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The Detroit Lions went into the 2023 NFL Draft with a total of nine picks, but after a million trades by Brad Holmes, they ended up making eight selections. Of those eight selections, five came on the offensive side of the ball, while the other three were defensive players. With the draft being concluded, the national media has handed out their final draft grades for the Lions.
- The Lions selected a total of eight players in the 2023 Draft
- The Lions took five offensive players and three defensive players
- The National media has handed out their final draft grades
National Media grades Detroit Lions 2023 NFL Draft Class
Here is a sampling of what some of the national media had to say about the Detroit Lions Lions Class of 2023.
“The Lions have made several big “reaches” already in this draft based on PFF and consensus big boards, but they get one of the better values here with Branch. He’s the best nickel prospect in this draft class and one of the best tackling defensive backs since PFF began tracking college football in 2014 (2% missed tackle rate).”
“(Antoine)Green brings size at 6-foot-2 and earned a 75.1 receiving grade in 2022 with 2.34 yards per route run. Detroit is smart to continue to add depth at receiver, and Green’s 18.1-yard average depth of target could make him a good student for veteran Marvin Jones Jr. to take under his wing as the downfield contested catch option in Detroit.”
“They flipped the script in Rounds 2 and 3, however, and I thought they had a really nice Friday. Tight end Sam LaPorta (34) is going to help as a pass-catcher as a rookie, while Brian Branch (45) is my top-ranked safety. He can cover like a cornerback, and he’s not afraid to tackle. I would have been harsher on a team taking quarterback Hendon Hooker (68) in Round 1, but Detroit was able to land him at the top of Round 3.”
“Really mixed bag. Hard not to view LB Jack Campbell as anything but a reach, even if GM Brad Holmes might have been right to scoop up fellow first-round RB Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 given the general lack of depth in this draft. At No. 34, worth wondering if Sam LaPorta was the optimal tight end to take, though DB Brian Branch was a slam dunk 11 spots later.”
“There’s a tendency to knock the Lions for Brad Holmes, their GM, getting a little aggressive and perhaps over-drafting Gibbs and Campbell a little in the first round. But Detroit is in “win big” now mode and those players will have massive immediate impact, much like Aidan Hutchinson. LaPorta and Branch also were great values to fill two more voids. Getting Hooker to stash behind Jared Goff was gravy. Detroit is a lot more than strong NFC North favorite in 2023.”
“If you don’t look at where each prospect was taken, the draft in totality was solid. First pick Jahmyr Gibbs was a head scratcher until the team traded away D’Andre Swift on Saturday. The team also filled needs in the secondary and tight end with players who should contribute right away, especially Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta.”
“The Lions surprised everyone when they reached pretty dramatically for non-premium positions in Round 1, taking Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at no. 12 and Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell at no. 18. They did redeem themselves pretty thoroughly over the final two days, though, adding a playmaking, YAC-creating tight end in Iowa’s Sam LaPorta, a highly instinctive defensive back in Alabama’s Brian Branch, and a developmental backup quarterback in Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker.”
Bottom Line: Detroit Lions fare well in NFL Draft
Though quite a few people were bashing Lions GM Brad Holmes after he picked a running back at No. 12 and a linebacker at No. 18, after looking at the Lions Class of 2023 as a whole, many of the national media members believe the draft was a success for Detroit. The Bottom line for me is that the Lions are certainly better (on paper) today than they were on Thursday afternoon, and that is a good thing.