On Sunday, the Detroit Lions will take on the Washington Commanders in their second game of the 2022 regular season
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.
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.
During 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: Week 2 vs. Commanders
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.
Unfortunately, they did not look anywhere close to a Top 20 unit in Week 1 when the Philadelphia Eagles shredded the defense to a tune of 38 points (7 of those were on a pick-six from Jared Goff)
That being said, here is what I believe the Lions starting defense will look like on Sunday against the Washington Commanders.
EDGE – Aidan Hutchinson
EDGE – Charles Harris
DL – Alim McNeil
DL – Michael Brockers
LB – Alex Anzalone
LB – Malcolm Rodriquez
CB – Jeff Okudah
CB – Amani Oruwariye
CB – Mike Hughes
S – Tracy Walker
S – DeShon Elliott
Nation, what do you think about the Detroit Lions' defense heading into Week 2? What changes would you make to the projection listed above?