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When the Detroit Lions got off to a 1-6 start to the 2022 season, they were on track to land one of the top two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. At that point, there was talk about them landing DT Jalen Carter out of Georgia, who is exactly who they need. But, as we know, they ended up winning eight of their final 10 games to finish with a 9-8 overall record, which, in turn, earned them the No. 18 overall pick in the upcoming draft. That being said, Detroit will also have the No. 6 overall pick (via Los Angeles Rams) in the opening round, so they still have a shot to land a top player, including Carter, if a few trades go down.
How the Lions can land Jalen Carter
As it stands, the current Top 10 picks are as follows:
- 1. Bears
- 2. Texans
- 3. Cardinals
- 4. Colts
- 5. Seahawks
- 6. Lions
- 7. Raiders
- 8. Falcons
- 9. Panthers
- 10. Eagles
If the current order holds, my guess is that Carter will be off the board at No. 1 to the Bears, No. 3 to the Cardinals, or No. 5 to the Seahawks.
That being said, during a recent 2023 NFL Mock Draft released on Draft Wire, Natalie Miller actually had Carter sliding to the Lions at No. 6, without any trades going down. I don't see that happening, but it's possible.
In my opinion, for Detroit to have a shot at Carter, they will need a couple of trades to take place. Specifically, they will need a couple of trades into the Top 5.
Of the teams picking in the Top 10, the Texans, Colts, Raiders, Falcons, and Panthers all need a quarterback. But, most believe that only three QBs (Bryce Young, Will Levis, and C.J. Stroud) will go in the first ten, though some have moved QB Anthony Richardson into their Top 10.
The Texans are likely to say put at No. 2, but teams like the Colts, Raiders, Falcons, and Panthers are all candidates to attempt to move up for a quarterback. If a couple of those teams move up to take a QB, there is a very real chance that three out of the top 5 picks will be a quarterback, and Carter could fall to the Lions at No. 6.
But, even in the scenario of three of the Top 5 teams taking quarterbacks, the Lions would need two teams to pass on Carter.
There is still plenty of time before the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, and we all know how things can change quickly as the weeks go by, but, as it stands, I fully expect a team or two to trade up into the top 5 to take a quarterback. If Detroit is able to land Jalen Carter at No. 6, they should be jumping for joy, just as they did when they selected Penei Sewell in 2021 and Aidan Hutchinson in 2022.