Top 5 newcomers for the Detroit Lions in 2023

With a young roster and a strong rookie class, here are the top five newcomers for the Detroit Lions this season.

/ Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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3. DB Brian Branch

Branch inexplicably fell to the Lions in the second round of the 2023 draft, and they traded up three spots to go get him. Actually it is explainable, his fall was based on not having imposing size or track-and-field star-like measurables at the NFL Combine.

But you don't play for Nick Saban at Alabama unless you can play football, and Branch was used all over the field in Saban's Crimson Tide defense. His numbers in college showed his proficiency and versatility, and that has translated immediately to the NFL.

Branch had a huge pick-six in the season-opening win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and all that's really stopped him since is an ankle injury that cost him two games (Week 5 and Week 6). The numbers and splashy, big impact plays haven't aways come in droves, but he has 73 total tackles (fifth on the team) this season, with seven tackles for loss (tied for second on the team), a team-high 12 pass breakups, a forced fumble and three interceptions while allowing just an 83.6 passer rating in his coverage.

Branch has legitimately been one of the best slot corners in the league, and without him the Lions' secondary would look even worse than it has at times this season.

Branch would be higher on a list of 2023 newcomers for many teams, and maybe No.1 for a good number of them. But the competition on that front is heavy in Detroit this year, to say the least.