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Detroit Lions May Scouting Report
James Hintz

Very positive reviews for the Lions draft. They made a couple of trades during the draft, one involving early picks and one involving late round picks. They ended up with 8 picks, of which 2 were offense and 6 were defense. So while there might not be a ton of fantasy impact let’s look at the picks:

1.2 (2) DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan. This was a no brainer once the Jaguars went with Walker at 1. Hutchinson fits the Lions perfectly with what he brings on the field and with his work ethic and attitude. You would like to think he can approach double digits in sacks as a rookie, so he could be someone to watch in IDP leagues. I think the only criticisms I heard for this pick were that he might be a high floor/low ceiling guy compared to some of the other top prospects. Or that the Lions took him because he is a local kid. Please, he was near the top of everybody’s draft boards.

1.12 (12) WR Jamison Williams, Alabama. This was Detroit’s big move in the draft, as they traded up from 32 to get Williams. The trade was 32, 34, and 66 for 12 and 46. I’ll be honest, when I saw the trade up, I thought they were taking a quarterback, since that’s what we usually see with aggressive moves up in round 1. But they took Williams, despite his ACL injury in the CFP Championship game in January. Obviously we saw that the league as a whole was not impressed with this class of quarterbacks, but people knew Pittsburgh was sitting there at 20, and other teams in the middle of round 1 could have been looking for a quarterback and I thought the Lions were trying to jump them all to grab Willis or Pickett. Anyway, I am usually not a fan of trading up, especially with a team like Detroit who is still building their roster up. But by any draft pick value chart, the Lions ripped the Vikings off in this deal. The Lions can be patient with Williams and his recovery. Assuming he gets his deep speed back, it is fair to wonder if the Lions will eventually need to replace Jared Goff with a better deep ball thrower to truly maximize Williams. There were reports that the Lions did check in with the 49ers regarding Deebo Samuel and may have offered some of their draft capital but it wasn’t enough to meet the 49ers demands, so the Lions pivoted to this deal with the Vikings to make sure they could get Williams. With the way receiver salaries have escalated that was probably a prudent move. Williams could easily end up as the best receiver in this draft class when you factor in how high he was picked even with the ACL. He will likely be a hotter commodity in dynasty leagues, as the Lions have the depth at receiver that they lacked last year and can bring him along slowly. You’re probably looking at WR DJ Chark and WR Josh Reynolds on the outside, with WR Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot, with Williams working his way into the lineup as the year goes on.

2.14 (46) DE Josh Paschal, Kentucky. The Lions are serious about upgrading their pass rush, and rightfully so. Over the years, the Lions always seem to be near the bottom in sacks and more advanced stats that measure the quality of your pass rush. Paschal might have been a bit of a reach at 46, but he is a guy that brings some versatility as they have talked about how he could rush from an inside technique, so expect him to be a heavy part of the defensive line rotation. There were still plenty of quarterbacks still available here, but the Lions are clearly going to ride with QB Jared Goff in 2022.

3.33 (97) S Kerby Joseph, Illinois. With the wheeling and dealing the Lions did, they had long gaps in between picks with this pick coming 50 picks after Paschal and 80 picks before pick 177, in a draft that was supposedly light on high end talent but deep in the middle rounds. Joseph will be targeted for special teams work while he develops at safety as there is no long term answer right now to play along side Tracy Walker in the back end of the secondary.

5.34 (177) TE James Mitchell, Virginia Tech. Mitchell, like Williams, tore an ACL last season, but the Lions weren’t concerned about that as they likely hope Mitchell can develop into their number two tight end behind TE TJ Hockenson. Hockenson’s 5th year option got picked up so he is under contract through 2023 and could sign a long term extension this summer. So Mitchell doesn’t figure to have much fantasy value any time soon.

6.9 (188) LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State, 6.39 (217) DE James Houston, Jackson State, 7.16 (237) CB Chase Lucas, Arizona State. Depth picks for the defense, possible special teamers, possible practice squad candidates, you know the drill. I was a little surprised the Lions didn’t use a late round pick on a running back, but that wasn’t an urgent need either, would have been more depth and competition.

UDFA (skill positions only): RB Greg Bell, San Diego State. WR Corey Sutton, Appalachian State. WR Josh Johnson, Tulsa. WR Kalil Pimpleton, Central Michigan. TE Derrick Deese Jr, San Jose State, TE Nolan Givan, SE Louisiana. Please note that as of this writing the Lions have not officially announced their UDFA signings so these have been compiled based on various sources. Bell figures to get some chances in the preseason and is a good practice squad candidate. Johnson is the highest rated of the three receivers in this group. Pimpleton is small but has return ability. The depth chart at receiver is stronger than it was last year at this time, so it will be tough for these guys, but you never know. Deese is more a receiving tight end and you might remember his dad as an offensive lineman for the 49ers.

That’s it for this month. I will be back next month with a new report including a look at the schedule and any other news that develops from the OTAs and minicamps.


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