Top 5 breakout candidates for the Detroit Lions in 2023

Heading into a season that's full of expectations and promise, here are five top breakout candidates for the Detroit Lions in 2023.
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Josh Paschal, Detroit Lions
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5. WR Kalif Raymond

Raymond has been a nice find for the Lions. After setting easy career-highs in catches and receiving yards in 2021, he fell one catch short last year (47) with 616 receiving yards to see a new career-high there. He also played less than half of the Lions offensive snaps (49 percent) on his way to finishing second on the team in receiving yardage last year.

With Jameson Williams suspended the first six games of the season, there's a void in the Lions' receiving corps. Marvin Jones came back this offseason in free agency as the replacement for DJ Chark, and anything Josh Reynolds does has to be considered a bonus.

Raymond (5-foot-8) is not the kind of big "X" receiver the Lions could us. And he does play a fair amount in the slot (33.4 percent of his snap last season, per Player Profiler), like Amon-Ra St. Brown does. Some people will want to lament that overlap in usage/skill set.

But Raymond has been begging to be used more for the better part of two seasons. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson should have some early-season plans (at least) to make that happen.

4. DE Josh Paschal

Paschal's rookie season was mostly a lost one for him. His debut was delayed after he had surgery to fix a sports hernia suffered late in his last college season. Then a knee injury cost him a couple games, and his role was not the same after that. A two-sack game against the Chicago Bears in Week 17, even with regard for the game being a blowout win for the Lions, was a promising highlight.

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has high hopes for Paschal, rooted in his simply being able to have a full offseason and training camp heading into his second season. Paschal himself noted the difference in just being healthy compared to a year ago.

Paschal is athletic and versatile, which will allow him to push for significant snaps on the Lions' defensive line. I like Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire's marks that would signify a breakout for Paschal--Charles Harris circa 2021 (7.5 sacks, 65 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss).