We've already talked about new Lions to watch like wide receiver DJ Chark, and players with breakout potential like running back D'Andre Swift, but who else should we be keeping an eye on in 2022 that might not already be on the radar?
I asked the Detroitlions.com crew, and here's what they had to say:
Tim Twentyman: Safety DeShon Elliott
This question made me think for a little bit, but I'm going with Elliott, Detroit's newly signed veteran safety. Elliott was thrust into a starting role in Baltimore in 2020 after the release of Earl Thomas, and in 16 games he recorded 80 tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, four defended passes and two forced fumbles. That's a lot of production.
He played in six games with six starts last year before a biceps and pectoral injury forced him to miss 11 games. Now healthy, Elliott will get a chance to start next to Tracy Walker in Detroit, where he could be a really productive player in the secondary, much like he was for Baltimore in 2020.
Mike O'Hara: Tight end Brock Wright
There are no sure things in this category. That's why they are under the radar. Wright is my candidate.
T.J. Hockenson is the alpha dog among the Lions' tight ends. Let's settle that right now. He has proven that in his three seasons with the Lions, with a Pro Bowl appearance in the 2020 season. The only question for Hockenson is staying healthy. He finished two of his first three seasons on injured reserve, including missing the last six games in 2021.
Quality depth is important at all positions, and tight end is no exception. That's where Wright comes into play. He showed last year he can provide depth with a solid performance when called on.
As an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame, Wright made the Lions' practice squad in training camp and was promoted to the active roster after the first six games. He played 10 games with five starts. He had 12 catches for 117 yards and two TDs. At 6-5 and 259 pounds, Wright has the size to be a competent blocker.
Quarterback Jared Goff certainly appreciates what tight ends mean to an offense. If Wright progresses in his second season, he won't be under the radar for long.
View photos from Day 3 of Detroit Lions OTA practices on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Allen Park, Mich.
Editor's Pick: Wide receiver Josh Reynolds
A lot of the WR headlines have gone to Lions newcomers DJ Chark & Jameson Williams, and rightfully so, but don't forget about Reynolds.
Reynolds made an immediate impact after the Lions claimed him off waivers last November. His familiarity with Goff from their time together with the Rams stood out right away.
The Lions re-signed Reynolds this offseason, and I expect the Goff-Reynolds connection to be successful again for the offense this year.