One of the more interesting rookies to keep an eye on throughout the Detroit Lions offseason training program and into training camp will be second-round pick Josh Paschal. How do the Lions see him fitting into their re-vamped defensive line?
"He's just a versatile player," Lions general manager Brad Holmes said of Paschal after selecting him 46th overall. "I think he can play all up and down our defensive front."
That certainly sounds like it will be the plan early on talking with defensive line coach Todd Wash recently about Paschal.
"With some of our fronts we can get him to play a five technique in base where we really didn't have that last year," Wash said. "We see him possibly going in to a tackle at some point, but he can definitely play a five technique. His get off and twitch is really explosive for his weight. We think we can use him as an inside rusher and we think we can use him as an end."
Paschal weighed in at 268 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this offseason, but Wash said his playing weight is closer to 275-280 pounds.
With the changes the Lions have made upfront on defense, becoming a more attacking front instead of the read and react front they utilized last year, the Lions can use a lot of different combinations upfront because of their versatility. Second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson also has some versatility to play end and tackle. Same with last year's second-round pick Levi Onwuzurike. Veteran Romeo Okwara has that skillset as well.
Wash said the Lions now have some terrific depth and versatility upfront that will allow them to attack opposing offenses in a lot of different ways depending on the situation.
Paschal earned second-team All-SEC and Academic All-American honors while leading the Wildcats with 15.5 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks among his 53 total tackles, in 12 starts last season.
View photos from offseason workouts on Monday, May 9, 2022.
The Lions will conduct a rookie minicamp in Allen Park this weekend, which means we'll get our first look at Paschal and Hutchinson and how they fit into Detroit's front.
Paschal was a player the Lions really hoped would fall to them in the second round when they moved back from 34 to 46 in the deal to move up to get wide receiver Jameson Williams in the first round. He did, and Detroit is excited to see how he fits into their front and how his speed and explosiveness play into their new schemes.