It’s far too early to make any sweeping conclusions about the Detroit Lions’ 2022 draft class, but it’s fair to say the returns after one season are certainly promising. The Lions got starter reps out of Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph, Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston, while they saw the tip of the iceberg potential in guys like Jameson Williams, Josh Paschal, and James Mitchell.
Another sign that the Lions’ rookie class could be a special one is looking at ESPN’s two-round 2022 NFL Draft do-over. The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” got beat writers from every team to re-do last year’s draft with the hindsight of knowing how these players performed in their rookie season. One twist was that the draft order reflects the original order on the start of draft day. So most notably, the Lions do not trade up to grab Jameson Williams at 12. Instead, they have their original picks: 2, 32, and 34.
Interestingly enough, the Lions’ draft doesn’t look entirely different. Lions beat writer Eric Woodyard still takes Hutchinson second overall after the Jaguars select Sauce Gardner this time around. Jameson Williams actually still goes 12 overall, but with the Vikings’ original pick. Meanwhile, the Lions curiously stick with Josh Paschal at 34, but pick up linebacker Devin Lloyd with the 32nd pick.
So three picks that the Lions actually made—Hutchinson, Williams and Paschal—all come off the board in the top 34 picks of the re-do. That’s impressive in and of itself.
But we aren’t done. That’s because James Houston’s incredible finish to the 2022 season got him picked in the re-do. While the Lions were able to get Houston in the sixth round, he went 58th to the Falcons this time around.
It’s actually somewhat surprising the Lions didn’t have a fifth player go in the re-do, as safety Kerby Joseph flashed plenty of potential in 2022. Three safeties were taken in the re-draft: Jalen Pitre at 30, Lewis Cine at 46 and Jaquan Brisker at 39. Not so coincidentally, both Cine and Brisker ended up landing on the team that actually drafted them—a very common theme in his exercise.
- Last week, it was revealed the Michigan Panthers of the USFL will play their home games at Ford Field. This week, their 2023 schedule dropped. April 30 will be their first home game:
Get your phone ready for the 2023 season— Michigan Panthers (@USFLPanthers) February 7, 2023
It's time to pounce on some new wallpaper pic.twitter.com/Kq8sjldCJ7
- In case we haven’t rehashed this story enough, Darius Slay still hates Matt Patricia.
- The Lions were mic’d up at the Pro Bowl. Here are the “best ofs,” courtesy of the Lions:
- Another cool note from the Pro Bowl. Because Jared Goff knows what it’s like to get traded from his original team—and then find success on the other side—he had a long conversation with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to give him some advice.
- The Lions are a growing brand. In fact, of all NFL teams who didn’t make the playoffs, Detroit saw the biggest social media increase in 2022:
Even though there are already millions of passionate fans across the @NFL, there's always room for more!— Zoomph (@Zoomph) February 2, 2023
During the regular season, these ten #NFL teams had the most follower growth across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pic.twitter.com/nFIxHwFuOw
- James Houston went back to chat with Jackson State media and discuss all the success he had in his rookie season and what it was like going from being cut to being on the practice squad to his crazy eight-sack finish to the year.