Re-grading the Detroit Lions 2023 draft one year later

Let's go back and re-grade the Detroit Lions' 2023 draft class nearly one year later.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 4

DB, 2nd Round, Pick No. 45. . Brian Branch. Brian Branch pick grade. A

Branch fell to the second round primarily because he didn't post high-end athletic numbers at the NFL Combine. But anyone who paid attention to the tape knew what he was as a football player, and the Lions moved up a few picks (with the Packers no less) to get him.

Branch stepped in as the Lions' primary slot corner as a rookie, due partially to C.J. Gardner-Johnson being injured and not able to share the role. He finished as PFF's 14th-highest graded corner overall (78.9), with top-notch marks in coverage (77.7) and as a run defender (83.9). He finished fifth on the team in tackles (74), with seven tackles for loss, three interceptions and a team-high 13 pass breakups,

Coming out of a couple games missed with an ankle injury, Branch posted two of his three worst PFF grades of the season in Week 7 and Week 10. If not for those, his season-long mark would have been even better. Head coach Dan Campbell has subsequently suggested a little to much was put on his plate, and to that end he had a stellar PFF coverage grade of 83.7 from Week 15 through the playoffs.

Branch is eyeing ways he can improve in his second season. Refining those little things could make this an A+ grade in another year.

INC. QB, 3rd Round, Pick No. 68. . Hendon Hooker. Hendon Hooker pick grade

A "redshirt" rookie year for Hooker came to fruition. Working his way back from a torn ACL in his final college season, he was put on the active roster so he could keep practicing. From there, through the rest of the season, he served as the emergency third quarterback for the Lions.

Hooker's first snap in an NFL game will come in the 2024 preseason. So the grade of drafting him right now is an easy incomplete.