Joshua Paschal Selected by Lions as 46th Overall Pick in NFL Draft

Joshua Paschal Selected by Lions as 46th Overall Pick in NFL Draft

by Susan Lax

Kentucky senior defensive end Joshua Paschal was chosen in the second round by the Detroit Lions as the 46th overall pick in the 2022 National Football League Draft on Friday in Las Vegas.
Paschal, a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, was the only three-time full-season team captain in school history and was revered by his teammates for his leadership. Since learning he had cancer in the summer of 2018, Paschal has made a significant impact on the Kentucky Football program and thousands of people.
He was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that appeared on the bottom of his foot just before training camp was to open in July of 2018. After undergoing three surgeries and monthly immunotherapy treatments for more than a year, he was cleared to play in the final three games of UK’s historic 10-win season.
He never used cancer as an excuse to not attend practice, a media session or a community service event, but instead he has used it as a platform to talk to people about his faith and how going through cancer has helped him become stronger as both a person and a player. He spoke to countless churches, school groups, cancer groups and media entities on his faith and how he beat cancer. He kept his grades up through it all, earning a spot on the Dean’s List and the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. He also appeared on NBC’s Today Show! in May 2019 as a guest on a panel discussing the seriousness of melanoma.
In 2020, he was elected one of three representatives for UK Football on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the SEC Football Leadership Council. He took the lead on social justice initiatives over the summer of 2020, helping lead a peaceful walk for racial and social justice in the city of Lexington, as well as a players’ movement during training camp to raise awareness for those issues. Each time he was one of only a few players selected to speak on behalf of the team. He also recorded videos encouraging fellow students and fans to wear their masks during Covid-19 pandemic, #MaskUpCats.
The four-year letter winner played in 52 career games with 37 starts and totaled 139 career tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. His 37 tackles for loss in his career ranks tied for third in UK history.
In 2021, he led the team and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference with 15.5 tackles for loss. He totaled 53 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a team-high eight quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal that a teammate returned for a touchdown.
Paschal earned Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year honors and was named a second-team All-American by CBS/247Sports and USA Today.  He also was named to the All-SEC first team by the Associated Press and Phil Steele. Continuing strong in the classroom, he has earned Academic All-America honors as well.
Off the field, he graduated in May of 2021 with a degree in family science and a minor in health promotion.
The Draft concludes with rounds 4–7 on Saturday, April 30 at noon ET. The Draft will be televised nationally by NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and can be heard nationwide on Westwood One Radio, SiriusXM NFL Radio and ESPN Radio.
Kentucky/NFL Draft Notes:

  • This marks the fourth straight year UK has had at least one player taken in the first three rounds. This year, Wan’Dale Robinson was also chosen in the second round by the New York Giants.
  • Paschal is the 20th player drafted under head coach Mark Stoops at Kentucky.
  • Paschal is the 13th defensive player (Avery Williamson, Bud Dupree, Za’Darius Smith, Josh Forrest, Josh Allen, Lonnie Johnson, Mike Edwards, Jamin DavisKelvin JosephQuinton BohannaBrandin Echols and Phil Hoskins) drafted under Stoops at Kentucky (since 2013), and UK’s first defensive player in the 2022 draft.

There have been seven other Wildcats who have been drafted by the Lions’ franchise: Charlie Ishmael (1941), Henry Herzog (1958), Tom Rodgers (1961), Dwight Little (1968), Artose Pinner (2003), Larry Warford (2013) and Logan Stenberg (2020).  Paschal rejoins former teammate Stenberg, who is a two-year veteran with Detroit.

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