It’s conference championship game weekend, and time for our first Detroit Lions 2023 mock draft.
By this weekend last season, we had been doing Detroit Lions 2022 mock drafts since about Week 12. Such is life with a team that finished 3-13-1, and a franchise where phrases like “wait ’til next year” or “there’s always next year” have become annual parlance.
But this season, after a 1-6 start, was different. The Lions won eight of their last 10 games, and had a chance to make the playoffs going into Week 18. A winning season for the first time since 2017 still came, and the future is bright into Detroit.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams’ epic, literally historic Super Bowl hangover and the Matthew Stafford trade, the Lions have a top-10 pick in April’s draft that is not via their own ineptitude for once. With the T.J. Hockenson trade at this year’s deadline to credit as well, they have four of the top 60 overall picks.
Using Pro Football Focus’ draft simulator, here is our first 2023 mock draft for the Lions.
Detroit Lions 7-round mock draft: Conference title game week
Wilson was the pick at No. 6 for the Lions in Mel Kiper Jr.’s first 2023 mock, and he’s been the pick at No. 6 for others too. The way the board fell, I took him here.
Wilson transferred from Texas A&M to Texas Tech after one season, and he became a starter for the Red Raiders in 2021. He posted seven sacks in each of the last two seasons, with a total of 27.5 tackles for loss and a career-best 61 total tackles in 2022. This past season, Pro Football Focus credited him with 50 quarterback pressures and a 22.6 percent pass rush win rate (second in the Big 12 in the latter category).
Wilson already has an NFL build (6-foot-6, 275 pounds), and the versatility he showed at Texas Tech (playing on the edge and inside) makes him an easy fit for the Lions’ defensive line.
Cornerback is arguably the Lions’ No. 1 offseason need. Even if they add a veteran via free agency or a trade, drafting one early will surely be on the radar.
Porter Jr. was the best available corner for me to take here at 18, so he became an easy pick. He has NFL skills, size and bloodlines, and he’d be an immediate starter if/when the Lions turnover their cornerback room this offseason.