As the calendar turns to April, thoughts of the NFL draft drift back into mind, especially for Detroit Lions fans.
After two solid seasons of work in 2021 and 2022, what will Brad Holmes do for an encore in 2023? The prospects of that seem very exciting for fans, many of whom are clamoring to see more impact players added to the roster.
Indeed, the Lions have a major opportunity this coming season, but how vital is the impending draft for them? According to a recent analysis, the answer could be quite important.
NFL.com analyst Eric Edholm took a closer look at picking out 10 teams that must ace the upcoming draft for various reasons. The Lions placed on the list, and were the fourth team listed.
As Edholm explained, the team needs help on defense, and perhaps some additions on the skill positions as well. In addition to that, a quarterback could be firmly considered by the franchise.
“They could use some more help on defense, even after free agency additions. They probably need a tight end, a receiver, an offensive lineman and maybe a running back. Other spots also could use patching. Each one of their eight selections still matters.
Yet the biggest mystery is at quarterback. Might they consider using a higher pick on one? That’s the toughest part, I surmise: knowing when to make a move for the right quarterback. There might be a way to find Goff’s potential successor outside of Round 1,” Edholm said in the piece.
So why is the draft so vital for Detroit? Not because the team is in a desperate spot, but rather operating from a spot of strength. With eight picks, if the Lions can hit more home runs, their franchise arc may change completely.
“If the Lions can nail this draft, they might truly be moving to a place this franchise hasn’t been in a long, long time,” Edholm wrote.
Edholm is right in that this draft does feel like a swing draft for Detroit. The Lions could use it to get even better at some key positions where they are already fairly solid. If that happens, the team could cement their status as playoff and potentially even Super Bowl contenders in the near future for some time.
While many might not consider the Lions a team facing any pressure, it’s true that this draft could be looked at as a tipping point for the franchise if handled appropriately.
Updated Lions’ 2023 Draft Needs
No matter how many needs have been checked off, the team has plenty of opportunities the 2023 draft. Most will figure to be on the defensive side of the football given how poorly the team has played this year in that spot.
On the back end, the Lions could use big help at cornerback since they have struggled with depth there. Detroit did add three high-level starters in Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but a young building block could help. Now, the team could use another linebacker and perhaps a few more defensive lineman to change the narrative in the trenches.
Offensively, the Lions feel primed to perhaps add a young quarterback to develop behind Jared Goff. The Lions are seemingly loaded at the skill positions, but could decide on a new wideout or tight end as well. Depth along the offensive line could be important for the team as well given injuries happen in the trenches.
Detroit will have plenty of options this year, and that should make them one of the more dynamic teams to remember this coming April.
Lions’ 2023 Draft Selections
In terms of capitol, the Lions will have more than enough wiggle room with which to work in order to hit another home run during the 2023 NFL draft.
Last year, the Lions had a similar number of selections, with eight in the 2022 draft in total. The work they did with those picks was significant, and managed to land them one of the higher rated classes of last season.
This year, the Lions will once again have eight picks to work with, but an important caveat to remember is the fact the team will have four of those selections coming within the first two rounds of the draft. Detroit will select at picks six, 18, 48 and 55. That’s plenty of ability to impact the future of their team in a dramatic way early on.
After that early flurry, the Lions maintain pick 81 in the third-round, 152 in the fifth-round, 183 in the sixth-round and 194 also in the sixth-round. There’s a chance for the Lions to either add or subtract from this total with trades over the weekend.
Add it up and the Lions seem like a team that have plenty of opportunity to do something fantastic this year. They might even have a tiny bit of pressure to get it done.