2022 NFL Draft: What are the odds that a pair of first-round picks define a new age of Detroit Lions football?

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The 2022 NFL Draft is done and dusted, and the Detroit Lions had an exciting one. Although the NFL season is still four months away, Lions fans will be ecstatic after drafting Michigan’s own Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick and trading up to take wide receiver Jameson Williams from the University of Alabama. Although Williams may start the season on the sidelines, both first-round draft selections should positively impact this Detroit roster since this year. Now let’s look at some preseason odds for the Lions and any prop bets available for their new rookie class.

The Lions score strong draft grade among analysts

The NFL Draft is always a fun time of the year, and a common joke around Detroit is that the draft is Lions fans’ Super Bowl. However, Dan Campbell brought a new identity to the Lions’ locker room last season, and many fans will expect the team to improve on their 3-13-1 record. As far as offseason signings, wide receiver DJ Chark will bring a new dimension, and many analysts believe that Detroit had a great Draft last week in Las Vegas. A few of the grades given to Detroit are listed below:

  • Chad Reuter, NFL.com: B+
  • Mel Kiper Jr. ESPN: B+
  • Nate Davis, USA Today: A
  • Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated: A
  • Pro Football Focus Staff: A+

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Clearly, the media believes Detroit drafted well and is moving in a positive direction for the future. First-round picks Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams will be contributors this season (although Williams’ debut may be delayed), and second-round pick Josh Pachal from the University of Kentucky should see time this season. With all the buzz around this rookie class, a few different sportsbooks have offered betting markets related to their performance. Let’s look at what props are out for both first-round picks.

Aidan Hutchinson looks to continue dominance in Michigan

It was a dream come true for the former University of Michigan standout when the Lions announced his name with the second overall pick. They are getting a relentless pass rusher that had three different games with three sacks as a senior at Michigan. He will now be able to continue his career in the same state where he grew up and played his entire football career. The number two overall pick has a few different odds associated with his rookie season performance including an over/under for his total sacks, odds at NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and some other props that we covered here.

Aidan Hutchinson props and predictions for 2022 NFL Season

First, the odds for how many sacks Hutchinson can rack up this season. DraftKings has unique sack props for Aidan Hutchinson, the Giants’ Kayvon Thibodeaux and the Jaguars’ Travon Walker. Hutchinson’s total is 8.5 with +110 odds for him to have over that number, while under 8.5 carries -145 odds. It is the highest of the three top-five picks, with Thibodeaux’s total at 7.5 and Walker’s at 6.5. So, will Hutchinson be able to top that total?

At Michigan, Hutchinson totaled 17.5 sacks in his 36-game career, with 14 of them in his 14-game senior season. He has shown the potential to get the quarterback, and he will be Detroit’s main force at getting behind the line. Last season, linebacker Charles Harris led the Lions with eight sacks while Julian Okwara had five. A rookie only topped 8.5 sacks once in the Lions’ history, when Ndamukong Suh totaled 10 his rookie season. A combination of Okwara and Hutchinson could be a nightmare for offensive lines, and the rookie will likely thrive off of the support. Even though Suh is the only Lions rookie to reach double-digit sacks, eight rookies have reached 8.5 sacks over the last five seasons.

We believe that Dan Campbell will find a way to make life easier for the rookie. Although a rookie has not dominated the defensive line in Detroit since Suh, Hutchinson has all the tools to make a noticeable impact in his rookie season. We predict that the former Michigan star has over 8.5 sacks (+110) this year.

Jameson Willams return sooner than expected?

When Detroit traded with the Minnesota Vikings to select Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams with the 12th overall pick, Lions’ fans were ecstatic to get another young wide receiver to pair with breakout wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Williams suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship against Georgia, but his surgeon, Dr. Lyle Cain brought optimistic news this week. Cain said that “Jameson’s goal is to play [the] first preseason game, obviously,” and went on to say that whoever drafted Williams will likely be “very conservative” and he is probably right. Additionally, Cain stated that the original timetable to return was five to seven months and that Williams already looks strong in his current form, four months after surgery.

Jameson Williams’ props and predictions for 2022 rookie season

With the injury, it was always unlikely that any sportsbooks would offer season props related to Williams’ statistical performance at this stage. However, BetMGM still has Williams as a potential selection for Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY). The option to select Williams as OROY is optimistic news for Lions fans, as he is currently the 7th-most likely to win the award with odds of +1000 at PointsBet and tied for 9th-most likely at odds of +1200 on DraftKings. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ newly drafted quarterback Kenny Pickett, is the current favorite at +500 at both PointsBet and DraftKings.

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It is unlikely that the Lions will push Williams to return, as he will pair very nicely with Amon-Ra St. Brown for the foreseeable future. So, we do not recommend making a wager on Williams to win the award at +1000 or +1200, but the last three wide receivers to win it have all been from the SEC. Correlation does not always mean causation, and we will continue to monitor the rookie’s odds and expect him to make an impact on this Detroit offense when he returns to the field.

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