Why the Slide?: Joshua Paschal, DL, Kentucky

This series was created in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

The media was not as plugged in regarding Kentucky defensive lineman Joshua Paschal, but many NFL teams were high on him. Some teams had him in contention for late in the first round thanks to him having a combination of good tape, excellent workouts, and phenomenal intangibles, such as locker room leadership and character. Paschal was a rising prospect during Spring 2022, and some teams picking in the middle of the second round did not believe he would get to their pick. While Paschal did not go in the first round, he ended up sliding slightly in the top half of Round 2.

Sources with NFL teams told WalterFootball.com the big issue that hurt Paschal was his body type. Being 6-foot-3, 278-pounds makes Paschal a tweener tackle/end with the weight of an end and the height of a tackle. That led to him needing a specific match between defensive system and team.

“Good player, just a tweener,” said an AFC director of player personnel on Paschall. “I can see where teams could value his production, intangibles, etc. in the second. With him, it was more about scheme fit than high-level physical/athletic attributes.”

The Detroit Lions ended Paschal’s fall in the second round, and they were a good landing spot for him. Immediately, he could be a starting interior pass rusher in the sub package. With Aidan Hutchinson on the outside, along with other talented young pass-rushing veterans like Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris, Paschal should see single-block opportunities. Paschal can rotate with 2021 second-round pick Levi Onwuzurike as well to avoid getting worn down by interior NFL offensive linemen. In terms of culture, Paschal is a great fit in the high-character, football-loving environment being fostered by head coach Dan Campbell. Paschal has a golden opportunity to have a good career with the Lions.

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