2022 NFL Draft: Grades for Aidan Hutchinson and Every Other Detroit Lions Pick

Though the Detroit Lions went 3-13-1 during the first year of the Jared Goff era, they at least had reasons to feel optimistic heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. Not only did they have some intriguing core pieces and a revamped wide receiver corps built around DJ Chark Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown, but they also had plenty of chances to improve. 

Even beyond the No. 2 pick of the proceedings, the Lions ended up with another first-round selection (No. 12), a choice in the second round, and plenty more to play around with. That should have allowed them to fill the glaring edge-rushing hole (check), take a flier on one of the quarterbacks in this lackluster class (nope), and still tackle other needs such as linebacker and cornerback (kind of). 

Detroit isn’t suddenly going to turn the ship around and compete for a title in 2022, but it should start to get back on the right track if it can put together a strong rookie class. 

2022 NFL Draft picks by Detroit Lions

  • No. 2 Overall: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
  • No. 12 Overall: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
  • No. 46 Overall: Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky
  • No. 97 Overall: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
  • No. 177 Overall: James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech
  • No. 188 Overall: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
  • No. 217 Overall: James Houston, EDGE, Jackson State University
  • No. 237 Overall: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State

No. 2 Overall: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Detroit Lions draft pick Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Detroit Lions edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

The Detroit Lions have a need pretty much everywhere on the field, so they almost couldn’t go wrong with whomever they picked. With hometown-favorite Michigan pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson falling to them, though, they hit a home run. Hutchinson may not have the high-end ceiling that past edge-rushers like Myles Garrett and Joey and Nick Bosa have, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t be an excellent NFL player. Dan Campbell now has a leader on his defense to build around, and Lions fans have a jersey to go out and buy.  

Grade: A

No. 12 Overall: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

On the one hand, this is an excellent pick by the Detroit Lions. The 6-foot-1½, 179-pound Alabama wideout Jameson Williams crushed it last year after transferring from Ohio State. He had 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 TDs. Williams tore his ACL in the national championship game, but all reports have him ahead of schedule in his recovery. The Lions got a player who would likely be the No. 1 WR on the board if he was healthy, so it’s an A long-term. However, they gave up a lot of draft capital to go get a guy with injury question marks, which knocks the grade down a peg.

Grade: B+

No. 46 Overall: Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky

The Detroit Lions finally have an identity, and it will be a “knee-biting” defensive line. Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal can rush on the edge opposite Aidan Hutchinson or inside in sub-packages. He’s also Kentucky’s only three-season team captain and has a “big personality,” per NFL.com. The Lions D-line is now officially legit.

Grade: B+

No. 97 Overall: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois

Illinois safety Kerby Joseph might be the best ball-hawking safety in the draft. At 6-foot-1, 200-pounds, he has a 6-foot-8 wingspan to go up and get balls. Joseph won’t give you much in run support but he had five INTs for the Illini last season and that will translate to the NFL. It’s another strong Detroit defense pick for Dan “MC/DC” Campbell.

Grade: B+

Day 3 Picks

No. 177 Overall: James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech

Mitchell is a versatile TE who can ply in-line or in the backfield. He’s a decent blocker and has enough speed to stretch the seam. This pick also fills yet another Lions need as a backup/TE2 behind T.J. Hockenson.

Grade: B-

No. 188 Overall: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State

Rodriguez is just 5-foot-11, 232-pounds, but put up big-time production for the Cowboys. Last season he recorded 129 total tackles (76 solo), 15 for a loss, three sacks, and four forced fumbles (13 in his career). He’ll find a way to make the team as a dynamite special teamer, and it’s a decent bet he’ll find a way to become a starter, even at his size.

Grade: B

No. 217 Overall: James Houston, LB, Jackson State University

Houston played for Coach Prime at JSU and is nicknamed “The Problem.” His stat line last year was a problem for other SWAC schools. He has 16.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and seven forced fumbles. Houston is just 6-foot-1, 241-pounds, but with that kind of production, he’s a great value as a possible NFL pass-rush specialist in the late sixth.

Grade: A-

No. 237 Overall: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State

Lucas is an experienced CB who played five years at Arizona State and picked off six balls. He was a team leader for the Sun Devils but doesn’t have much NFL potential or upside.

Grade: C

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