Detroit Lions DB Chase Lucas got a taste of NFL coaching at ASU. He’s ready for more

Detroit Free Press

He wasn’t Mr. Irrelevant, but he was close.

As the hours ticked by on Saturday afternoon toward the final pick of the 2022 NFL draft, so nicknamed, Chase Lucas was fielding calls from teams wanting to make him a priority as an undrafted free agent.

Then, he saw the “313” area code.

“It’s been a rough three hours today, it was pretty hard to just be patient and trust the process,” he said, a smile on his face. “I just saw ‘Detroit, Michigan’ (on my phone), I thought the Lions were calling me for free agency but I ended up getting that beautiful news that I’ve always wanted and waited 25 years for.

“I’m very pumped up, I’m very excited, but I’m also ready to work — they’re going to get a good corner, a good nickel, a good safety, whatever they need out of me.”

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Lucas was the Lions’ eighth and final draft pick — six on defense, two of offense — coming in the seventh round and No. 237 overall.

The Arizona native was productive at Arizona State. As a five-year starter, his 49 games started are the second-most in school history. He’s also the only Sun Devil in program history to go a perfect 5-0 against rival Arizona and someone ESPN analysts liked.

“(Arizona State DB) Jack Jones went fourth round in New England, and I didn’t think there was much separating Jones from Chase Lucas watching Arizona State tape this year,” Mel Kiper Jr. said on ESPN’s telecast. “In coverage he more than held his own … he’ll come up in support.

“I’ll take the value for Lucas in Round 7 to the Detroit Lions who have a pretty good draft going.”

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is 185 pounds and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. But more than his ahletic ability, Lucas said he thinks it’s his experience, IQ and competitiveness that got him to this level.

A running back in high school, Lucas made the transition to defense when he arrived at ASU but said his growth took off when the new coaching staff, led by Herm Edwards, arrived.

“I was coached by NFL coaches like Marvin Lewis, Herm Edwards, so I’ve been around pro guys, been around pro coaches,” he said. “Having them critique the little things, moving the wrong hand or moving the wrong foot, I feel like that progressed 10 times, tenfold over the last 3-4 years.

“I feel like when they came it sharpened the edges around where I needed to sharpen and made me better as a whole, as a player, as a person.”

Lucas could play several positions. As GM Brad Holmes spoke after the draft Saturday, he said each of the Day 3 defenders will get their first look on special teams.

After that, he will see how they can fit into the greater picture; Lucas said his ability to go inside and outside like he did in college should help.

“I’m very comfortable because I’ve been playing nickel the last two years,” he said. “I feel like my football IQ is a big reason why I was drafted, and I feel like I do a lot of studying and film work and that should translate to the nickel spot.”

Lucas made the All-Pac-12 team three times, was an ASU captain last season and one of four corners (minimum 250 snaps) in the nation to not allow a touchdown.

He has faced high-end talent, including the first receiver taken this year, No. 8 overall pick Drake London (USC), and Lions slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (also from USC). On Saturday, Lucas said he’s glad that St. Brown is now a teammate — and that’s not the only Lion he’s looking forward to working with.

“I’m excited to be on a team with Amon-Ra, I mean the whole team, but also especially Jeff Okudah,” he said. “To have him be up there, learn from him, I was trained by the same coach he was trained by.

“So I feel like I’m going to mesh in well, I know they love to compete and that’s what I’m here to do.”

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