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We are neck-deep in free agency, which means the 2023 NFL Draft will be here before we know it. As it stands, our Detroit Lions hold the No. 6 and No. 18 overall picks in the opening round, and it is going to be extremely interesting to see who they pick in those slots. NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper has released his latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft, and he has the Lions making a pair of controversial picks in the first round. As you are about to see, Kiper has the Lions selecting DT Jalen Carter at No. 6 and TE Michael Mayer at No. 18.

Detroit Lions 2023 NFL Mock Draft Ben Johnson 2.0 Lomas Brown Lions ticket prices Mel Kiper

Key Points

  • The Detroit Lions hold the No. 6 and No. 18 overall picks in the opening round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
  • NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper has the Lions making two controversial picks in the first round by selecting DT Jalen Carter at No. 6 and TE Michael Mayer at No. 18.
  • Kiper’s rationale for selecting Carter is to improve the Lions’ defense, which ranked bottom of the league in most statistical categories, and to complement last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson. Kiper’s rationale for selecting Mayer is to upgrade the Lions’ tight end position, which used a committee approach in 2022, and to provide a reliable target for quarterback Jared Goff.

Mel Kiper has Detroit Lions making 2 controversial picks in 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Here is Kiper’s rationale for the Lions selecting Jalen Carter at No. 6 and Michael Mayer at No. 18.

6. Detroit Lions (via LAR) Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Detroit added veteran corners Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley and versatile defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency, which likely signals it’s going to pass on the top corners with this pick. But did you watch this defense last season? It ranked bottom of the league in most statistical categories, including yards per play allowed (6.2). The Lions have to keep trying to fix it.

The easiest way to do that? Take Carter, who has had a troubled few months. Last week, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing for his alleged role in a Jan. 15 car wreck that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. He also showed up at his pro day nine pounds heavier than he was at the NFL combine, and he was unable to finish the position drills. He’s no longer in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick. Everything I’ve heard from people in the league, however, is he won’t drop too far — he likely still will be a top-10 selection. Carter’s talent is undeniable, and I could see a team such as the Lions taking him here, filling a position of need.

Detroit, which also owns the No. 18 overall selection, drafted Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 overall last year and got 9.5 sacks out of him. Carter would be a nice complement to Hutchinson’s skill set.

18. Detroit Lions Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

I got the Lions help along the defensive line at No. 6, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they double-dipped here with another pick on defense. That unit was that bad last season. Instead, let’s pivot to the other side of the ball. They traded away T.J. Hockenson last fall and used a committee approach to the tight end position, with Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra each catching at least 11 passes. All three are under contract for 2023, but shouldn’t Detroit try to upgrade?

Mayer is the most complete tight end in this class. He’s physical as a run-blocker, and he can run seam routes and get open for quarterback Jared Goff. He caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine touchdowns last season and had 180 catches in his college career. He could be the lead guy in Detroit.

Bottom Line: Lions’ roster would be better with Carter and Mayer but are they the correct picks?

Mel Kiper’s latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft has the Detroit Lions making two controversial picks, with Jalen Carter being selected at No. 6 and Michael Mayer at No. 18. Kiper believes that Carter’s talent is undeniable, despite his recent legal troubles and weight issues. He would fill a position of need for the Lions, who ranked at the bottom of the league in most statistical categories last season. As for Mayer, Kiper thinks he is the most complete tight end in this class and could upgrade the Lions’ committee approach to the position. While the picks may be controversial, they could potentially address two key areas for the Lions.

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W.G. Brady
W.G. Brady
W.G. Brady is a Detroit-based journalist who has been covering the Detroit sports scene for Detroit Sports Nation for several years. He is in his early 30s and has a wealth of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, W.G. has established himself as a respected and knowledgeable journalist known for his in-depth coverage of the teams and athletes in Detroit. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sports, W.G. has become a go-to source for fans and readers looking for the latest news and analysis on the Detroit sports scene. He has a good reputation in the sports community and is respected for his unbiased coverage of sports events. W.G. is known for his ability to uncover hidden stories and provide unique perspectives on the teams and athletes he covers. He has a good understanding of the city of Detroit and its sports culture, which he uses to inform his reporting and analysis. He continues to be a respected journalist in the Detroit sports industry.

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