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As the Detroit Lions just kept on winning during the final ten games of the 2022 regular season (they won eight of their last ten games), their draft slot continued to drop and when all was said and done, they ended up with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But, thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade following the 2020 season, the Lions will also have the No. 6 overall pick via the Los Angeles Rams, who struggled greatly after winning the Super Bowl following the 2021 season. With that being said, in the latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft released by Luke Easterling of Draft Wire, the Lions trade down and, in my opinion, they strike gold.
Why it Matters for Detroit Lions
When you look at the top of the NFL Draft order, there are a couple of defensive players who would look amazing in a Lions uniform. Those players are EDGE Will Anderson out of Alabama and DL Jalen Carter out of Georgia. The problem is that I just cannot see either of those players falling to the Lions at No. 6. If either of them falls, Brad Holmes should draft them immediately. But, if Anderson and Carter are both off the board, the Lions' best bet may be to trade down. That is exactly what they do in this particular 2023 NFL Mock Draft.
Lions trade No. 6 pick to Carolina Panthers in 2023 NFL Mock Draft
In Easterling's latest 3-round mock draft, he has the Lions trading the No. 6 pick to the Panthers.
“If the Lions don’t value the remaining quarterback prospects as potential successors to Jared Goff, don’t be surprised if they’re willing to move down here. The Panthers might be willing to jump ahead of the Raiders (giving up one of their two second-rounders) for the quarterback of their choice.”
- Lions Get: No. 9 overall pick and No. 61 overall pick
- Panthers Get: No. 6 overall pick
Detroit Lions make six of Top 81 picks
Following this hypothetical trade, the Lions would have six of the top 81 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Here are the six picks Easterling has the Lions making, along with his rationale for the two first-round picks.
9. Lions (from CAR)* | Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
The perfect scenario for the Lions, who drop pick a few slots, and still land the top cornerback in this year’s loaded class. Witherspoon is polished technician with all the physical and mental traits to quickly become a shutdown artist at the next level.
Editor's Note: I cannot tell you how excited I would be if the Lions were to trade down, get an additional second-round pick, and then still get Devon Witherspoon, who I believe is the best CB in the class.
18. Lions | Texas RB Bijan Robinson
Sometimes, you just have to throw needs out the window and draft the best available player on the board. The Lions have way bigger needs elsewhere, but the value just isn’t there at any of them. D’Andre Swift has struggled to stay healthy, Jamaal Williams is a free agent, and Robinson is a top-five talent in this class.
Editor's Note: I HATE taking a running back in the first round, but if Robinson is still on the board, and Brad Holmes does not see another player worth taking at 18, they may want to roll the dice on the best RB in the class.
48. Lions | North Dakota State OL Cody Mauch
55. Lions (from MIN) | Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton
61. Lions (from SF via CAR)* | South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft
81. Lions | Florida State S Jammie Robinson
Bottom Line: Detroit Lions will be able to add a ton of talent in 2023 NFL Draft
The 2023 NFL Draft is going to be a golden opportunity for the Lions to add some talented players to the mix. Even if they do not trade down, they will have two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick (all in the top 81). You can bet Brad Holmes is already salivating at the upcoming opportunity to add to the Lions roster.