Predicting who will lead the Detroit Lions in sacks in 2022

Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions pass rush can only be better this year, but who will lead the team in sacks?

By any measure you can find, the Detroit Lions pass rush was among the worst in the league in 2021. Remove Charles Harris’ best season in his first year in Detroit, and the numbers would be downright scary awful.

The eventual return of Romeo Okwara (torn Achilles in Week 4 last season) will help. But the headliner move that will improve Detroit’s pass rush is No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who set Michigan’s single-season school record for sacks last year. He’s also a local product, which can help off the field too.

After Harris’ team-leading 7.5 sacks last year, the next-highest sack total for the Lions was five from Julian Okwara. One of this year’s camp and preseason stars, Austin Bryant, had 4.5 sacks. No one else had more than two sacks on the way to the third-lowest sack total in the league (30).

Who will lead the Detroit Lions in sacks this year?

Apparently forgetting about his major injury and at that time likely being headed for the PUP list (he was indeed placed on the PUP list, which will cost him at least four games), ESPN projected Romeo Okwara to be the Lions’ sacks leader this season. Never mind the number they gave him, and in theory the Lions’ sack leader probably regardless of who it was (less than 8).

Harris is easy to set aside as a candidate to lead the Lions in sacks again this year. But the team’s move to four-man defensive fronts should fit his skill set better, not to mention Hutchinson being opposite him to take away some double-team attention out on the edge.

Of course then there is Hutchinson. Sack projections for the Lions top rookie have been optimistic, yet also somehow very realistic. A run to Defensive Rookie of the Year is in play.

Let’s optimistically put the Lions’ 2022 sacks leader at somewhere between 10-12 sacks. So who will it be? It’s really down to two guys….

My pick to lead the Lions in sacks this season is Aidan Hutchinson, fairly narrowly over Harris (less than two sacks),  who I think will have another good season.

5 Detroit Lions who could be sneaky fantasy options this year. dark. Next