What Are The Detroit Lions’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props

What Picks do the Detroit Lions have in 2022

The Detroit Lions have nine picks.

Round 1 (2)
Round 1 (32)
Round 2 (34)
Round 3 (66)
Round 3 (97)
Round 5 (177)
Round 6 (181)
Round 7 (217)
Round 7 (234)



WR, Long-term QB, TE2, iDL, LB, EDGE

Detroit Lions Strength of Schedule, 2022

The Detroit Lions have the 16th easiest NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season.

Detroit Lions Offense

By Rich Hribar


Jared Goff
Tim Boyle
David Blough
Steven Montez

Jared Goff is still technically under contract through 2024, but there are out years after this season in which he carries dead cap hits of $10 million after this season and $5 million after 2023. 

Since throwing 32 touchdowns and 8.4 yards per pass attempt in 2018, Goff has thrown 22 or fewer touchdowns in all three following seasons with 7.4, 7.2, and 6.6 yards per pass attempt in those seasons. Last year, Goff was dead last among quarterbacks in air yards per throw (6.6 yards) and above only Mike Glennon in air yards per completion (4.3 yards). 

Goff is not the long-term quarterback for the Lions and none of the backups here are signed beyond the 2022 season.

We should see the Lions select a quarterback with one of their opening five picks in this draft, but Goff also provides them the flexibility to kick the can for another year and load up elsewhere if they are not in love with any prospects in the first round. 


D’Andre Swift
Jamaal Williams
Craig Reynolds
Jermar Jefferson
Jason Cabinda (FB)

D’Andre Swift Is not quite “the guy” in Detroit, but he does enough of everything well that there is still a lofty ceiling if and when that opportunity comes. 

Swift closed 2021 16th among running backs in touches per game (16.4). He racked up another 62 receptions, giving him 108 receptions through two years in the league. The next closest running back from the 2020 draft class in receptions is James Robinson with 80 catches.

Swift did concede rushing work to Jamaal Williams, averaging just 9.6 carries per game with the two active together, with a high game of 14 carries and totaling 41.6% of the carries in those games. 

Swift has missed three and four games over his first two seasons.

We might wait another year before Swift completely takes over this backfield as Williams is signed through the upcoming 2022 season. 

Running back is not a need for the Lions.


Amon-Ra St. Brown
D.J. Chark
Josh Reynolds
Kalif Raymond
Quintez Cephus
Trinity Benson
Tom Kennedy
Javon McKinley

Amon-Ra St. Brown was a massive hit in the fourth round (112th overall) last offseason.

Things were slow-moving for St. Brown to open his rookie season. Through 11 games, St. Brown had 39 catches for 352 yards and zero touchdowns. 

Then, he went on an all-time heater, catching 51 passes for 560 yards and five touchdowns (with a rushing score) over his final six games. St. Brown caught eight or more passes in all six games, just the ninth player in league history to have such a streak. 

The rest of this depth chart needs some work.

After St. Brown’s 119 targets, the next highest wide receiver in targets was Kalif Raymond with 71. 

Detroit took a one-year flyer on D.J. Chark in hopes of recapturing the upside Chark showed in his second NFL season. 

Chark was limited to just four games before an ankle injury cut his season short in 2021. Prior to injury, Chark had secured just 7-of-22 targets for 154 yards with a pair of scores.

Over his past 22 games played, Chark has averaged 3.7 catches for 48.7 yards per game, catching 55.0% of his targets.

Quarterback play has been a thorn for Chark. Just 47.4% of his targets were deemed catchable in his small sample of 2021 after 63.0% in 2020 (113th among wideouts with 25 or more targets) and 65.8% in 2019 (81st).

Quarterback play could be another issue in Detroit paired with Jared Goff, especially where Chark has shown the best of his ability, which is downfield. On throws 15 yards or further downfield, Goff has ranked 35th (31.9%), 29th (38.4%), and 30th (39.0%) in completion rate over the past three seasons.

Chark still turns just 26 years old this September, but only on a one-year deal, Detroit should still explore adding more wide receiving help early in the draft.


T.J. Hockenson
Rashod Berry
Hunter Bryant
Jared Pinkney
Brock Wright
Shane Zylstra
Matt Sokol

T.J. Hockenson continued to climb in his third season. His receptions per game have now gone from 2.7 to 4.2 to 5.1 per game to open his career while his targets have climbed from 4.9 to 6.3 to 7.0 per game. 

Hockenson was targeted on 20.5% of his routes (10th) and seventh in expected points per game (11.7) before being forced to miss the final five games of the season due to a hand injury. 

Everything is progressing for Hockenson and there have already been whispers surrounding a contract extension while the team is expected to pick up his fifth-year option as a fallback if those talks stall

After Hockenson, however, the rest of this group leaves a lot to be desired. We saw that on display a year ago when Hockenson missed the final five games of the season. Over that span, Detroit tight ends combined to catch 11-of-18 targets for 109 yards and one touchdown. 

None of the reserves here are signed beyond 2022 as the team could look to add to the position in the middle-to-late rounds for contractual depth and hopes of finding a reliable TE2.


LT: Taylor Decker/Matt Nelson
LG: Jonah Jackson/Logan Stenberg
C: Frank Ragnow/Evan Brown/Ryan McCollum
RG: Halapoulivaati Vaitai/Tommy Kremer
RT: Penei Sewell/Dan Skipper

For all of the issues and holes Detroit has, their offensive line is largely solidified.

