Five Most Important Players for the Lions to Win in 2022?

Outside of Goff…who matters most for the Lions to win in 2022? I am looking at this from a “we know what player X can do…AND, we lost with them doing that” kind of approach. Here is my list, in order of importance:

  1. DT Levi Onwuzurike. The Lions need pressure AND an ability to stop the run better. This starts with Levi showing us why he was a 2nd pick in 2021. IF Levi steps up this whole defense might look different in 2022.

  2. LBer Derrick Barnes. 2nd year player. We NEED LBers to step up and it is his 2nd season. We need to see a hell of a lot more from him in 2022.

  3. CB Okudah. We KNOW Amani is a fine CB. But we have a HUGE question mark at #2 CB. We also don’t know who the nickel will be. If Okudah is healthy and steps up to prove he is NOT a bust that will be incredible for this defense.

  4. SS Deshon Elliott. This club needs a viable starting strong safety and this is his opportunity. DeShon is 25, he is 6’1" and 210ish pounds and experienced. If he proves to be a viable starter this defense starts to look MUCH better.

  5. WR Chark. If he shows us he is a #2 or even fringe #1 WR this offense will look MUCH better in 2022 with a real field stretcher who can run a complete route tree.

I am not picking rookies because you never know what you are getting with these guys. It is easy to think we need Hutch to dominate year one but that isn’t true as we have Charles Harris and the Okwaras. I could have said DE Paschal but we don’t know what we have in that kid or where he will play. If Levi steps up Paschal is a luxury. Same with Elliott making Joseph a luxury. Same with Chark and even Reynolds making rookie WR Williams a luxury too.

This isn’t 2021. The Lions fielded starting rookie DTs and that was never going to be a good idea. Nick Williams just wasn’t viable as a guy who could play at a high level for the Lions. Jamie Collins shit the bed leaving us exposed at LBer and Barnes was unable to take a starting job. 2022 is different. The Lions have options and opportunities for players who are ready to step up.

If any of the above players falter things become difficult for the Lions in 2022. If Elliott cannot take that job who is the starting SS? If Okudah struggles who takes his job (noting that I think CB Mike Hughes should be the starting nickel CB and if Hughes is forced outside nickel becomes an issue). If Barnes cannot take a starting job LBer is in REALLY rough shape even with all the young guys on the roster.



I think Chark should be higher on this list. The ability to keep defenses honest deep could allow the team a suffocating amount of clock control. Clock control always makes defenses look better.


I thought about moving Chark up but we have options if Chark shits the bed. We have Reynolds for a full season now. We have rookie Williams. Options.

If Levi stinks again who do we turn to?
If Barnes fails (after Spielman and others agreed he was the guy)…who are the Lions turning to? We ar5e already leaning on Alex A. and that doesn’t make me happy.
If Okudah fails…we have Mike Hughes but we are right back where we were in 2021 at CB in some ways even with Hughes signed for one season.
If Elliott fails who plays that role? I don’t feel like Walker plays that role well and I am worried about rookie Joseph who really wasn’t a strong safety in college.

This defense has lots of options now but we have very few proven options. And this defense was horrific in 2021. To win this club cannot play like they did against the Eagles, Broncos and Seahawks for example. That was beyond embarrassing. And for this defense to be better I think it falls on the four defenders I mentioned to help right this ship.


Feeling contrary in my current mood, I would tell you it is the five members of our Offensive Line.

IF they dominate the run game it sets up favorable down and distance.

IF they protect Goff, the offense hums and puts up points.

IF we are playing with a lead, then the defense can loosen up and play in a favorable circumstance.

The O-line can make this team play far better than the sum of its parts.


Once you get past QB, I think a roster is far more a sum of its parts and a work in progress than it is a collection of individual talents.

What I mean is, say Levi sucks next year or gets hurt but Brad realizes it quickly enough and replaces him with a threatening-to-retire Aaron Donald or a rested Ndamukang Suh who shows out over the last half of the year? What if Jashon Cornell lights it up in camp and is able to step in and be a decent percentage of what we hoped Levi would be? Rosters are too fluid to me to point to individual players, outside of QB, as keys to the season.

The Rams lost Robert Woods last year, a guy many considered their most important not only for his talent but for how important he was to the locker room, etc…, and didn’t miss a beat by replacing him with ODB.

The Bills lost their best CB Tre White and were still arguably the best team, and definitely the best defense, in the league.

The Packers played basically the entire season without Rodgers’s blindside protector and still went 13-3. But Jenkins moved over and proved he was great too.

The Niners lost Dee Ford and Jason Verrett, two guys who would have been on a list like this going into last season for them, and played elite defense in the playoffs with Samsun Ebukam and Josh Norman taking their spots, all the way to the NFCCG.

The Bucs lost Chris Godwin and Mike Evans and Gronk stepped up to make up for his production.

My point is there’s so many ways things can change on the fly that it’s really, really hard to say “we need this guy to be good to have a good year.” Certainly we need more pressure, we need to threaten defenses, we need to hold up against short, quick passing attacks and hopefully some of our individuals can help us do that. But if they don’t that doesn’t mean we can’t find it from somewhere else.


Agree with this. But you could say, who are the five players that you wouldn’t want to get hurt. For me, after Goff, it would be:

Tracy Walker

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For sure, and like the Ravens last year there’s a certain amount of injuries you can’t overcome. With standard injury luck though, I think any one of those guys could be replaced individually to a competent enough level to keep winning. I mean we already lost Ragnow and Evan Brown wasn’t the reason we were losing games last year.

