2 Detroit Lions picks make ‘Biggest Surprises of 2023 NFL Draft’ list

Our Detroit Lions made some eyebrow-raising moves during the 2023 NFL draft that caught the attention of fans and analysts alike. It all started in the opening round as the Lions selected RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick, followed by LB Jack Campbell with the No. 18 pick. Bleacher Report has released a list of their “Biggest Surprises of the 2023 NFL Draft” and a pair of Lions picks made the cut. One of those picks was taking Gibbs at No. 12, while the other one has to do with the Lions getting a player who dropped further than expected.

Detroit Lions 2023 NFL Draft

Key Points

  • Lions made eyebrow-raising moves during the 2023 NFL draft.
  • The Lions selected RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick and LB Jack Campbell with the No. 18 pick.
  • Two Lions picks made the Bleacher Report's list of “Biggest Surprises of the 2023 NFL Draft”: drafting Gibbs at No. 12 and S Brian Branch falling to Round 2 and landing with the Lions.

2 Detroit Lions picks make ‘Biggest Surprises of 2023 NFL Draft' list

Here are the two Lions picks that cracked the list, along with what BR had to say about them.

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7. S Brian Branch Falls to Round 2, Lands with Lions

The Detroit Lions surprised some by drafting Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18 overall. But Campbell was easily the top off-ball linebacker prospect in this class, and the Lions had a major need at the position.

So, we'll give them a pass—especially after Brian Branch fell into their lap in Round 2.

Granted, Branch was just 30th on Bleacher Report's final pre-draft Big Board, but he was also universally regarded as this year's top safety prospect.

However, Branch didn't near his name called on Day 1 despite being invited to the green room. It took until the 14th pick of the second round for the Lions to finally end his slide, but when they did it was a coup.

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He'll likely be an immediate starter for a defense that allowed the most yards in the league in 2022. And if you flip-flopped Branch to No. 18 and Campbell to No. 45, both picks would have been applauded.

2. Lions Draft Jahmyr Gibbs 12th Overall

There was no question that Bijan Robinson of Texas was the No. 1 running back prospect in the 2023 draft class. And there was little doubt that Robinson would be a first-round pick.

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But few thought there would be two backs chosen in Round 1, and the only folks who knew two would be drafted in the top 15 were the Detroit Lions. They stunned the NFL world by drafting Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12.

But few thought there would be two backs chosen in Round 1, and the only folks who knew two would be drafted in the top 15 were the Detroit Lions. They stunned the NFL world by drafting Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12.

Gibbs' talent and explosiveness are undeniable, and if he goes on to become an elite ball-carrier, it won't matter where he was picked. But this was the first time since 2017 that multiple backs were drafted in the top 15.

That most assuredly qualifies as a surprise.

Bottom Line: Brad Holmes does what Brad Holmes wants

Brad Holmes made it very clear after the first round of the draft that he could not care less about what people outside the Lions War Room have to say about who they pick or do not pick. Holmes and his staff spend countless hours identifying prospects who love football and are great fits for the culture that has been established in Allen Park. Only time will tell how this class turns out, but if the past is any indication of the future, it will probably be another feather in the cap for the Lions GM.

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