Detroit Lions NFL draft grades 2022: What they’re saying about Brad Holmes’ 8-player haul

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions added eight players to the roster in the 2022 NFL draft, and are in the process of signing numerous prospects in the undrafted free agent market.

Those who cover the draft and the NFL were generally pleased with what the Lions did in the annual three-day extravaganza.

Here’s a look at who the Lions drafted, and a roundup of draft grades with snippets of analysis from draftniks.

Round 1 (2): Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson

Round 1 (12): Alabama WR Jameson Williams

[Jameson Williams: Aidan Hutchinson and I will turn Lions around ]

Round 2 (46): Kentucky DE Josh Paschal 

Round 3 (97): Illinois S Kerby Joseph 

Round 5 (177): Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell 

Round 6 (188): Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez

Round 6 (217): Jackson State EDGE James Houston 

Round 7 (237): Arizona State CB Chase Lucas 

What they’re saying:

DAVE BIRKETT: Brad Holmes’ second draft as Detroit Lions GM sets Jared Goff for season of no excuses

JEFF SEIDEL: Brad Holmes’ 2 shrewd moves have this rebuild pointed in right direction

“Probably a gift that Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson, arguably this year’s best incoming player, ‘fell’ to Detroit at No. 2 before Holmes and Campbell vaulted up 20 spots from No. 32 in order to get highly touted Alabama WR Jameson Williams. And with two first-rounders at the ready for 2023, probably smart the Lions didn’t roll the dice on one of this year’s quarterbacks — opting instead on Day 2 for Kentucky DE Joshua Paschal and Illinois S Kerby Joseph, players who can contribute immediately.”

SHAWN WINDSOR: Lions didn’t need to gamble on QB in NFL draft. Defense picks on Day 2 were smart

“I’m giving the Lions a B for their overall draft haul for two main reasons: Holmes lived up to his promise to be aggressive when he moved up 20 spots to draft Williams, and I think there’s truth behind reports that he at least inquired about trading for San Francisco receiver Deebo Samuel.

“I love the aggressiveness. I’ve said all along that the Lions are a franchise that needs bold thinking and even bolder moves to move out of the muck they’ve been stuck in for 60 years.”

MORE FROM CARLOS: Why are Lions afraid to draft a QB? Brad Holmes missed chance to make a splash

Kiper was ecstatic the Lions took Aidan Hutchinson, the top player on his board, and thinks the Michigan native will challenge for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

“This is one of the league’s worst rosters from top to bottom. That’s why I was surprised to see them trade up 20 spots in Round 1 instead of keeping pick Nos. 32 and 34. The draft is such a crapshoot that it’s almost always better to take two chances at a top-ranked prospect than one.

“At the same time, I love the player they got in Jameson Williams, an electric wide receiver who could immediately be Jared Goff’s No. 1 target. He’s coming off a torn left ACL but should be ready to go by training camp. The trade felt like general manager Brad Holmes forced his way into a big move to fill a need, but Williams is going to be great when he’s on the field.

“Josh Paschal … has some intriguing physical tools with which to work. Credit Holmes for trying to turn edge rusher from a weakness to a strength.”

“The Lions’ draft is stamped by landing Hutchinson, the best player, for the pass rush at No. 2 and then a wise trade up to grab Williams as key extra big playmaker for the passing game. The rest of the haul isn’t that bad, but there’s definitely a knock for not thinking about quarterback and taking corner depth only very late.”

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“It’s possible the Lions got the best defender available this year at No. 2 in Hutchinson and the best receiver in the draft at No. 12 in Williams. Picking the talented pass-catcher was a bit of a risk, given the draft capital they parted with to trade up for him and the fact that he is coming off an ACL tear. His talent could make the trade look like a shrewd one, however. Paschal and Joseph were solid picks who could contribute right away.

“Rodriguez is an active, athletic ‘backer to add depth and be a special teams ace. Their fifth-round compensatory selection turned into Mitchell, a pass-catcher I expect Detroit to utilize immediately. Houston’s pass rush ability and strength against the run made him worthy of a selection.”

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