The Detroit Lions entered the 2023 NFL Draft with no shortage of draft capital. The team started with nine picks through the first six rounds. After making numerous trades, Detroit exited the draft after making eight selections. Six of those picks came in the first three rounds.
Lions GM Brad Holmes upgraded the team’s defense with linebacker Jack Campbell and safety/slot corner Brian Branch. The hulking Brodric Martin is an intriguing prospect as an interior defensive lineman as well.
Holmes continued to build the team’s defense with running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta expected to play important roles early on. He found a backup quarterback and potential successor to Jared Goff in Hendon Hooker. Guard Colby Sorsdal and receiver Antoine Green are developmental prospects who could see their roles grow in the coming years.
After the draft, Holmes brought in more talent to round out Detroit’s training camp and preseason roster. The team brought in some recognizable names in its undrafted free-agent class. While the odds to make the final roster are stacked against these players, they will have the chance to carve their way into the league, even if that means fighting to stick with the practice squad.
Here are the Detroit Lions’ undrafted free agents.
Adrian Martinez, Quarterback, Kansas State
Martinez struggled to assert himself as a premiere college quarterback during his five-year collegiate career. He never posted a winning season at Nebraska, and after transferring to Kansas State, he was outperformed and replaced by Will Howard. Martinez finished his college career with 9,752 passing yards, 51 passing touchdowns and 31 interceptions. With Goff, Hooker and Nate Sudfeld currently under contract with the Detroit Lions, it is unlikely Martinez is much more than a camp arm.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Running Back, Minnesota
Injuries, a lack of top-end speed and his contact-heavy run style all led to Ibrahim going undrafted. He was a dominant runner at the college level. In five seasons, Ibrahim tallied 4,668 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns with the Golden Gophers. If he can stay healthy, there is good reason to believe Ibrahim can establish himself as an NFL player. He is not a home-run hitter, but he will be a tough guy to tackle when a team needs to pick up a few yards.
Chase Cota, Wide Receiver, Oregon
Cota spent his first four collegiate seasons with the UCLA Bruins before transferring to Oregon. The 6-foot-3 receiver finished his career with 1,380 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Keytaon Thompson, Wide Receiver, Virginia
Thompson played six seasons in college. His first three seasons were spent at Mississippi State while his final three were with Virginia. Thompson began his career as a quarterback before transitioning to receiver. He is a big-bodied receiver standing at 6-foot-4. In three seasons with the Cavaliers, Thompson posted 1,667 receiving yards, 506 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns.
Connor Galvin, Tackle, Baylor
Galvin spent three seasons with Baylor. In 2021, Galvin was named Big12 Offensive Lineman of the Year
Ryan Swoboda, Tackle, UCF
Swoboda is a mountain of a man. The offensive lineman stands at 6-foot-19. He was a three-year starter at UCF.
Brad Cecil, Offensive Lineman, USF
Cecil spent finished his career starting in 50 out of his 53 games played with USF. He was named team captain in 2021.
Chris Smith, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
In one season with the Fighting Irish, Smith tallied 17 total tackles and one forced fumble. He appeared in 13 games with the team.
Zach Morton, Defensive End, Akron
Morton spent three seasons at Syracuse before transferring to Akron. He played in just one game for the Orange. He did not record a box score stat. In two seasons with Akron, Morton recorded 61 total tackles, 5.5 sack, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Isaac Darkangelo, Linebacker, Illinois
A graduate of Detroit Catholic Central, Darkangelo began his collegiate career with Northern Michigan. He made his way to Illinois and established himself as a playmaker on special teams. In three seasons with Illinois, Darkangelo totaled 78 tackles and a fumble recovery. Now he has a chance to fight for a roster spot with the Detroit Lions.
Trevor Nowaski, Linebacker, Saginaw Valley State
In five seasons with the Cardinals, Nowaski tallied 232 tackles, 5.5 sacks, five interceptions and 10 pass breakups. Like Darkangelo, Nowaski has close ties to the Metro-Detroit area. Nowaski is a graduate from Salem High School.
Starling Thomas V, Cornerback, UAB
Thomas finished his five-year collegiate career with 107 tackles and an interception. He was a key fixture of UAB’s return game during his tenure with the team. Thomas tallied 391 total return yards.
Brandon Joseph, Safety, Notre Dame
Joseph started his career with Northwestern. He was a 2020 Consensus All-American and played a part in Northwestern’s path to a bowl game. In 2022, Joseph transferred to Notre Dame where he appeared in 10 games with the Fighting Irish. In four collegiate seasons, Joseph totaled 159 tackles, one sack, 10 interceptions and a return touchdown.
For more from the author, Thomas Chavez, check him out on Twitter here: @tlchavez43
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