Opinion: What the Lions Can Do in the 2023 NFL Draft?

The Detroit Lions surprised the Kansas City Chiefs on the opening night of the NFL season at Arrowhead Stadium, winning 21-20. Since the victory, fans across the league have mixed opinions on how far the Lions can go moving forward (Photo by Cynthia Ramirez).

After receiving a nomination for the short documentary, “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions,” the Lions have gained much attraction under new Head Coach Dan Campbell and what seems to be a completely new identity since his arrival.

The Lions finished the 2022 season with a shocking 9-8 record, the first year going over .500 since 2017 and barely finishing outside the playoff cut. With almost running Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay, dominating a slow-rebuilding Chicago Bears team and competing against the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit looks to have an opportunity to control their own destiny in 2023 in the NFC North Division.

When was the last time a Lions fan could say that?

Exactly. With the 2023 NFL Draft just around the corner later this month, the Lions have the chance to make some noise with an extra first-round pick courtesy of the Matthew Stafford trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Here is the complete list of picks the Lions possess this year:

  • No. 6 (1st round)
  • No. 18 (1st round)
  • No. 48 (2nd round)
  • No. 55 (2nd round)
  • No. 81 (3rd round)
  • No. 152 (5th round)
  • No. 159 (5th round)
  • No. 183 (6th round)
  • No. 194 (6th round)

Obviously, there aren’t many teams, if there are any at all, that have a better position going into the draft, than the Lions. Here are a few key routes that the Lions can legitimately go toward in the first round.


Option #1: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Carter has been a favorite for the Lions to land in these past few months. A scary thing to look at though is his character habits throughout the offseason which can potentially damage his reputation as a player.

Just a short while ago, Carter was issued an arrest warrant in the state of Georgia for reckless driving related to a car accident. Then, he walked into the NFL Combine showing that he gained weight, resulting in him not competing in some of the physical drills.

Despite this, Carter is still seen as the top pick for the Lions in this upcoming draft. If he’s in the right state of mind, then he is obviously the best defensive player in the draft that can land in Detroit.

It’s a roll of the dice for the Lions. It will be interesting to see if they will gamble.


Option #2: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Experts agree: Witherspoon has the tools to be a game-changer in this league. He’s a perfect cornerback with the Campbell competitiveness, tight coverage and sometimes scrappy physicality.

The Lions passing defense was ranked the third-worse in 2022, and adding someone on the line won’t really do too much long-term if the opposing quarterback can flip the ball to the receiver in a few quick seconds.

Adding the best cornerback in the draft to your team could quickly allow the Lions to ascend to a different level. Witherspoon can become the elite defender that recently traded Jeff Okudah was supposed to become, this time with the sixth pick instead of a third.


Option #3: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Detroit has made some recent noise with their eyes being glued to this man out of Texas Tech. Wilson brings the versatility that a developing defensive line would need. He has the athleticism and potential to grow into a very dangerous defender that can change the game instantly.

How scary would it be to throw him in at the same time as Aidan Hutchinson? That’s something the front office needs to think about as well.


Option #4: Trade From Where They’re At

This is an unlikely situation, but it is an option. We don’t necessarily know what’s being talked about behind closed doors with General Manager Brad Holmes. 

Is Goff someone they don’t see leading the offense in the years to come? Don’t be necessarily shocked if the Lions attempt to trade up for someone with the caliber of CJ Stroud from Ohio State. It may not be the smartest move, but it’s something that can be considered.


The Gist:

Excitement is at an all-time high for Lions fans heading into next season. Having two first-round picks puts the organization in a position that can make themselves NFC contenders if they can make the right decision. 

Wow, who would’ve thought that?

About Gabriel Peraino 17 Articles
Gabriel Peraino is a sophomore from Almont, Michigan, majoring in Sports Communication. Along with writing, competing on the men's tennis team, and tossing some cornhole every now and then, Gabe loves watching all Detroit sports and Michigan Wolverine football. Contact Gabe via email at GP11@albion.edu.

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