micah Parsons (via HBCU Gameday)

“The kid balled out this year and has all kinds of accolades but he reminds me of [Parsons]. My whole pitch to him was, ‘Look, man, Parsons was the inside guy now he’s inside and outside and he is everywhere. You could do the same.’ Because he was an inside linebacker for us but he wouldn’t have started there so we moved him to the rush and my god. He broke records and he is phenomenal.”

Jackson State defensive line coach Jeff Weeks on his pass rushing traits (via Clarion Ledger)

“It’s his god-gifted ability. First of all, he has a great first step. He’s got a great dip move, and for a guy that’s never really played the position he can dip well. He can move, he’s got great body awareness. At times he gets overextended because he’s learning the position, but that’s just from not being a pass rusher all the time. But there’s times where his natural ability just shows he’s gifted and he keeps getting better and better.”

Arizona State CB Chase Lucas

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards on Lucas’ leadership: (via 247 Sports)

“I told him that ‘Eventually, you’re going to be one of the leaders of this football team,” and rightfully so. He’s a team captain. He’s played in enough football games, and the players respect him as a person and as a player that when he says something, his voice—it makes a loud noise and players are knowing that, ‘Hey, we gotta hold each other accountable.’”

Arizona State defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson (via EastValley.com)

“When you have played all the games that he has, the confidence is there. You’ve seen enough through visual experiences, and when you think you are the best and feel like you are the best, you kind of feel like you are really good. I think he is at that point right now after all the years he has played.”