The Detroit Lions are virtually at rock bottom. After firing former head coach Jim Caldwell in 2017 even though Detroit had back-to-back winning seasons, the Lions have gone 17-46-2 over the past four seasons. The last time Detroit had back-to-back winning seasons before Caldwell was in 1994 and 1995.
However, there is still hope for Lions fans. Although Detroit finished with a 3-13-1 record last season, the Lions bit off a few kneecaps by going 3-3 in their final six games. Plus, Detroit made a bold move on NFL Draft Day by securing two first round picks.
Round 1, Pick 2: Aidan Hutchinson - DE - Michigan (6'7", 260 lbs, 14 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, 3 blocked passes, 2 forced fumbles).
The Lions received some divine intervention when the Michigan native dropped to #2 because he really should have went #1 overall, but Jacksonville did not select him. Hutchinson immediately becomes the impact pass rusher the Lions has desperately needed for years because the Lions only had 30 sacks last season. He makes big plays in big games. After 10 seasons, Michigan finally defeated Ohio State with Hutchinson being one of the main reasons why the Wolverines won that game.
Round 1, Pick 12: Jameson Williams - WR - Alabama (6'1 1/2", 179 lbs, 79 receptions, 1,572 yds, 15 TD, 2 kick return TD).
Williams would have been the first wide receiver selected in this NFL Draft, but he tore his ACL in the championship loss against Georgia. The Lions will have to wait for him to make plays in 2023.
Round 2, Pick 14: Joshua Pascal - DE - Kentucky (6'3", 268 lbs, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks).
As mentioned earlier, the Lions really do need help at defensive end. Fortunately, the Lions saw that as well by drafting Hutchinson and Pascal. Pascal will compete for the starting defensive end spot on the strong side. Pascal is really strong at defending against the run.
Round 3, Pick 33: Kerby Joseph - S - Illinois (6'1", 203 lbs, 5 INT, 3 fumble recoveries).
Joseph is the type of play-making safety that the Lions need. Detroit's safeties only had one interception last season. Joseph will compete for the starting job at free safety.
Round 5, Pick 34: James Mitchell - TE - Virginia Tech (6'4", 249 lbs).
Mitchell dropped in this draft due to a season-ending knee injury. He could see some time as a back-up TE.
Round 6, Pick 9: Malcolm Rodriguez - LB - Oklahoma State (5'11", 232 lbs, 129 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3 sacks).
Rodriguez started at linebacker for the past three seasons at Oklahoma State. He adds depth at inside linebacker.
Round 6, Pick 39: James Houston - LB - Jackson State (6'1", 241 lbs, 24.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles).
Houston wrecked shop last season at outside linebacker for Jackson State. He could see some time on passing downs.
Round 7, Pick 16: Chase Lucas - CB - Arizona State (5'11", 180 lbs, 34 tackles, 6 pass break-ups).
Lucas will compete to see some time as a back-up corner.
The Lions did what they had to do in this Draft by finding players that can make plays. Adding defensive depth at all three levels is an absolute plus. Grade: B+.