5 best linebacker fits for Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trenton Simpson, Detroit Lions, 2023 NFL Draft
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5. Trenton Simpson, Clemson

Simpson is a possible first-round pick, which drops him to this spot on this list for the Lions. But some mock drafts have given him to them with one of their two second-round picks. He’s even be tabbed to them at No. 18 a time or two recently.

Simpson is an automatic coverage upgrade at linebacker for Detroit.

In his career at Clemson, he allowed just 406 receiving yards across 612 coverage snaps. He’s played all over the field–in the slot, across the box, back deep and even a couple of snaps out wide. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder had 72 total tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season. In 2021, he had 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. So he is not just a “coverage guy”, he’s an all-around talent.

Simpson also showed he’s an elite athlete at the Combine, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash along with a 40.5-inch vertical.

If Simpson falls into the second round, at least what feels most likely if they’re going to take him, he could land with the Lions.