All of Taylor Decker, Penei Sewell, Frank Ragnow, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are under contracts at least through 2024.

Left guard Jonah Jackson led the team with 607 snaps in pass protection a year ago. He was selected in the third round in 2020, with two years left on his rookie contract. 

None of those five projected starters allowed a pressure rate of 6.0% or higher in 2021.

The rub here is that none of those five appeared in all 17 games last season, combining for 25 games missed. Decker (eight games played) and Ragnow (four) missed most of the season. These five did not even play one snap with all on the field in 2021 since by the time that Decker played in Week 10, Ragnow was already lost for the season. 

The only reserve here under contract beyond this season is Logan Stenberg.

Detroit has their starting lineup in place, needing contractual depth across the line.

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props

Detroit Lions Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

Michael Brockers
Alim McNeill
Levi Onwuzurike
John Penisini
Bruce Hector
Eric Banks
Jashon Cornell

Among 93 qualified defensive tackles last season, Michael Brockers ranked 86th in pressure rate and Levi Onwuzurike ranked 91st. Alim McNeil ranked 38th. That’s not the highest pass rush upside on the interior and there was also a bit to be desired in run defense — the team as a whole ranked 25th in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate.

Brockers played 54% of the defensive snaps, but his play dropped off a bit during his first season in Detroit. He had just one quarterback hit after a previous career-low of four. Brockers signed a contract extension with the Lions after he has traded last season, but with $10 in cap space freed up after this season, this is likely his last with the Lions.

Alim McNeill is a promising force as a 330-pound nose tackle. The 2021 third-round pick played 37% of the defensive snaps and should see more time during his second season. 


Romeo Okwara
Charles Harris
Julian Okwara
Austin Bryant
Rashod Berry
Jessie Lemonier

The Lions had problem keeping pass rushers on the field last season. After a 10-sack season and a contract extension, Romeo Okwara played in only four games in 2021. Though he only had one sack, his pressure rate was higher in his limited 2021 sample than it was during his breakout 2020. He’s expected to be back for training camp.

Charles Harris re-signed this offseason for a two-year deal. He played 76.4% of the defensive snaps as the consistently healthy member of the position group. Harris had his best year getting to the quarterback — he had 7.5 sacks after 6.5 total in his career previously — but he also was a force in the backfield in general. Harris had 10 tackles for loss and ranked sixth among edge rushers in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate.

Julian Okwara had the highest pressure rate on the team among pass rushers last season, but only played 31.7% of the defensive snaps. Okwara also only rushed the passer on 70% of his pass snaps.

Off-ball Linebacker

Derrick Barnes
Alex Anzalone
Jarrad Davis
Dion Shaun Hamilton
Chris Board
Josh Woods
Anthony Wittman
Tavante Beckett
Curtis Bolton

Derrick Barnes was 2021 fourth-round rookie who played 39% of the defensive snaps. Among 85 qualified linebackers, Barnes ranked 85th in yards allowed per coverage snap. Barnes is in line to take over a bigger role.

Behind him, there’s not a lot. Alex Anzalone has been a solid player and he re-sgned for a one-year deal after playing 2021 in Detroit. Anzalone played 72.6% of the defensive snaps and ranked 21st among linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap, along with seven passes defensed.

The Lions surprising brought back Jarrad Davis, the disappointing former first-round pick, who was cut by Detroit and spend 2021 with the Jets.


Amani Oruwariye
Jeff Okudah
AJ Parker
Mike Hughes
Jerry Jacobs
Ifeatu Melifonwu
Mark Gilbert
Bobby Price
Parnell Motley
Saivion Smith

Amani Oruwariye, a 2019 fifth-round pick, had a true break out in 2021. Oruwariye was 22nd among cornerbacks in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap, which includes touchdowns and interceptions. That’s a welcome development in a secondary that could use as much of that as possible.

That was also the case with AJ Parker, an undrafted rookie who played well as the slot corner for 13 games. Parker ranked 28th among corners in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap and tied for second on the team with seven passes defensed. Another year under Aubrey Pleasant could help both Oruwariye and Parker.

Jeff Okudah has played a total of 10 games over his first two seasons. The former No. 3 overall pick had some rookie struggles in 2020 and missed nearly all of 2021 after he tore his Achilles in Week 1. He’s could be ready for training camp, but getting anything from Okudah early in the season could be considered a bonus for the Lions at this point.

After an up-and-down season with the Kansas City Chiefs (87th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap), Mike Hughes provides some veteran depth on a one-year deal.


Tracy Walker
Will Harris
CJ Moore
Brady Breeze
Jalen Elliott
JuJu Hughes

Tracy Walker played 77.3% of the defensive snaps and signed a three-year extension this offseason. Will Harris played 88.7% of the defensive snaps and is in the final year of his rookie contract.

The Lions used a two-high shell on 62% of their defensive snaps, which ranked as the sixth-highest rate in the league. Detroit rotated post-snap often and ended up playing a two-high coverage just 41% of the time, which was 14th.

Walker and Harris are both solid players, though some of that rotation lost its effectiveness on defending the deep pass. Despite that two-high shell, the Lions gave up the most yards on deep throws that traveled at least 20 air yards (1,210) with the eighth-highest completion percentage allowed.

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props