Former Kansas State QB Headlines Lions’ 2023 UDFA Signings

Adrian Martinez

Getty Adrian Martinez throws a pass in 2022 for Kansas State.

The Detroit Lions have finished off their 2023 NFL draft class, and as usual, the next step for the team is to see what undrafted free agents they can bring into the fold for next season.

In the past and as recently as 2021, the Lions have had success with undrafted free agents cracking the roster. Cornerback Jerry Jacobs as well as tight end Brock Wright are two of the team’s top success stories, so it would not be a stretch to see another few players from this group crack the roster or multiple players from this group crack the team’s practice squad for 2023.

What does the team’s undrafted class look like this year? Here’s a look at more about some of the names that are beginning to surface. Check back as the list gets updated further.

  • Baylor OT Connor Galvin
    The Lions’ first reported undrafted free agency signing is Baylor offensive tackle Connor Galvin. According to Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network, the Lions were adding Galvin to the mix after the draft.

    Galvin is said to be a developmental swing tackle as he makes his transition to the NFL. The former Bears lineman is 6’7″ and 302 pounds, and was a former First-Team All-Big 12 player in 2021, starting in all 13 games. He was also a Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year

  • Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez
    The Lions add to the competition in the quarterback room with the selection of Martinez according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Martinez carved out a solid career with both Kansas State and Nebraska, posting 9,752 yards and 51 passing scores. He also rushed for 2,928 yards and 45 touchdowns.
  • Isaac Darkangelo, Illinois LB
    Detroit adds some depth at linebacker with the signing of Isaac Darkangelo, first reported by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Darkangelo put up 78 total tackles, seven tackles for-loss, one fumble recovery and one sack while playing with Illinois in the Big Ten. He will join a defense that is anchored by his former teammate Kerby Joseph at safety.
  • Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota RB
    Detroit revamped their ground game with the selection of Jahmyr Gibbs as well as the trade of D’Andre Swift, and Mohamed Ibrahim gives the team another weapon to work with. According to Jordan Schultz of Score, Ibrahim is signing with the Lions, putting up 4,668 yards and 51 scores on the ground. He was a 2022 All-American with the Golden Gophers
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  • Starling Thomas V, UAB CB
    The Lions didn’t draft a cornerback, but added some major length and firepower to their secondary with the signing of Starling Thomas IV. News of Thomas signing in Detroit was broken by Jordan Schultz of Score. Thomas put up 107 tackles, three interceptions, 28 passes defended and two fumble recoveries in his UAB career. He’s a long body with 6’3″ height to rely on.
  • Chase Cota, Oregon WR
    Detroit adds another weapon at wideout with the signing of Chase Cota, an Oregon pass catcher. The Lions were revealed to be signing Cota by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. In his career with the Ducks, Cota put up 1,380 yards and nine touchdowns between UCLA and Oregon.
  • Brad Cecil, USF C
    Detroit adds another interior lineman by signing Brad Cecil according to Rachel Hopmayer of Spectrum News Buffalo. Cecil started all 12 games for USF in 2022, and was an honorable mention All-AAC team honoree.
  • Zach Morton, Akron DE
    The Lions added a pass rusher to the mix in the form of Morton from Akron. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 Houston revealed the news of this signing. Morton put up 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions for the Zips.
  • Keytaon Thompson, Virginia WR/QB
    Detroit added a dynamic big-bodied playmaker when they signed Keytaon Thompson to the roster from Virginia. In college, Thompson caught 1,675 yards and five touchdowns as a wideout, but also played quarterback, firing 18 touchdowns. He transferred from Mississippi State.
  • Ryan Swoboda, UCF OL
    Yet another developmental lineman was added to the Lions from Florida with the addition of Ryan Swoboda. After transferring from Virginia, Swoboda started 11 games for the Knights at tackle in 2022.
  • Trevor Nowaske, SVSU LB
    Detroit added another local competitor to the linebacker room when they signed Trevor Nowaske according to Eric Schlitt from Pride of Detroit. Nowaske was a productive player for Saginaw Valley in 2021, posting 84 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss. He’ll add some competition to a spot on defense that needed a bit of help.
  • Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame S
    The very productive Brandon Joseph ended up signing with the Lions according to Klutch Sports, and could be a big find for Detroit in the secondary given the career he had with the Fighting Irish. He put up 159 tackles and 10 interceptions and was a 2020 Consensus All-American between stops with Notre Dame and Northwestern.

  • Breaking Down Lions’ 2023 UDFA Class

    The Lions have had a strong draft class for the third straight year under Brad Holmes, but the team has already done a decent job with some of these post-draft additions reported to be coming into the fold.

    Brad Holmes has found some values before post-draft, and perhaps the team could find another intriguing lineman fit in Galvin, a player that has shown he can move folks up front before. If Galvin comes into the mix, he could be a developmental tackle to serve as a solid depth piece for the team. Martinez is likely a depth piece at quarterback, but he could be a good practice squad candidate for the team.

    Perhaps the most important piece is Ibrahim, a solid running back from Minnesota. He can add some punch to a backfield that has plenty of talent already. He’s a strong back that will command attention in between the tackles. Thomas adds some depth at cornerback, and could make the team due to size, and Joseph could be a find at safety with good career ball production.

    Lions 2023 NFL Draft Recap

    Coming into this year’s draft, the Lions had the potential to do damage, because the team started with four picks in the first two rounds of the draft, and had 10 selections overall.

    On the first day of the draft, the Lions added explosive Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th pick after a trade down as well as Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. In the immediate aftermath, the team was questioned for the moves relative to where the players were ranked, but Holmes defended the selections effectively.

    During day two, the Lions quickly struck with pick 34, adding gritty Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta, a player that many see as one of the next top tight ends in the league. Detroit would trade up modestly from pick 48 to 45 for Brian Branch, a top defensive back with strong character. In the third-round, Detroit traded back from pick 55 and then pick 63 to 68. When there, they nabbed Hendon Hooker

    By day three, the Lions didn’t have many picks to work with, but they did add a developmental lineman in Colby Sorsdal in the fifth-round at pick 152. The team closed down the draft by nabbing wideout Antoine Green at pick 219.

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