Detroit Lions Draft Grade
The Detroit Lions already had one of the most exciting rosters to watch next season. After watching their draft this year, I am even more excited to watch them. With that being said, let me explain why I am such a big fan of their draft.
Round 1: No. 12 (via ARI) – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Out of all the picks in the first round, this is one of my favorites. Gibbs is an elite athlete who has an amazing blend of speed and elusiveness. He uses this to make defenders miss in open space and rack up extra yards. Additionally, he has good vision to find lanes in the offensive line and is able to get creative with the ball if the play breaks down. Gibbs also has a strong presence in the passing game when acting as a safety valve for his QB. So, he will be a perfect weapon for Goff and any other future QB. However, I believe that they reached with this pick, and that is why the grade is not an A.
Round 1: No. 18 – Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa Hawkeyes
Here we are with another pick where I believe they reached to get their guy. However, if they were going to reach to get a LB, Campbell is the best one to do so. For his size, he is an incredible athlete that can make plays in coverage and when blitzing. He is also an experienced player who is a natural leader and will be able to step in on day one and make a difference. The only thing he needs to work on improving is his vision in zone coverage. However, I have no reason not to give this pick the same grade as the Gibbs pick.
Round 2: No. 34 (via ARI) – Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa Hawkeyes
When I saw Sam LaPorta working out with fellow former Iowa Hawkeyes TEs George Kittle and T.J. Hockenson, I had a feeling he would go to the Lions. He has a very similar play style to Kittle and Hockenson in the fact that they are all effective blockers and route runners. He does a good job of finding seams in zone coverage and sitting there for an easy reception. Then, he is good at squaring up his hips to rack up extra yards after the catch. LaPorta will step in on day one and be one of Goff’s favorite weapons.
Round 2: No. 45 (via GB) – Brian Branch, DB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Since they drafted two Iowa Hawkeyes already, I guess it is only fair that they add another Alabama player to the team. However, with this pick, they are getting the first player that they drafted that I had a first-round grade on. Branch is a versatile defensive back that can play both corner and safety. In his rookie season, he will likely step in as a nickel corner and occasionally slide back to the strong safety position. He is gifted in both man and zone coverage due to his amazing athleticism and football IQ.
Round 3: No. 68 (via DEN) – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee Volunteers
Although Jared Goff had a solid 2022 season, he is coming toward the end of his career. Personally, I am a bigger fan of Hendon Hooker than I am of Will Levis. He is a dual-threat QB who can complete short-intermediate passes or take off down the field to move the chains. Hooker also has good poise to stay calm in the pocket and make plays. However, he does need to work on his footwork in the pocket and escape the pocket when it collapses. But, I do see him eventually being the next-star QB for the Detroit Lions.
Round 3: No. 96 (via ARI) – Brodric Martin, DT, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Brodric Martin is a big-bodied defensive tackle that can line up as a nose tackle and 3-technique. He stands at 6’5″ and weighs 337 lbs. and plays with a lot of power and aggression. His size allows him to eat up blocks and take on double teams. Although this takes him out of plays, it will leave lanes open for his teammates to make plays. At the point of attack, he delivers a strong punch that knocks blockers back. He will act as a solid backup for a few years with the potential to slide up to the starting spot. In order to do so, he will need to work on his mobility.
Round 5: No. 152 – Colby Sorsdal, OT, William & Mary Tribe
Out of all the available offensive linemen at the time of this pick, Sorsdal is the one that I am least knowledgeable on. However, I know enough to give you a solid overview of how he plays. To start, he is an experienced player who started over 45 games for the Tribe. Given his 6’6″ frame, he shows solid lateral agility to stay with speed rushers when they run the arc. However, he needs to work on keeping his pad level low before I see him getting significant snaps. Overall, they got a raw talent with this pick who has room to grow. Additionally, since he played for a small school, I am unsure of how productive he will be in the NFL.
Round 7: No. 219 (via PHI) – Antoine Green, WR, North Carolina Tar Heels
Personally, I am a huge fan of this pick because Antoine Green is an incredible athlete who has a track and field background. He uses this background to not only shake defenders during his route but to also go up and high-point the ball. Most of the time, if the ball is thrown outside of his frame, he is able to make the catch due to his body control and ability to manipulate his body in the air. The only major thing that he needs to improve is his ability to change direction quickly.
Final Thoughts on Detroit Lions Draft
As I mentioned earlier, the Lions added a lot of great young talent to their already exciting roster. On the offensive side of the ball, they added a versatile running back in Jahmyr Gibbs. They also drafted a reliable tight end in Sam LaPorta who has the potential to develop into a player like Kittle or Hockenson. Finally, they added their future star QB in Hendon Hooker as well as a sleeper at the wide receiver position. On the defensive side of the ball, they added two or potentially three stars to their defense in Campbell, Branch, and Martin.
Overall Draft Grade: B+
Lions 2023 Draft Grade Analyst – Matthew Lewis