With favored options still on the board in the second round, the Detroit Lions went with an under-the-radar selection in Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal.
With Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker still on the board at that point, the Lions had the opportunity to fill a major hole on their defense with an immediate starter at pick 46. One of the available quarterbacks stood as a potential low-risk, high-reward investment in Jared Goff’s successor too.
But another defensive lineman? That seemed unnecessary. The selection of Aidan Hutchinson second overall added to the edge rusher mix, and there are more pressing needs.
Upon further review….
Josh Paschal is exactly the type of player Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell are looking for
Heralded as a versatile lineman that can play in multiple spots along the defensive front, Paschal is another youngster who can bolster one of the leagues worst pass rushes. He ranked as the SEC’s top edge rusher in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus, and was an All-SEC pick by the Associated Press. Perhaps more impressive, though, is his off-the-field story.
Paschal began his career at Kentucky in 2017 but was forced to take a redshirt his sophomore season after being diagnosed with skin cancer on his foot. Despite his diagnosis, he still managed to play in three games that season, a testament to his courage, drive and passion for football. He returned to play all 13 games in 2019, and became the first three-time full-season captain in Kentucky school history.
Paschal won the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award in 2021, which recognizes a college football player for their leadership in the locker room and community.
Holmes and Campbell have said time and again they are looking for gritty, hard-nosed football players. Paschal certainly seems to fit the bill, and he’ll only help the defense. Even if it was easy to immediately react to the Lions drafting a positional overlap with a bit of skepticism.