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Wow it’s like you didn’t watch the Lions last year, Hughs isn’t next in line at all he might be lucky to make team, Jerry Jacobs proved to be a fine starter and Parker played pretty well at Nickel. Okudah will will have his work cut out to start over Jacobs.

I think that’s an outstanding point. I think too many of us are simply assuming that they are going to be dominant. Great point!

Swift , Sewell , Jefferson , Craig Reynolds, Hutch (because we drafted him # 1, so I feel he should contribute sooner than later.) , Hock- I’m going to be on his case if he doesn’t pick up his game ! I’ll say Goff, because his job is on the line if he doesn’t step the hail up in 22. ( and yes I read the header)

Hughes didn’t play for the Lions last year. He was solid for the Chiefs last year. He has had a lot of injuries in his career and that’s my main concern with him, but his play last year was very good. 6 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 1 touchdown and a 79.6 grade from pff, which is very good.

I think Parker and Jacobs have good potential as well. But, Hughes had way better production that they did last year. I also expect Iffy is still going to be playing corner, they are cross training him in the offseason at safety, but he’s still taking lots of reps at corner in mini camp.

This is the key for me. Keeping those 5 guys healthy for most of the season is vital. Last year Decker and Ragnow played 0 snaps together. Ragnow missed 14 games and Decker missed 8. Hard to win when your highest paid players are watching from the sidelines.

I’m trying to get as excited about the D line as I have been with the O Line. All of the members on the O line is important, but it starts with Decker, Ragnow and Sewell. I’m a huge Decker fan, I just really really like that guy…but I can switch out my favorite daily with Penei and Frank.

The D line is so young with a lot of pieces that are “unknowns” in regards to their growth and future production. I’ll put it on Alim and Levis to show that the D line is on it’s way. This is one of the youngest teams in the league and our second year guys need to show up sooner rather than later to help push this team’s rebuild forward.

Other new players on questionable position groups are very important as well (Chark, Walker, AO, Hockenson), but my eye is on the trenches…because that’s where Brad and Campbell emphasized as important with their rebuild.

Although I want our rookies to come in and make an impact immediately, I don’t think they’re the ones to put the pressure on for the wins in 2022. I’m putting that emphasis on the guys that went through the grinder under Dan and his staff last year…shit they signed a bunch of them back, so they had better be leading the way for impacting wins.


Mike Hughs
17 games played
Started 5
47 tackles
6 pd
1 int
4 FF

Jerry Jacobs
13 games played
9 games started
39 tackles
7 pd
0 int
1 FF

Jerry Jacobs

That includes the UDFA that earned the highest Pro Football Focus grade of the rookie class. Cornerback Jerry Jacobs soared above the rest of the UDFA field. He landed a 65.8 overall grade , which was good for fifth overall amongst all rookie CBs.


Big fan of Jacobs too! He did tear his ACL in December though.

Overall I like the depth at corner. AO, Okudah, Hughes, Jacobs, Parker, Iffy and Chase. It’s a young group with lots of potential. Hopefully Jacobs and Okudah can get healthy.


Im going all Atticus, so before I read yours…

  1. Goff- QB is the most important position in the game. If he sucks, we lose. Simple yet accurate.

  2. Swift- As much as having a boss OL and playable RB depth is good, Swift is the most talented skill position player we have, or at least until Jamo is up to full speed and proves it. Swift has to be accounted for from the 2nd level and it benefits ARSB and Hock. Also we need big play ability and he is really the only guy who can until Chark and Jamo prove up.

  3. Hutch- He is the most talented defender we have. If we dont generate a pass rush, the LB corp will get torched and our Safety situation isnt great either. He has to produce and draw attention so the rest of the line can succeed, because no one else looks like a 1 on 1 threat so far (not relying on ROkwara yet to be 100% or he would be also)

  4. Amon-Ra St. Brown - Goff to succeed needs to have his Go To Guy, who gets open and catches the damn ball. Hock IMO isnt that guy, and ASRB showed he is. He needs to be that guy for Goff to keep his confidence up and the chains moving

  5. Jeff Okudah- Surprise! I feel like some fan website hack dropping in his surprise pick…but AO had a big year and teams are going to look at the DBs and decide they would rather pick on Okudah. He needs to make them pay and not be that weak link that we need to roll the safety over to and open up a hole somewhere else.


that’s an interesting one. Jermar Jefferson?


This time last year, I remember we had several posters claiming JJ was a complete steal. He did have a few nice runs last year in a very small sample size.

Unfortunately during the best run of his rookie season, he also sprained his ankle trying to fight into the endzone.


I am looking at this differently than most here. The Lions OL was pretty good in 2021 yet the record sucked. Swift was pretty good and we still lost. Amani was pretty good and we still lost.

I am looking at this from a “we know we have done talent here” perspective but not enough talent to win. We need all our guys to play at the level they are capable of hitting…and then we need a number of guys to also step up to finally start winning.

The list I came up with isn’t a “who are the Lions top players” or who are the Lions most importa Players. I am looking at this question:
If the Lions start winning games we know who our big players are. But who are the OTHER Lions to step up to make winning possible?

Say the Lions end up 10-7. We know that likely means the IL kicked ass, that Goff did well and so on. But I think if that happens it is because a lot of guys in my list stayed healthy and helped to turn this thing around.


I’m lost at what you’re looking for. Ragnow and Decker wete gone for most of the season.

You want second level players?