The Lions experienced a dramatic turnaround during the 2022 season.
Dan Campbell’s team went just 3-13-1 in 2021, but started last season with a dismal 1-6 record. Detroit then won eight of their last ten games to end the campaign at 9-8.
To take the next step as an organization in 2023, Detroit will need to make a concerted effort to upgrade the team’s defense this offseason, both through free agency and the NFL Draft.
We also need different players to take a step in their respective careers.
Let’s take a look at three players who need to step up next season.
WR Jameson Williams
Next season, expectations for the 12th overall pick in 2022 will increase.
And this is especially true if the Lions decide not to re-sign fellow wideout DJ Chark this offseason.
Williams spent most of his rookie season treating a torn ACL and didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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During the season, Alabama’s product had only one catch in total (a 41-yard touchdown in Week 14 against the Vikings). And he scored his carry on his 40-yard end-around against the Bears in Week 17.
We hope Williams will forge a stronger relationship with Detroit signal-caller Jared Goff in 2023.
EDGE Josh Pascal
Pascal is another player in the Lions’ 2022 rookie class and will need to step up his game in his second season in the league.
Fellow first-year EDGE defenders Aidan Hutchinson and James Huston seemed to transition seamlessly into the Pro ranks, but Pascal certainly had his fair share of struggles.
First of all, the Kentucky product underwent offseason sports hernia surgery and wasn’t able to make his NFL debut until Week 7 against Dallas.
In fact, the 2022 second-round pick (46th overall) didn’t record his first career tackle and sack until Week 17. It became Pascal’s coming out party on the NFL stage.
Moving into the 2023 campaign, Pascal is expected to get quarterbacks more consistently. will step out
RB Dandle Swift
As has been the case throughout his NFL career, Swift showed glimpses of his electric playmaking abilities last season.
He kicked off his 22-year campaign with a bang, rushing 15 times for a career-high 144 yards and scoring a touchdown in Week 1 against the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles. .
However, his third-year back was hit in the aforementioned season opener, suffering a high ankle sprain in the first half.
Swift’s effectiveness waned, and after returning from injury against Miami in Week 8, he endured a five-game stretch, running just 20 yards in a single game. selection (35th overall) also amassed 2.65 yards of carry.
And in the process, Jamal Williams surpassed Swift to become the number one running back on the Lions’ depth chart.
Now, Swift’s future at Motown is in doubt, with Detroit having until May 1 to decide whether to go with his fifth-year rookie option.
Whether or not Lions general manager Brad Holmes takes the option, it’s great to see Swift fit for a full season of games in 2023.