Detroit Lions Starting Defense Projection: Preseason Week 1 vs. Falcons

Training camp is well underway and on Friday, the Detroit Lions will host the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field in their first preseason game of 2022.

If the Lions want to take a big leap in 2022, their defense is going to have to play much better than it did a season ago when they had the No. 28 DVOA ranking.

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Though they really did not do much in free agency to help the cause, the Lions did use six of their eight picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to improve the defensive side of the ball.

Earlier in the offseason, Lions head coach Dan Campbell told reporters that believes the biggest improvement for a player comes from Year 1 to Year 2, which means he expects some big improvement from second-year players such as Alim McNeill and Derrick Barnes.

“I’ve said this before, most guys continue to get better and grow throughout the years, but I think it’s hard to make the big of a jump after Year 2,” Campbell said. “I believe Year 1 to Year 2 is where you make that biggest jump.

“That’s what we anticipate out of our guys. That’s why we got them here, so we can continue to develop them so they can take that big next step.”

Detroit Lions Starting Defense Projection: Preseason Week 1 vs. Falcons

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With CB Jeff Okudah returning from injury, and some important rookies being added to the mix, including the No. 2 overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson, I believe the Lions' defense could end up being a Top 20 or so unit in 2022.

That being said, here is what I believe the Lions starting defense will look like on Friday against Falcons.

EDGE – Aidan Hutchinson

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EDGE – Charles Harris

DL – Alim McNeil

DL – Michael Brockers

LB – Alex Anzalone

LB – Chris Board or Derrick Barnes (I CANNOT DECIDE!)

CB – Will Harris (He is currently ahead of Jeff Okudah on the Unofficial Depth Chart)

CB – Amani Oruwariye

CB – A.J. Parker

S – Tracy Walker

S – DeShon Elliott

Nation, what do you think about the Detroit Lions' defense heading into the first preseason game? What changes would you make to the projection listed above?

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