Detroit Lions laid a defensive foundation in the 2022 NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports /

Most of the Detroit Lions 2022 draft was on the defensive side, and a foundation for an improving unit has been laid.

The Detroit Lions had eight picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and six of them were defensive players. While not incredibily exciting, it was necessary to go that direction to rebuild one of the worst defenses in the NFL for a few years running.

No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson was the natural headliner, and he has delivered as he rounds into form during his rookie season. But third-round pick Kerby Joseph has stepped up since Tracy Walker went down with a torn Achilles, sixth-round pick Malcolm Rodriguez has been a find (however somewhat expected) and James Houston, another sixth-round pick has three sacks over 17 snaps in his first two NFL games.

The Lions have heavily leaned on young defensive players this season, as expected, and they have come through with minimal hiccups.

Brad Holmes laid Detroit Lions defensive foundation in the 2022 draft

Over their last five games, four of them wins, the Lions have allowed less than 20 points three times. Aaron Glenn’s unit has been opportunistic, as early season issues have been put in the rearview mirror.

It’s safe to say the rookie class, assembled by general manager Brad Holmes, has led the way defensively.

Hutchinson (six sacks) and Houston (the aforementioned three sacks) have led the way in the sack department. Hutchinson (two interceptions) and Joseph (three interceptions) have been the ballhawks, with Rodriguez contributing six tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Hutchinson and Joseph have both won NFC Defensive Player of the Week awards, in Week 11 and Week 9 respectively, and Hutchinson won NFL Rookie of the Month for November.

The Lions’ defense needed a rebuild. The foundation has been laid, in this year’s draft as the rookie class takes hold of things.

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