Open thread: Who has been the Lions’ most underwhelming player in 2022?

Pride of Detroit

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Detroit Lions through four weeks already. There have been shining stars, diamonds in the rough, and some serious duds. The defense is in shambles in spite of some promising young pieces, and the offense is the epitome of synergy, miraculously performing best in the NFL in points by a wide margin.

Question of the day: Which Lions player has underwhelmed the most in 2022?

The laundry list of candidates for this award is somewhat discouraging, but what’s interesting is that they’re all on this list for different reasons.

One obvious pick that comes to mind is Amani Oruwariye. After stepping in formidably as CB1 in 2021, the expectation was that he would have little trouble sliding to CB2 with the return of Jeff Okudah. Instead, Oruwariye has struggled and somehow managed to always be within arm’s reach (both figuratively and literally) of a penalty flag.

Then there’s Michael Brockers, who did nothing of note in 2021 and has done nothing of note in 2022. Brockers had been a centerpiece of the Rams defense when he came to Detroit prior to the 2021 season, and that set him up to have a huge impact on a talent-depleted defense. Two years in and on what is currently the league’s worst defense, Brockers is struggling to even see the field. When he does, it’s almost impossible to tell.

There’s an argument to be made for D.J. Chark, given his $10 million price tag. The Lions took a chance on Chark given his injury-riddled history, which has reared its head already, with Chark missing Week 4. In his other three games he has amassed a total of 98 yards, putting him on pace for 417 receiving yards in 2022. That’s almost $24,000 per receiving yard, and the Lions need more out of him than that.

After a gradual ascent in 2021, Derrick Barnes was expected to have a commanding presence in the linebacking corps in 2022. Instead, he has come back down to earth, playing second fiddle to rookie standout Malcolm Rodriguez through the first quarter of the season.

There’s honorable mention to tight end James Mitchell, who many hyped up to be the TE2 of the future, but has spent most of his 2022 on the inactives list instead. That’s no fault of his own, as he was a fifth-round pick coming off an ACL injury. However, I’d like to see Mitchell play some role in the offense and show development through 2022.

Ultimately, one player stands out from the rest, and not in a good way. I don’t think it’s too early any longer to label Levi Onwuzurike a bust. I’m not holding my breath for him to meet second-round expectations any longer, and I hope you aren’t either, because it may be a while before he gets the opportunity.

It’s hard to meet or exceed expectations if you don’t see the field, and that’s a really low bar for a second-round pick. Onwuzurike showed flashes of his potential in 2021, but even that season was littered with injuries. The extent of his absence has forced the Lions to build their roster such that other players fill his role, and the longer Onwuzurike misses time, the harder it will be for him to reclaim his role.

Who do you think has underwhelmed the most in 2022? Vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts:


Which Lions player has underwhelmed the most in 2022?

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    Levi Onwuzurike

    (0 votes)

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    Amani Oruwariye

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    D.J. Chark

    (0 votes)

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    Derrick Barnes

    (0 votes)

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    James Mitchell

    (0 votes)

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    (0 votes)

0 votes total

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