National media grades Detroit Lions 1st Round picks

The Detroit Lions made two surprising picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick and linebacker Jack Campbell with the 18th overall pick. Despite both players filling an immediate need for the team, many analysts were critical of the picks and believed that the Lions missed out on better players at more important positions. The immediate grades from national analysts were not favorable towards the Lions, with many questioning Brad Holmes‘ decision-making.

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Why it Matters

The Detroit Lions' 2023 NFL Draft first-round picks are receiving poor grades from national analysts, sparking questions about the team's draft strategy.

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Key Points

  • The Detroit Lions selected running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick and linebacker Jack Campbell with the 18th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
  • The picks were criticized by many national analysts who believed that the Lions missed out on better players at more important positions.
  • The immediate grades given to the Detroit Lions were not favorable, raising questions about the team's draft strategy and decision-making.

National media grades Detroit Lions 1st Round picks

Here is a sampling of some of the national grades for the Detroit Lions when it comes to their first-round picks.

Jahmyr Gibbs

The Athletic: F

For three years, Detroit general manager Brad Holmes could do no wrong. In this case, he reached on the draft’s second running back. The No. 22 player on Dane Brugler’s big board, Gibbs was likely to be there at No. 18 when the Lions picked again. Considering Detroit ranked last in total defense and yards per play, it was an odd move. Even if the Lions stood pat at No. 6, they could have had Bijan Robinson.

Yahoo Sports F

Are the Lions OK? Gibbs is a huge surprise this early in the draft and absolutely no one had him going in this range. Let's not get carried away, Gibbs is a solid player, but he was ranked 42nd on the Yahoo Sports big board and only 25th on the consensus big board at Pro Football Network. Major reach here for a running back who won't even be the bell cow for this team considering it also signed David Montgomery to a three-year deal. 

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The Ringer: C+

Well, this is certainly a surprise! Despite signing David Montgomery in free agency to pair with incumbent playmaker D’Andre Swift, the Lions add another running back. Gibbs brings rare juice as a runner and should help create explosive plays for Detroit, but I don’t love the value here—especially for an undersized runner who doesn’t project as a volume-heavy back. Gibbs will need to be a true difference-maker in the passing game to live up to this cost.


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Yes, he’s an air back. Yes, he can do a lot of things. But, again, why take him here when there is a guy like corner Christian Gonzalez on the board? He’s good but he’s a back. At least it wasn’t a top-10 pick.

Jack Campbell

The Athletic: B

Campbell (6-4 ½, 249) has a long frame and is disruptive in zone pass coverage. He’s fast enough to play man, but he’s better in zone. His quickness is underrated, and he’s a fierce hitter. He won the William V. Campbell Trophy as college football’s top academic football player and the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. If a team wants a culture changer or enhancer, Campbell will become a team captain by year two.

Yahoo Sports: F

The Lions could have had Campbell potentially two rounds later than this. Pretty crazy. Campbell is a quality athlete and may turn out to be a solid starter, but this is a major reach.

The Ringer: D

Campbell fills a need, but this feels like a big reach for the Lions, who grab my 73rd-ranked player at no 18. The former Iowa standout racks up stats as a throw-back, downhill linebacker—but he’s stiff when moving in reverse and could be a liability in man-to-man coverage. Paired with the selection of running back Jahmyr Gibbs at no. 12, Detroit’s decision to draft two non-premium positions with their two first-round picks could come back to haunt them.


I love this pick for the Lions. This kid will be special. He is big, can run and will improve as a cover player as he gets acclimated to the NFL game. He’s one of my favorite players in this draft.

Bottom Line – Detroit Lions take a risk on draft day

When it comes down to it, the success of the Detroit Lions' first-round draft haul will not be determined by the grades given by a bunch of national analysts who don't know nearly as much about building a roster as Brad Holmes does. With that being said, the Lions took a risk by selecting players who may not have been the most popular choices. Only time will tell if the picks were the right ones, but it is clear that the Lions' draft strategy is being closely watched and analyzed. Ultimately, the success of the team will depend on the performance of these players and the decisions made by the team's front office. Do you still trust Brad Holmes with all of your heart, or do last night's selections give you doubts?

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