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Hard Knocks Detroit Lions Storylines to Watch (2022)

Hard Knocks Detroit Lions Storylines to Watch (2022)

NFL fans who want to watch the Detroit Lions on primetime won’t have to wait until Thanksgiving this year. On Monday at the NFL Annual League Meeting, HBO and NFL Films announced that the 2022 edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks series will feature the Lions.

The five-episode season will debut Tuesday, August 9 and air its season finale on Tuesday, September 6.

The NFL has rules in place to ensure cooperation in the series, and the Lions were one of three teams unable to turn down participation in Hard Knocks. The other two teams were the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets. The Panthers have never been featured, while the Jets were the focus of the 2010 season.

Andrew Erickson provides an overview of the Lions, the moves they’ve made this offseason, their assets in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, and some potential storylines on the upcoming season of Hard Knocks.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

Key Free Agents Signed

Total Draft Picks in 2022 NFL Draft

  • 2nd Overall (Round 1, Pick 2)
  • 32nd Overall (Round 1, Pick 32 from L.A. Rams)
  • 34th Overall (Round 2, Pick 2)
  • 66th Overall (Round 3, Pick 2)
  • 97th Overall (Round 3, Pick 33 – compensatory selection)
  • 177th Overall (Round 5, Pick 34 – compensatory selection)
  • 181st Overall (Round 6, Pick 2)
  • 217th Overall (Round 6, Pick 39 – compensatory selection)
  • 234th Overall (Round 7, Pick 13 – from Cleveland)

Team Needs: EDGE, LB, QB, CB, WR

Only the Atlanta Falcons boasted a worse pressure rate on defense than the Lions did a season ago. Seems only fitting that an edge defender will be selected with the No. 2 overall pick.

Cornerback and linebacker are the other areas of improvement for Dan Campbell’s defense. No linebacker or cornerback graded top 45 at their position per PFF for the Lions last season.

For fantasy purposes, quarterback and wide receiver are the two obvious needs. I doubt we see Detroit start a rookie quarterback from the get-go because of Jared Goff‘s (QB – DET) contract, but they should draft one at some point. The same goes for wide receivers, with D.J. Chark only on a one-year, prove-it deal.

Potential Player Targets in Upcoming Draft

Fantasy Position Battles to Watch

The Lions will likely start Jared Goff to begin the 2022 season with a $15.5 million roster guarantee. However, with a potential out in his contract in 2023, Detroit grooming a rookie quarterback behind him from this year’s class seems extremely probable. A quarterback competition between Goff and a rookie would be a sight to see play out during training camp – especially if the rookie offers the big-play arm talent that just isn’t part of Goff’s game.

The veteran’s potential short shelf life is already being considered by both dynasty and best-ball drafters in the SuperFlex format because his ADP is low at QB29. He finished as a top-15 weekly quarterback in six of his 14 starts last season (42%).

Wide receiver and RB2 are the other spots worth monitoring during the HBO series. After Amon-Ra St. Brown, there’s bound to be a dogfight between D.J. Chark and Josh Reynolds as the No. 1 wide receiver on the outside. It’s easy to initially peg Chark as the favorite, but don’t disregard the connection Reynolds and Goff have built from there many seasons spent together in Los Angeles. Do they eat breakfast together? Stay tuned.

The Lions also have the draft capital to add a wide receiver in the second round, which would make Chark and Reynolds extremely fringe fantasy prospects.

RB Jamaal Williams‘ playful personality mic’d up will also be fun to watch as he tries to hold off Craig Reynolds, Jermar Jefferson, and Godwin Igwebuike from eating into his beta role behind D’Andre Swift in the backfield.

Reynolds is the biggest threat to earn work on early downs after he finished last season third in yards after contact per attempt (3.9) on the back of nearly 200 rushing yards in two spot starts in 2021.
– Andrew Erickson

Complete List of Hard Knocks Seasons

2001 Baltimore Ravens
2002 Dallas Cowboys
2007 Kansas City Chiefs
2008 Dallas Cowboys
2009 Cincinnati Bengals
2010 New York Jets
2011 None (labor uncertainty)
2012 Miami Dolphins
2013 Cincinnati Bengals
2014 Atlanta Falcons
2015 Houston Texans
2016 Los Angeles Rams
2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Cleveland Browns
2019 Oakland Raiders
2020 Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers
2021 Dallas Cowboys
2021 Indianapolis Colts (in-season edition)
2022 Detroit Lions

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