The 2022 Detroit Lions draft class continues to show out during their rookie season. They are performing at such a high level during their rookie season that this draft class is already one of the best in franchise history. Each rookie is making valuable contributions when they each get an opportunity to play.
Coming into the Vikings/Lions game, the five win Detroit Lions were favored over the ten win Vikings. One of the reasons as to why this meager but improving Lions team was favored over the dominant Vikings was the outstanding and dependable play of their young core, especially the rookies. The game showed that the Lions draft class is the real deal.
There were four plays executed by members of the 2022 draft class that showcase the madness these rookies are displaying.
Jameson Williams Touchdown
Jameson Williams made his debut last week during the Lions/Jaguars game, and was on a limited snap count, which caused his debut to be quiet. Now feeling more comfortable and healthy, Jameson Williams was unleashed against the Vikings. At least for one singular play as this was his only catch of the game.
The Lions defense made a clutch fourth down stop against the Vikings resulting in very good field position for Detroit. After a five yard power run by Jamaal Williams, Jared Goff faked the ball to Jamaal and tested his luck deep. He found Jameson Williams open with no one around him for a forty yard walk in touchdown. Jameson’s ability to get over the top of defenses was shown perfectly on that play.
Kerby Joseph Fumble Recovery
Kerby Joseph continues to get turnovers. He exploded on the scene against the Lions/Packers game where he intercepted Aaron Rodgers two times. After that game, he has been a consistent and dependable starter who has been receiving praise from a lot of different sports media outlets.
The turnover began as Isaiah Buggs threw his offensive lineman to the ground and broke through the offensive line and stripped the ball from Dalvin Cook. The ball hit the ground and bounced backwards away from the goal line and was recovered by Kerby Joseph. When watching this live, I thought Kerby had a chance to return the fumble to the end zone but alas he didn’t. However he did manage to take away the Vikings possession, which could have at the very least ended up in a field goal.
James Houston Sack
After getting three sacks in his first two career games, James Houstion saw an increase of action coming into the game against the Vikings. The Vikings set themselves up around mid field to take one last shot to the end zone before halftime. As a Lions fan, I have seen many shots in the end zone resulting in the opposing team’s touchdown so I was cautiously nervous. However, James Houston shot out of a cannon and beat the Vikings’ offensive tackle to trip Kirk Cousins and cause him to fall backwards.
He ultimately ended with a very productive stat line of 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 QB hit. He now has more sacks (4) than all defensive tackles and ends in the 2022 draft except for Aidan Hutchinson. Even renowned defensive ends like Travon Walker (1st overall pick) has 3.5 sacks and Kayvon Thibodeaux (5th overall pick) has 2 sacks. He’s doing this without being a first round pick, he is actually a 6 round pick.
Aidan Hutchinson Sack
Lastly, Aidan Hutchinson reappeared and had himself a game. At the end of the game, he completely ended a Vikings drive as they were trying to come back from a fifteen point deficit. On first down, in the 2 point stance that he loves, he broke free from the offensive tackle and sacked Kirk Cousins. Then on third down he burst through the center of the pocket and forced Kirk to throw it away. This caused the Vikings to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown.
He ultimately ended with a very good stat line of 2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, and 2 QB hits.
Honorary Mention – Malcom Rodriguez’s Run Defense
This 6th round draft pick is continually being praised upon everyone who watches his film. He is a stout defender who loves to be physical, but he also has an insane knowledge of the game which helps him play at a high level. He can also use his physicality to burst and stuff the A-gap, which he did a lot of today. He is one of the main reasons why the Vikings had 17 rushing attempts only for 22 yards.
This insane draft class will help lead the team to a bright future in the years to come. In addition, if Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell can continually find these star players throughout the draft then the team will only become more dominant.