In his brand new mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper goes aggressive with the Detroit Lions picks.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper is out with his latest 2023 mock draft (subscription required), Version 3.0 so to speak, after the first wave of free agency as team needs have been altered some. The Detroit Lions have always had multiple potential directions to go with their two first-round picks, and nothing has really changed on that front even with the aggressiveness to add defensive backs in free agency.
At No. 6 overall, along the line of the broad trend in recent mock drafts, Kiper has the Lions stopping the fall of Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Here’s what Kiper wrote, via SI.com.
"Did you watch this defense last season? It ranked bottom of the league in most statistical categories, including yards per play allowed (6.2). The Lions have to keep trying to fix it.The easiest way to do that? Take Carter, who has had a troubled few months. Last week, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing for his alleged role in a Jan. 15 car wreck that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. He also showed up at his pro day nine pounds heavier than he was at the NFL combine, and he was unable to finish the position drills.”"
Mel Kiper goes aggressive with Detroit Lions picks in his new mock
Carter has definitely had a rough run lately. He had to leave the scouting combine to address the legal charges Kiper mentioned, and likely owing to not working out like he should be he did not do well at Georgia’s Pro Day. But he is probably not falling out of the top-10, and the Lions can use some interior defensive line help.
At No. 18, Kiper has the Lions taking Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer.
Here’s Kiper, again via SI.
"They traded away T.J. Hockenson last fall and used a committee approach to the tight end position, with Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra each catching at least 11 passes. All three are under contract for 2023, but shouldn’t Detroit try to upgrade?”Mayer is the most complete tight end in this class,” Kiper writes. “He’s physical as a run-blocker, and he can run seam routes and get open for quarterback Jared Goff. He caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine touchdowns last season and had 180 catches in his college career. He could be the lead guy in Detroit.”"
I’m on board with the Lions’ need to upgrade their talent level at tight end. It’s just hard to see them using a first-round pick on one, even now after the first week or so of free agency. A segment of Lions fans has certainly had its fill of first-round tight ends too (Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, T.J. Hockenson).
The Lions’ needs have definitely shifted with a notable start to free agency. Kiper decided to go aggressive with Detroit’s picks in his fresh mock after the first week of signings.