Inside the Article:
Our Detroit Lions are in a prime position to make significant strides in the upcoming 2023 NFL draft with five picks in the top 100, including the coveted number six and 18 overall picks in the first round. The Lions have been diligent in their search for talented players to construct a winning team, and these high-value selections provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen their roster. With the draft just three days away, excitement is mounting as fans eagerly anticipate what Brad Holmes will do when the Lions are on the clock with each of their picks. Here is the final edition of my Detroit Lions 7-Round ‘Perfect' 2023 NFL Mock Draft.
- Lions have five top 100 picks, including numbers six and 18 in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
- The Lions are in a position where they can focus on the “best available” players, rather than drafting for need
- Brad Holmes will have some VERY important decisions to make when the Lions are on the clock with each of their nine picks in the upcoming draft.
Detroit Lions ‘Perfect' 7-Round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: FINAL EDITION
Here is what I believe a “Perfect” 7-round 2023 NFL Draft would look like for the Lions. Note: I used the Mock Draft Simulator on Pro Football Focus to keep me honest! I have also included blurbs from Dane Brugler of The Athletic for more analysis of each pick.
Round 1 (Pick 6) – Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE – Alabama)
Let me begin by saying that if there are not any trades within the Top 5, I would be surprised if Will Anderson Jr. falls to No. 6. That being said, I absolutely think at least one team will trade into the Top 5, which makes Anderson falling to the Lions a very real possibility. If the Lions can land Anderson at No. 6, you can bet they, and their fans, will be very excited.
“Anderson doesn’t have ideal body mass and must improve his onfield discipline, but he is equally dynamic as a pass rusher and run defender because of his twitchy movements, skilled hands and overall play speed. He is a scheme-proof game-wrecker with Pro Bowl potential.” – D. Brugler
Round 1 (Pick 18) – Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)
Darnell Wright is a player that I have been a big fan of for a long time, and he would be a nice edition to what is already the Lions' biggest strength, their offensive line. If Wright falls to No. 18, I would LOVE for the Lions to grab him. Personally, I think he will be gone in the Top 15.
“Wright will get himself into trouble when he sacrifices technique for his nasty
demeanor, but he naturally defaults to his raw power and body control to consistently win in both the run and passing game. He is a plug-and-play right tackle, and some teams have him on their draft board as a starting guard.” – D. Brugler
Round 2 (Pick 48) – Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)
Many people believe the Lions are satisfied with what they have in their tight-end room. I am not one of those people and if Darnell Washington somehow slides all the way to No. 48, the Lions would be making a big mistake if they pass on him.
“Washington will need time to mature in areas, but he offers a unique set of skills to be a weapon as an NFL blocker as he continues to ascend as a pass catcher, especially in the red zone. He is a one-of-one talent with fascinating pro potential because of his rare length, play strength and body flexibility at his size.” -D. Brugler
Round 2 (Pick 55) – Keeanu Benton (DL – Wisconsin)
I would be shocked if the Lions do not address the interior of their defensive line within the first three rounds, and I would love for them to land Keeanu Benton out of Wisconsin in Round 2. Benton has great versatility, which is something the Lions look for when selecting a player.
“Benton needs to play with consistent leverage and become a more consistent finisher for the NFL game, but his stout power base and above-average athleticism at his size are outstanding foundation traits. He has the talent to play all over the defensive line as a pro.” – D. Brugler
Round 3 (Pick 81) – Corey Trice Jr. (CB – Purdue)
Some believe the Lions are all set in their secondary after all of the moves they made during free agency, but that is absurd. Brad Holmes is all about drafting for the future, and if you look beyond the 2023 season, the secondary is a huge need. Other than his size, Trice Jr. fits everything the Lions are looking for in a player and I think he would be a great get at pick No. 81.
“Trice might never be a high-level technician, but he has exceptional size, speed and change-of-direction skills to be a disruptive cover man both early and late in the rep. He offers position versatility with starting potential in press-man or Cover 3 schemes.” -D. Brugler
Round 5 (Pick 152) – Jake Haener (QB – Fresno State)
Throughout the entire NFL Draft process, I have been convinced that the Lions will sign free-agent QB Teddy Bridgewater to be their No. 2 guy behind Jared Goff. To be honest, if I was a betting man, I still believe that Bridgewater will be signed following the draft, but if Haener falls to Round 5, which is very possible, the Lions may want to pull the trigger. If this happened, signing Bridgewater would still be an option, as they could always cut Nate Sudfeld, even though they just signed him to a contract.
“Haener doesn’t have premium size or arm strength by NFL standards, but he helps
compensate for his average physical tools with passing anticipation, natural accuracy, and the competitive toughness to keep plays alive. As long as he is healthy, he has the mental makeup and instincts to be a resourceful NFL backup in the mold of Taylor Heinicke.” -D. Brugler
Round 5 (Pick 159) – Chase Brown (RB – Illinois)
I really believe the Lions are going to take a running back at some point in the upcoming draft, and I would not be surprised if they take one in Round 2 or Round 3. But, in this exercise, I have the Lions waiting until Round 5, where they land one of my favorite mid-round guys in the draft, Chase Brown.
“Brown has mediocre run strength and must continue to prove himself as a blocker, but his ability to pair his quick-scan vision with his controlled footwork should translate well to the next level. He projects as an NFL rotational back who will be ready when/if a starting opportunity arises.” -D. Brugler
Round 6 (Pick 183) – Daniel Scott (S – California)
Don't get me started on Daniel Scott! I absolutely LOVE Scott, and if he slides to Round 6 (He did on my PFF Mock Draft simulation), the Lions MUST make the pick. With C.J. Moore being cut, Scott, who is a great special teams player, is a no-brainer pick if he is still on the board at Pick 183.
“Scott has better traits than tape and needs to become more buttoned up in several areas, but NFL
teams are always searching for rangy, quick-footed safeties with his set of skills. His versatility on defense and special teams will be an attractive selling point on draft day.” – D. Brugler
Round 6 (Pick 194) – Jake Moody (K – Michigan)
Yep, I am sticking with the Lions selecting a kicker in the 2023 NFL Draft. If I felt the Lions were still a year or two away from contending, I would not necessarily make this selection, but that is not the case. I believe the Lions can contend in what is a pretty weak NFC in 2023, and they absolutely have to have a kicker they can trust. The question is, will Moody still be around in Round 6? I am not sure he lasts past Round 5.
Bottom Line: It's Almost Time!
We are just three days away from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, and it is going to be extremely interesting to see which direction the Lions decide to go. Many have said that this is the most unpredictable draft in a long time, and after spending a VERY LONG time on this mock draft, I would agree with that notion. With that being said, if the Lions walk around with this draft haul, we should all be celebrating.Visit Gear Up Detroit for more hot swag