The Detroit Lions were a Seattle Seahawks loss away from going to the playoffs in the 2022 season. Right now, the Lions are looking at a heavy defensive draft, as they are pretty stacked on the offense. This upcoming draft will be a good monitor on where the Lions are headed in terms of a competing franchise.
Round 1, Pick 6: Cornerback, Christian Gonzalez, Oregeon
The Detroit Lions are looking for a top-tier cornerback, and the first round is loaded with top-end cornerbacks as well. Taking a cornerback, rather than a quarterback like some people think, will be a much better move for the future. I, personally, think the Lions should ride it out with Jared Goff, as he has improved a lot over the past two years, meanwhile getting a speedy corner who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine will prove beneficial to the defense. It seems like a perfect fit for the type of defense the Lions have, and Gonzalez has high cornerback one potential.
Round 1, Pick 18: Defensive Interior, Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
The Lions need to pick up a pass rusher who can be on the same line as Aiden Hutchinson, and make their defense even more explosive. Kancey had 30 quarterback hurries, eight sacks, and had a higher production level from his college years. With this pick, the Lions will be picking up a solid defensive tackle.
Round 2, Pick 48: Linebacker, Daiyan Henley, Washington State
Daiyan Henley is a 6 ‘1 linebacker who ran a 40-yard dash at 4.54. His broad jump was 10’35”, and has a wide range when it comes to challenging blockers and running lanes. The Lions will need to draft a notable linebacker at some point, and the second round offers good talent to add onto what could be a stacked defensive line for the Lions. In 2022, Henley had 106 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. Having played numerous positions before switching to linebacker gives a team flexibility to utilize Henley at the linebacker position.
Round 2, Pick 55: Edge, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
Getting solid talent in the second round is easy, but getting an explosive edge threat in the second round is hard to come by. At the NFL Combine, Adebawore practically shined, running a 4.49 40-yard dash at 282 pounds. Getting this kind of skill talent in the second round when Levi Onwuzurike was injured last season can be key for the beginning of the 2023 season.
Round 3, Pick 88: Cornerback, Garrett Williams, Syracuse
As said previously, the Lions do need defensive depth, and given that they draft a star cornerback in the first round, adding a pretty solid cornerback in the third round is not that bad of an idea. Getting a 5’10 cornerback with an arm length of 31” could prove useful for any depth the Lions will need at the cornerback position.
Round 5, Pick 153: Running Back, DeWayne McBride, UAB
The Lions already have a very pretty solid running back room with D’Andre Swift, but with Jamaal Williams potentially being a good motivator factor for Swift for the future, drafting a running back in the fifth round is really just for precaution. McBride is a productive runner and can run in all blocking schemes, which for the Lions, anything to help Goff is an added bonus with the already pretty solid offensive line.
Round 6, Pick 182: Tight End, Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion
After trading away T.J. Hockenson, the Lions will need a tight end. Now they aren’t as desperate for a tight end as other teams, and free agency still exists, but getting a tall, speedy, tight end for Jared Goff in a later round seems like a huge steal. It is most likely that Kuntz is taken before the sixth round itself, but if in any likelihood that Kuntz is still available, the Lions should absolutely be all over in drafting him.
Round 6, Pick 193: Defensive Interior, Jacob Slade, Michigan State
The Lions are in need of defensive line depth, with the last pick for the Lions, adding another defensive tackle in the case of an emergency will be beneficial. The Lions are expected to draft heavily in defensive positions for the 2023 NFL Draft, and it would be no surprise here if they use their last pick to add an extra measure on the defensive line.