Josh Paschal became a fixture at Kentucky and was one of the faces of the program’s revival, going from SEC doormat to one of the league’s top defenses.
Here are four things you need to know about the Detroit Lions’ newest defensive lineman, selected with the No. 46 pick in Friday’s draft.
WHAT THEY SAY :Josh Paschal ‘a 10-year-old player in this league’
Carlos Monarrez:Instant rating for Lions second-round pick Josh Paschal, who can help pass the race
A natural leader
An NFL scout told Dave Birkett of the Free Press that when Paschal is done playing football, he could be elected president.
That’s the kind of vibe he gives off, so it’s no wonder he was the first player in program history to captain three times.
Paschal is a versatile player who can play in a two or three technique technique, act as an inside run tamper or tackle the setter from the edge and says he also tries to use this versatility in as a teacher.
“I love building relationships with my teammates, I love being able to direct different guys in different ways,” he said in a post-draft zoom. “I believe every person you lead, you have to have that bond, but some guys when you’re learning they react better to calling someone out and some guys react better when you pull someone aside.
“Going to Detroit now, I’m going to be able to take it all in this first year and really learn from the veterans.”
Paschal also said on Friday that he hopes he can play the game for as long as he can but whenever his time is up he wants to stay in football as a coach.
JEFF SEIDEL:Lions get two game changers in NFL Draft, first round is a breath of fresh air
MITCH ALBOM:Lions lucky with Aidan Hutchinson, try luck with Jameson Williams
Everything in perspective
But some things are bigger than football, something he learned firsthand in August 2018 when he went to the doctor for his sore foot.
The doctor thought it might be a blood blister, but after performing a biopsy, it was much worse than that: malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Paschal underwent three surgeries and just three months later, in November, returned to the football pitch.
“I’ve learned a lot throughout this time, I’ve learned to not just take this game, but life for granted,” he said. “Consider every day and every moment a blessing, whether it’s when I’m on this training ground or just waking up in the morning.
“I’m beyond lucky to be in this position, I feel like everything has come full circle and I’m beyond lucky to be a Leo.”
The world of the NCAA is changing as athletes get to profit from their name, image and likeness, and Paschal got in on the action last fall.
The rusher did a commercial for a dentist’s office, where he came to help dentists “defend themselves” against poor dental hygiene.
In the ad, Paschal could be seen knocking a drink out of a child’s hand, reaching into a car and planting treats in the ground, giving a “motivational” speech in the lobby about the pulling back from social media and focusing on brushing your teeth and even stepping in when a hygienist has had a “cramp”.
“I like to have fun, I’m a fun guy, so it was just something to express my personality,” he said.
Production of special teams
It remains to be seen exactly where Paschal will fit specifically for the Lions – other than stating the obvious that he’s on the defensive line – but there’s a chance he could be involved on special teams.
He had a big moment on special teams last season as a Wildcat, when he blocked a Florida field goal attempt that teammate Trevin Wallace ran for 76 yards in a win. of 20-13 against the Gators, the school’s first at home. since 1986.
He also had seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss in that game, and was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.