Josh Paschal is grateful for the Detroit Lions’ 2022 NFL Draft

High character. Top engine.

That’s the word on the street regarding the Detroit Lions’ 2022 second-round pick Josh Paschal.

The 6-foot-3, 278-pound defensive end, as a three-time former University of Kentucky captain, seems a perfect fit for the locker room Dan Campbell & Co. are trying to build in the Motor City.

Campbell and Detroit general manager Brad Holmes have made a concerted effort to add players with strong leadership qualities since returning to their respective roles with the Lions a year ago.

Paschal was not only the first three-time captain in the history of the Wildcats football program, but he also battled and overcame a cancer scare as a sophomore in the UK.

This has helped him earn more respect from his Kentucky teammates, which he spoke about Saturday during his rookie minicamp press conference.

“I’ve always had everyone’s respect, when it comes to example, since I was a freshman. But, that was when I went through my cancer diagnosis my sophomore year. I went through it, and they saw how I behaved and how I pushed myself to my limits during that time, but also helped to encourage others,” Paschal told reporters. “And so, I was able to gain even more respect from the guys because of that. And the guys started looking up to me.”

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Paschal didn’t even know if he would ever play football again after his cancer diagnosis in 2018. So, for him, having the opportunity to play in the NFL is “a blessing”.

“When we walk out of the facility and you come in here and see all the Lions stuff, all the blue, you realize I’m training in the NFL,” Paschal said. “Man, that makes me want to shed a tear, because you gotta think that in 2018 people didn’t think I was going to play football again. At the end of the day, I was fighting something completely different from football. And so being here and being able to train is a blessing, so I’m grateful for that and grateful to the Lions for shooting me.

The Wildcats product should make a difference against the run immediately, and it provides Detroit with a solid degree of versatility, with the ability to line up in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive scheme.

Paschal, himself, thinks he will be able to play on the whole defensive line of the Lions.

“I think I fit that guy, big guy, big defensive end,” he said. “That’s what we’re called, and I feel like I can play on that front, but more specifically on the edge. Or even if I have to hit inside for the running game, I can do that too, and for the passing game. So, I feel like I’ll be a versatile piece on that defense.”