The Detroit Lions had the second-worst record in 2021, as they went 3-13-1. That earned them the rights to the second-overall pick within the 2022 NFL Draft which they used to get Aidan Hutchison. However the star rookie aside, listed here are three Lions breakout players candidates within the 2022 NFL season.
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Lions Breakout Players for 2022 NFL Season
3. Romeo Okwara
The 2022 NFL season might be Okwara’s last in Detroit, because the Lions have a possible out on the 26-year-old defensive end when it’s all said and done in the following campaign. The chances seem stacked against Okwara mostly because he could have to prove that his devastating Achilles tear that limited him to only 4 games in 2021 won’t hinder him from becoming the impactful defensive piece that he has had shown before his injury.
Okwara has not put together two good seasons in a row since turning pro in 2016. It’s been a roller-coaster of a ride to date in Okwara’s NFL profession, which has seen him mix for just 2.0 sacks in his first two seasons before recording 7.5 quarterback takedowns in his first season with the Lions in 2018. Then in 2019, he ghosted Detroit with just 1.5 sacks before posting a career-high 10.0 sacks to go together with an NFL fifth-best total of 61 pressures the 12 months after. If that topsy-turvy trend continues, then Okwara’s on-field performance might be in for an enormous leap in 2022.
2. Kalif Raymond
When you think Raymond already had his breakout 12 months in 2021 when he posted career-high numbers of 576 receiving yards, 4 touchdown catches, and 48 receptions on 71 targets, then you’ve got case. But there’s also an argument to be made that his real breakout season might be in 2022.
Granted that Raymond is anticipated to have a tougher competition for targets this time around due to arrival of DJ Chark and Jameson Williams, the re-signing of Josh Reynolds, and the presence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, the 27-year-old Holy Cross product can still be viewed as a potent weapon with a sizeable role waiting for him downfield this 12 months. For one, he has Jared Goff’s trust.
The truth is, Raymond had the second-most targets amongst wide receivers last season. Goff surely isn’t forgetting that Raymond was also among the many Lions’ most reliable red-zone targets in 2021, catching six of eight targets inside 20 yards and converting those receptions right into a pair of touchdowns.
1. Jared Goff
The 27-year-old Goff used to supply big numbers on the sector, and that was when he was still playing inside the system of the Los Angeles Rams. Apparently, being around Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and a primary Todd Gurley will make a quarterback look handsome within the pocket, which was the case for Goff, who racked up over 18,000 yards and 107 touchdown passes in five years in Tinseltown. But Goff is not any longer with the Rams. As an alternative, he got sent to Detroit in 2021 where he experienced what it’s wish to direct an offense with a much lesser collective talent than that of the weapons he had downfield in Hollywood. In his first season with the Lions, Goff was a mere afterthought, primarily because nobody was really minding the Lions, who waited 13 weeks into the 2021 NFL campaign before scoring a victory.
The Lions just had too many holes from the highest to down of the roster that their struggles couldn’t just be pinned on Goff. That’s also why it’s easy to overlook Goff when excited about which quarterbacks would boom in 2022. And in that context, Goff is a sleeper with a solid likelihood to interrupt out this coming season.
For one, Goff could have a much experienced and more talented pieces to work with. The Lions have to date done some considerable work in improving their offensive roster within the offseason. They signed wide receiver DJ Chark to a one-year deal price $10 million back in March. Chark played in only 4 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 due to injury, but he needs to be perfectly healthy this coming season, giving Goff a former Pro Bowler as a top goal. Goff will even have rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams in his arsenal.
As a first-round pick within the 2022 NFL Draft, Williamson should have the opportunity to carve out a major role within the Lions’ offense that showed a number of promise in the previous couple of appearances of Goff last season. The Lions are giving Goff one other go perhaps partially because he popped like a tier 1 QB in his last 4 starts with Detroit. In that span, Goff had 965 passing yards and nine touchdowns against just 4 interceptions. On a per 17 games average, that pace would have 4,101 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. Whether football fans still care about him or not, it seems that Goff has already laid out the inspiration for a robust 2022 campaign.