Dane Brugler of The Athletic is out with his first 2023 mock draft, and the Detroit Lions double-up on defense.
Having two first-round picks puts the Detroit Lions in good position for the 2023 NFL Draft. The way things are going, their extra first-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams might wind up being better than their own.
Lions’ fans may not be ready to look to the next draft yet, with the team sitting at 4-7, “in the hunt” for a playoff spot and set to play meaningful games in December. But Dane Brugler of The Athletic is out with his first 2023 mock draft (subscription required) and it’s worth paying some attention to.
The Lions could have two picks in the top half of the first round. There are enough needs on a building roster to just stand pat and take two top-end prospects. But general manager Brad Holmes showed he’s willing to be aggressive with the big move to get wide receiver Jameson Williams in this year’s draft.
Detroit Lions go defensive in mock draft from The Athletic
Here’s who Brugler had the Lions taking, with the No. 3 and No. 13 overall picks respectvely (h/t to Pride of Detroit for the quoted blurb from their own draft watchlist piece).
No. 3: Georgia DT Jalen Carter
On a 2021 Georgia defense that yielded multiple first-round picks, draft analysts regared Carter highly. He has not disappointed this season, though the stat sheet may not perfectly reflect his impact (two sacks, five tackles for loss in 10 games thus far).
"With an explosive first step and an arsenal of pass rush moves, Carter can pretty much go wherever he needs to on the field. Need him to pass rush? No problem. Chase down a running back on a backside screen? He’s got that range. Hold the gap and defeat the block and stop the running back? Yup, he can do that too."
Adding Carter to Alim McNeill on the inside and Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal off the edge would give the Lions one of the best young defensive lines in the league.
No. 13: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
Porter has NFL bloodlines, as the son of former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. “Jr.” is big (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), fast, physical, and a slam-dunk first-round pick come April. His skill set seems like a great match for what Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn wants in his cornerbacks.
Jeff Okudah has emerged this season as the Lions’ top corner, but the other cornerback spots have been a problem. If Porter is on the board after the top-10, which doesn’t feel like a given, the Lions will be hoping he falls a few pick to them if their own pick stays in this range.