With defense sure to be the focus for the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft, Pro Football Focus has tabbed early and late-round fits.
Few if any NFL teams had the dichotomy the Detroit Lions did during the 2022 season, with a top-tier offense and one of the worst defenses in the league. The defense was better over the final 10 contests, in line with the team winning eight of those games. But on the whole for the season, Aaron Glenn’s unit was not good.
With four of the top-60 pick in April’s draft, the Lions are in good position to add more young talent. Two, three or even all four of said picks could be defensive players and no one would take issue.
Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus recently went through all 32 NFL teams and named early and late-round fits for each in the 2023 draft.
PFF tabs easy early and late-round draft fits for the Detroit Lions
As the early fit for the Lions, Sikkema has Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon.
Witherspoon has become a chalky pick for the Lions in mock drafts, at No. 6 overall in particular. He’s gaining buzz as the best cornerback in a deep draft class at the position, and possibly the first cornerback taken, with game tape that shows skills and tenacity in equal measure. He seems like a Dan Campbell-type.
The late-round fit from Sikkema for the Lions is Alabama defensive tackle Byron Young.
Young is a projected late-Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick. As the Lions eye interior defensive line depth, he comes to the NFL with plenty of college experience. He also had improved production over his last two seasons for the Crimson Tide, with 81 total tackles,13 tackles for loss and six sacks over that span.
The Lions should not discriminate when it comes to adding talent to their defense this offseason. How free agency goes will have a say in the draft plan and priorities, but a cornerback early and a defensive tackle later could be firmly in play come late-April.