The Detroit Lions have a variety of players that could take the next step and become Pro Bowlers during the 2022 season.
From wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and EDGE Julian Okwara, to offensive linemen Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell, the list is rather expansive.
Yet, for the sake of this piece, let’s take a look at the three members of the Lions that I believe have the best chance of being Pro Bowlers during the upcoming season.
CB AMANI ORUWARIYE
Oruwariye is on the verge of gaining the status of a shutdown cornerback.
The fourth-year pro is coming off a season in which he amassed a career-best six interceptions, to go along with a career-high 11 passes defensed, a fumble recovery and 57 total tackles.
He was by far Detroit’s best cover corner a year ago, and if he can at least come close to sustaining his production from a year ago, he’s got a solid shot at locking up his first career Pro Bowl nod.
RB D’ANDRE SWIFT
The all-purpose yards darling for the Lions has a chance to earn his first Pro Bowl berth, if he can stay healthy for a full season.
It’ll be easier said than done for the third-year pro, as he’s never suited up for more than 13 games in a season. However, when he has played, he’s been productive as both a runner and a pass-catcher.
The Georgia product amassed a team-high 617 yards and five touchdowns, on a career-best 151 rushing attempts, in 2021. It was good for 4.1 yards per carry.
Additionally, he recorded 62 receptions for 452 yards and two scores a season ago. Those 62 catches were good for the second-highest total on Detroit’s roster in 2021.
And, for the year, he totaled 1,069 yards from scrimmage. I think the 23-year-old can add to that mark and become an even more versatile threat for the Lions’ offense in 2022. And, if such occurs, he has a solid opportunity at becoming a Pro Bowler for the first time.
EDGE AIDAN HUTCHINSON
I know I might be setting the bar too high for Hutchinson in his first year as a pro. However, he was the No. 2 overall pick for a reason, and he’s expected to be a game-changing pass rusher for a long time at the NFL level.
He’s also been “all business” in his short time as a member of the Lions.
“He’s been all business. I told my wife this last night. I was like, ‘You know what’s great about him is he’s quietly getting better right in front of us.’ He doesn’t say anything. He listens,” Detroit head coach Dan Campbell told reporters during minicamp.
“He’s like a sponge in there. He absorbs the information. He watches how things are done and the way the coaches want them done, and then he’s got a motor and he goes. He learns and gets better every day. You just see it. So, I love that about him. Every day, there’s growth right in front of us.”
From all accounts, Hutchinson, who produced a single-season University of Michigan record 14 sacks in his final season with the Wolverines, is trending in the right direction.
Pro Football Focus believes he’ll be an impact defender right away, too. The site is projecting the Michigan native to account for 57.0 pressures, 9.4 sacks and 16.5 run stops in 2022, PFF’s best statistical projection for an EDGE defender from the 2022 draft class.
If Hutchinson puts together those numbers, he has a chance at earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in his very first season as a pro.
This article was produced by the staff at Sports Illustrated/All Lions. For more, visit si.com/nfl/lions.