It’s almost guaranteed that not every draft of the draw will come out of a particular year – that’s just the harsh truth about NFL draft gambling. However, it is possible that the draftsman will not even get a list in the novice year. Could this happen to the 2022 Detroit Lions?
Abandoning the draft is not an unfamiliar concept to people in Detroit for some time. In 2020, fifth-round player Jason Huntley did not make it to the original 53-member list and was asked to give up. A year earlier, the defense of the seventh round was abandoned on the day of the abandonment of PJ Johnson. In 2017, two newcomers did not make it to the list: quarterback Brad Kaaya (sixth round) and defender Pat O’Connor (seventh round).
As Brad Holmes’ first year as general manager of Lions, he made a perfect seven-to-seven team with his driving choices – not only that, but most of them made significant contributions throughout the season. Even after an active break, it seems likely that most, if not all, of these players will make it to this year’s list.
The 2022 draft class may be another story, but not because of a lack of good choices.
With the exception of one out of the ordinary, Lions’ first four choices should be list locks. Aidan Hutchinson is a much-needed feeder in the line of defense. Jameson Williams is an explosive game manager. Josh Paschal is a versatile chess piece. Kerby Joseph has at least a certain safety depth.
However, the four options that follow may have a little more uncertainty. As you might expect, James Mitchell will probably make it to the list, but thanks to a deep and very restless group, there is no guarantee. Not only does Mitchell have to come back healthy, he has to fend off Devin Funchess, Garrett Griffin, Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra, among others.
Next up are a couple of line protectors, both of whom may face stiff competition. Malcolm Rodriguez’s best path list can be reached through special teams, but there are a number of other players in the same way. Chris Board, Jarrad Davis, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Natrez Patrick, Anthony Pittman and Josh Woods could very well push him into one of the few special team positions. As for James Houston, he not only has to fend off the players listed above, but he is also on the verge of competition. He faces a rigid learning curve in the NFL, and early reduction of his role seems to be a lion’s strategy for him.
Eventually, Chase Lucas joins an already crowded corner defender group. Lions not only have beginners Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye, but the depth is sure. Jerry Jacobs, Ifeatu Melifonwu, AJ Parker and Mike Hughes are just a few of the names that surpass Lucas in the depth chart – not to mention safety, whether Harris looks any longer in the corner. Along with his late round of voter status, Lucas has a lot of competition for a place.
The Lions list has been significantly improved since 2021. Does it cost a draft to select a place on the list?
Today’s question is:
Does any draft option skip the original 53-member list?
My answer: I think three of them do not make it to the initial 53-member list: Jameson Williams, James Houston and Chase Lucas.
Before you angrily write that Williams is not on the list, the reason is that he or she may be on the Physically Disabled list (and therefore not included in the list limit). Williams’ timeline is still in the air, but lions may choose a patient route with him; if he is healthy, he is a valuable asset in the attack.
As for the other two players, I think they could be victims of a number game.
In 2021, the Lions had five defenders on their initial 53-man list. Alex Anzalone and Derrick Barnes should be locks, but that leaves two or three (maybe four) reserves between Houston, Rodriguez, Board, Davis, Hamilton, Patrick, Pittman and Woods. Given that Houston is a bit of a project compared to other line defenders, he could be assigned to a training team – if he gives up.
Okudah, Oruwariye, Melifonwu, Jacobs and Parker placed five corner defenders on the Lions, six considering Will Harris. There is a non-zero probability that Mike Hughes will be cut, but entering the training camp seems to be a good contribution to getting on the team. Lucas must impress the defense and special teams to be on the list. From an early age, Lucas has impressed coaches during OTAs. If he can translate it into training camp and the pre-season, he can go up the depth chart. At this point, however, I see him looking in from the outside.
When eight new draft options are added to the Lions list, how many of them will find themselves on the 53-member list in September?
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