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2022 Stat Prediction for Josh Paschal

SI All Lions provides its stat prediction for Detroit Lions rookie EDGE Josh Paschal.
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Of the Detroit Lions' first three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, Josh Paschal, the No. 46 overall selection, enters with the least fanfare, by far. 

The former Kentucky Wildcats EDGE defender was a bit of a surprise pick, too, with Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson already having been taken by the Lions at No. 2 overall. Meanwhile, Detroit's other 2022 first-round selection, wide receiver Jameson Williams, was taken at No. 12 overall.

Hutchinson and Williams have seemingly stolen all the headlines from the Lions' rookie class, leading to Paschal coming in to his rookie season under the radar.

The 6-foot-3, 268-pounder, equipped with the ability to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defensive scheme, amassed 53 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, eight quarterback hurries and 5.5 sacks in his final campaign at Kentucky. 

And, for his efforts a season ago, he received a 90.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, the highest mark among all qualified SEC EDGEs in 2021.

Paschal is perhaps best known, though, for possessing strong leadership qualities. He, in fact, was the only three-time full-season captain in the history of the Wildcats football program, and this came after he battled back from a cancer diagnosis.

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He's a resilient, high-character individual, to say the least, and he should be a solid fit in Dan Campbell's locker room. 

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“I think I fit as that guy, a big guy, a big defensive end,” Paschal told reporters in early May at Detroit's Allen Park practice facility. “That’s what we’re calling it. I feel like I can play across that front, but particularly on the edge, or even if I need to kick inside for the run game. I can do that, too, and for the pass game. So, I feel like I’ll be a versatile piece in the defense.”

Lions general manager Brad Holmes would have been upset if the team didn't come away with Paschal as part of its draft haul this past April.

"The entire building was just in love with the player," Holmes told 97.1 The Ticket in early May. "The first time that I watched him on film, I just saw the film and I was like, 'This guy is unbelievable.' Just in terms of his versatility and his explosiveness. He's high-motor. He fits all the intangibles that we look for. But, then when you learn more about the human being, that was just the icing on top. It was like okay, he was one of those guys, and I told Dan (Campbell), I said, 'If we don't come off with this guy, I'm going to be mad.'"

For his first season in the league, I'll project that Paschal records 2.5 sacks, 27 total pressures and 42 total tackles.