Josh Paschal, a defensive end, was the Lions’ second-round pick (46th overall) in the NFL draft on Friday night.
Paschal, who is 6-foot-3 and 268 pounds, played four seasons at Kentucky, playing in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2017. He was a captain for three seasons.
“It just means that I was blessed enough to be around a lot of great leaders and they helped me become the leader I am. I’m a guy who can change locker rooms,’’ Paschal said in a virtual media briefing on Friday night. “That’s my goal is to come in and learn from the veterans and also step into a leadership role as well.’’
He red-shirted his junior year while undergoing treatment for malignant melanoma which included multiple surgeries and a year of immunotherapy on the bottom of his right foot. He said the experience made him cherish his blessings.
Paschal has the ability to play in odd or even fronts.
“Versatility is one of the basics of my game. I move all across the front, I am not sure what coach (Todd) Wash and coach (Aaron) Glenn have planned, whatever it is I’ll give my all and I’m very versatile so whatever it is I’ll be able to pick it up,” Paschal said.
His formal interview with the Lions took place at the NFL Combine.
“I met Dan Campbell, coach Wash, coach Glenn, I met them all there. We hit it off, we watched some film, we talked about ball and life. Instantly I knew it’d be a great fit,’’ Paschal said.
He’s the second defensive end drafted by the Lions in their top four picks. Detroit drafted Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan defensive end, with the second overall pick.
Paschal said the two met at the Combine.
An NFL.com draft profile of Paschal said: “He’s like a block of granite at the point of attack with low pads and a heavy anchor. He has the twitch to see-and-shed against single blocks and the range to make a tackle a gap away. His face-up rush style lacks elusiveness and will see limited success off the edge, but his snap quickness fits perfectly as an interior rusher in sub-packages. Paschal might never be a star, but he’s a good future starter with winning character that coaches and fans will grow to love.’’
He started all 13 games in 2019 (34 tackles, 9.5 for loss with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles) and 10 of 11 games played in 2020 (32 tackles, 6.5 for loss). He finished his career on a high note, earning second-team All-SEC and Academic All-American honors while leading the Wildcats with 15.5 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks among his 53 total tackles, in 12 starts. Paschal opted out of the team’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, per NFL.com.