What Will Detroit Do With Their Picks In The NFL Draft

The Detroit Lions just recorded their first winning season since 2017 and had more wins this past season than the two previous years combined. This wasn’t necessarily unforeseen, however, as Michigan online gambling helped the Lions become one of the most bet on teams heading into the 2022-2023 season.

At the time of this writing, the Lions have the third-most draft capital in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. How might Detroit use these picks in the NFL Draft? Let’s dive in and look at some possibilities.

What Picks do the Detroit Lions Have in the 2023 NFL Draft?

Before trying to determine the options Detroit has in the draft, we first have to lay out what picks the Lions have.

  • Pick 6 (Round 1)
  • Pick 18 (Round 1)
  • Pick 48 (Round 2)
  • Pick 55 (Round 2)
  • Pick 81 (Round 3)
  • Pick 154 (Round 5)
  • Pick 183 (Round 6)
  • Pick 194 (Round 6)

Picks 6, 55, and 183 came from deals with the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos. The pick from the Rams is the last payment of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles. Pick 55 resulted from the trade that sent tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings, while the sixth-rounder from Denver was part of a deal for wide receiver Trinity Benson.

With five picks in the first three rounds, the Lions are in a fantastic position to add to their young, talented roster.

Detroit Lions Draft Pick Options

The Lions find themselves in a very favorable situation in the first round. Before the start of NFL free agency, there were nine teams in need of a quarterback. You could argue that a handful of teams may be looking for an upgrade at the position. This gives the sixth overall pick the potential of a trade-down spot for the Lions. With the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts likely to draft a quarterback in the top four picks, Detroit could field calls from teams like the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, or New York Jets.

If the Lions stay at six, they could go in several directions and land one of the top talents in the draft. One of their biggest weaknesses in 2022 was their pass defense. The Lions gave up the third-most passing yards per game and were tied for the eighth-most passing touchdowns allowed. This puts them in a spot to grab someone like Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon from Syracuse. The Lions could also look to add another pass rusher opposite of last year’s number two overall pick Aidan Hutchinson by selecting Myles Murphy out of Clemson.

Frankly, despite the Lions publicly saying Jared Goff is their guy, they could look to take a swing on a raw prospect like Anthony Richardson out of Florida and let him develop for a year behind Goff. Following the 2023 season, the former number-one overall pick could be released which would create $26 million in cap space with just a $5 million dead cap hit.

At 18, there could still be intriguing secondary help available if the Lions were to go a different direction with their first selection with names like Kelee Ringo (Georgia), Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), and Cam Smith (South Carolina).  The Lions could also look to draft left tackle Taylor Decker’s replacement with someone like Broderick Jones from Georgia. Similar to Jared Goff, moving on from Decker would free up cap space – nearly $10 million – with a manageable dead cap hit. The 18th overall selection could also be another spot where Detroit goes edge rusher with Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness or additional interior help with Clemson’s Brian Bresee.

The second round obviously gets a little dicier to predict but there are still clear improvements the Lions need to make. Detroit could potentially look at two defensive line prospects at pick 48 with Siaki Ika (Baylor) or Mazi Smith (Michigan). Smith may slide in the draft due to recent legal issues, however. Other names to watch for are offensive lineman Cody Mauch (North Dakota State), cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (Miami), cornerback Julius Brents (Kansas State), or a tight end with pick 55. Tight-end projections are all over the board right now, but we’ll get a clearer picture with combined testing.

Trying to predict what will happen outside of the top 64 picks this far out is generally an exercise of futility, but if the Lions can land offensive guard Andrew Vorhees in the third, that would be a great way to round out their top three rounds.

With their remaining picks, I’m always a fan of swinging for the fences and taking chances on raw, athletic players with significant upside. While most teams won’t admit it, the NFL draft as a whole is basically one big lottery ticket. You might as well take a shot on the scratch-off with the highest potential payout once we reach the depths of day three.




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Philosopher, writer, bad-pun maker and enjoyer of novelty. I enjoy bikes, video games, and beer all at the same time. When it comes to reading, I can and do.

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