3 Detroit Lions who could easily lose snaps to a rookie this year

These three Lions players may have to fend of a rookie who'll have a chance to take their snaps this year.
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1. DL Josh Paschal

Since the Lions took him with a top-50 pick (No. 46 overall) in the 2022 draft, Paschal's first two NFL seasons have been impacted by injuries (22 games; 693 defensive snaps) as he has totaled three sacks and 41 tackles.

This is shaping up to be a pivotal season for Paschal, which isn't breaking news. The Lions need someone to step up to bolster their pass rush, and his ability to line up across the defensive front works to his advantage. If he can't stay healthy and get more done in his third season, the path will be paved for him to play out his rookie contract in 2025 and be gone.

After the Lions took defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo in the sixth round of April's draft, here's what general manager Brad Holmes said about him.

"The role? I originally had looked at him as purely a defensive tackle that was going to be playing inside. When I kept watching him, his rushing ability really started to come to light. I kind of put him in a separate box. A little bit like when we talked about (Josh) Paschal coming out. He's got a lot of stuff on tape as an edge rusher."

Another outlet had Paschal as a winner for the Lions after this year's draft, on the idea a defensive end wasn't selected. There might be a little something to that, but Holmes' comments can be read as a foreshadow that Wingo has a chance to push Paschal for a notable and versatile role on the defensive line. At OTAs, defensive line coach Terrell Williams noted how "advanced" Wingo is.

Better health will be a critical component for Paschal this year. But he should see Wingo as a real threat to his playing time no matter what, and even if doesn't happen immediately a shift in snaps toward the rookie is firmly in play.

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