3 players who will be huge x-factors for the Detroit Lions down the stretch this season

The calendar has now flipped to December, and these three players will be big x-factors from here on out this season for the Detroit Lions.
3 of 4

2. DE Josh Paschal

The Lions' pass rush issues, this side of Aidan Hutchinson's standing among those with the most quarterback pressures this season and Alim McNeill having a third-year breakout, are well-documented. Charles Harris and Romeo Okwara have offered little or nothing, and their roles have naturally been reduced lately.

Paschal missed five games earlier this season due to a knee injury, but in line with the aforementioned reduced roles the second-year man has seen more action (at least a 48 percent snap share in three of the last four games, 50 percent-plus snap share in two of the last three).

In line with that increase in action, and coming off a solid game on Thanksgiving against Green Bay, Aaron Glenn issued a challenge to Paschal.

"The thing now is, man, he (Paschal) has to take it to another level. I mean, we drafted this player in the second round and he’s had glimpses of what you saw that last game," said Glenn. "Now we have to unlock the pass rush part of it to be able to transition from run to pass. And he's busting his butt to be able to do that."

Paschal answered Glenn's challenge in the way you'd want him to.

"I feel like I’ve always played the run well," Paschal said. "Now it’s time to take that next step and become the all-around pass-rushing player that I know I can be."

No offense to Paschal, but the Lions don't have many other options to lean on to bolster their pass rush (Bruce Irvin aside, I suppose). He needs to step up from here on out this year, and set the stage for a full-on third-year breakout in 2024.