Which version of the 2022 Detroit Lions draft will have the greatest impact on Year 1?

As the project ended a week ago this afternoon, dust has settled on one of the wilder and more unpredictable designs to emerge in recent times. Teams were rolling and trading on Day 1, players widely considered the first round election slipped all the way to the end of Day 2, and New England Patriots picked 29th for an internal offensive liner who The Los Angeles Rams thought they would have a chance of a compensatory election in the third round.

Okay, this last part is not that crazy and unpredictable, but let’s talk about how the Detroit Lions took part in all of this crazy action that happened on day one. Eventually, when Brad Holmes decided to pack an election and move from No. 32 to 12 overall and choosing Alabam Jameson Williams’ broadband receiver, it became quite clear that Lions were in the market for difference makers.

That brings us to today’s question of the day …

Which choice for the Lions draft will have the greatest impact in Year 1?

Due to the way Holmes approached the free agency, the Lions had contingency plans for almost every item on the roster. At least Holmes has either acquired or re-acquired a player the team could count on to deal with starting glitches, for better or for worse.

So when it comes to design, the Lions obviously had positions to improve, and for the team to take the next step in becoming competitive week after week, they had to add some top-notch talent. The Lions found it easy to do second and probably have the best draft talent in Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Depending on how Romeo Okwara recovers from last season’s Achilles injury, Hutchinson could be lined up for even more work and responsibility for the jump. Regardless, the Lions will count on Hutchinson to be the influencer from the first week of next season.

But I think the player with the greatest impact in their rookie season is the player they named as 12th: Jameson Williams.

For years, the general public cautionary tale in their rookie season has been a learning curve they had to face early on. It was best to soften expectations and keep this learning curve in mind when considering how the broad outlook might affect the offense in the first year. Recently, however, we have seen what impact a newcomer with the general public can have on an offensive right from the start. Ja’Marr Chase was an absolute game changer for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, helping them take their entire offensive to the next level – even Joe Mixon had a career year off the field in 2021, and that’s no coincidence. The year before, Justin Jefferson had a season that put those notions on the bed that the public’s debut season was a development attempt.

Williams is such a player. He averaged 20.0 yards per pickup on a 78th catch last year and was responsible for 10 of Alabama’s 11 longest scuffles. He is a footballer who simply has the qualities of a track star, and thinking about what he can do with the rest of the Lviv offensive next year should not only give fans a lot of excitement, but hope the Detroit insult takes on the next step.

Of course, it all depends on Williams’ rehab from the ACL injury he suffered in last year’s national championship game, but if he really hopes to be ready to go to training camp, Williams may be the type of draft that has the biggest impact on next year’s team.

Your turn.

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