We are over three months away from the 2023 NFL Draft. So my thoughts on what the Detroit Lions should do will likely change, then change again.
But with the regular season ending, we know where both of the Detroit Lions first round picks are, Nos. 6 and 18.
Right off the bat, I firmly believe the Lions should try to trade down from six. The Lions will not take a quarterback with that pick. And there isn’t great value, in my opinion, with the options that will likely be there.
Clemson edge threat Myles Murphy and his teammate, defensive tackle Bryan Breese are good options. But with Aidan Hutchinson’s strong play and the emergence of James Houston, I think we’re good on edge guys.
Breese would be my choice between the two Tigers, but I’d still rather trade down and get extra picks. Alim McNeil showed enough flash in the middle where I don’t think defensive tackle is a pressing need.
There are also teams sitting behind the Lions at No. 6 that could feel the urge to trade up to get a quarterback. Las Vegas (NO. 7), Carolina (No. 9), Tampa Bay (No. 19), and possibly Green Bay (No. 15) could all be looking to draft a new signal caller.
Trading back and getting an extra second rounder or maybe a couple of third rounders would be ideal. The Detroit Lions need help on defense, without a doubt. But adding quality depth would go a long way in helping Detroit contend for the division.
Players to Watch for the Lions defense
There are three players I really like in the first round for the Lions. The problem is none of them have the value of being picked sixth. Which again is why I think they need to trade down.
First is Joey Porter Jr, cornerback from Penn State. He has length standing at 6’2, solid speed and is good in both man and zone coverage. The big knock on Porter is he can get aggressive in coverage and take some penalties.
Second is Brian Branch, defensive back from Alabama. Not the biggest (6’0, 193 lbs) or the fastest, but he has great instincts and can line up in multiple spots on the field. A new buzz word for NFL prospects is ‘chess piece’ and Branch fits that description. A guy that can play safety, some corner and line up in the box occasionally would be a great addition for Aaron Glenn’s defense.
Lastly is Drew Sanders, linebacker from Arkansas. He started his college career at Alabama and transferred to the Razorbacks, where he ascended into a star. He’s got a big frame, 6’5 232 lbs, but has good explosiveness and pursuit. The Lions need another good backer to pair with Malcolm Rodriguez, and Sanders would be that guy.
A quick final thought on the draft, a position group I’d really like the Lions to address in the middle rounds is offensive line. You can never have too much depth there, and it’s a group that has been bitten by the injury bug the last two years.
Finding a quality lineman who has versatility in the third or fourth round (Lions don’t currently have a fourth round pick) would be a significant upgrade to the depth of the team.
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