Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Detroit Lions 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 5.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our Detroit Lions Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Detroit Lions from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Lions: - Daniel Jeremiah (2/21)

6. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Aidan Hutchinson was a home run pick last year, and fellow rookie James Houston IV was very productive in limited playing time. Murphy would give the Lions three outstanding young edge rushers.

18. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

The Lions have the perfect situation for Richardson as he enters the league. He can sit behind Jared Goff for at least a year and then provide the rewards that come from building a team around a quarterback playing on his rookie contract.

USA Today - Nate Davis (2/20)

6. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

As satisfied as they seem with QB Jared Goff, this might be the Lions' last best chance to take a young quarterback knowing Goff's contract only runs two more seasons. But barring that, Detroit has to alter what was statistically the league's worst defense in 2022. As disappointing as Jeff Okudah and these corners have generally been, Witherspoon makes perfect sense — and his willingness to tackle and mix it up behind the line of scrimmage while taking on runners seem to be a good fit for a Dan Campbell-coached team.

18. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Another asset for Detroit's defense. The productive All-ACC edge man had 18½ sacks and 36 TFLs in three seasons with the Tigers and would make a nice bookend with DE Aidan Hutchinson.

CBS Sports - Ryan Wilson (2/20)

6. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter is the prototypical big, physical cornerback who looks like he belongs in the NFL. He can sometimes get a little too handsy downfield, but he checks many of the boxes of what team's look for when drafting DBs. Is this too early for Porter? Maybe ... then again, there is a premium on big, physical cornerbacks; in recent drafts Sauce Gardner, Derek Stingley Jr., Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II were all taken early in the first round.

18. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Van Ness never started a game at Iowa but that's not the point. The point is that NFL teams love his size, his athleticism, and where his game could be a couple of years from now. Purdue's George Karlaftis went at the end of Round 1 a year ago, and USC's Drake Jackson went a round later; both players were high-upside prospects who exceeded expectations as rookies. Van Ness is in the same conversation but could be the best of the bunch.

The Draft Network - Keith Sanchez (2/20)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The Lions finished the year as one of the hottest teams in the NFL and have clearly placed themselves in the running for the NFC North crown next year. But they need to fix a defense that was one of the worst units in the NFL. They start to fix that by addressing the back end and drafting Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez. Gonzalez may be the best athlete of all the corners in this class and has the ability to play lockdown man-to-man coverage. Gonzalez paired with Jeff Okudah should give the Lions a nice young pair moving forward.

18. Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson

It is clear that Dan Campbell has a very specific culture that he is trying to cultivate and Bryan Breese fits that perfectly. Breese is a tough, hard-nosed player that is also extremely talented. The opportunity to draft Breese is a steal for the Lions and also the perfect fit for Campbell and this staff.

SI - Kevin Hanson (2/17)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Cornerback is arguably the team's biggest need heading into the offseason, even though the Lions used a top-three pick on Jeff Okudah in 2020. Both Amani Oruwariye and Mike Hughes are scheduled to become free agents next month. The brother-in-law of former Lions quarterback David Blough, Gonzalez has elite speed (23.3 mph on GPS, per Bruce Feldman), smooth change-of-direction ability and excellent length. Gonzalez had four interceptions for the Ducks in '22.

18. Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson

Double-dipping with defensive picks in the first round is a distinct possibility for the Lions. While Detroit ranked top five in both total and scoring offense in 2022, it ranked last in total defense and only the Bears (27.2) and Cardinals (26.4) allowed more points per game than the Lions (25.1), who also ranked 28th in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric for defense. Rookies Aidan Hutchinson (9.5) and James Houston (eight) combined for 17.5 sacks last season, but Bresee has the quickness and power to be a disruptive three-technique for the Lions.

The Athletic - CFB Writers (2/17)

6. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Illinois led the nation in scoring defense, and Witherspoon and the secondary were the key to the Illini's defensive emergence. Witherspoon always was assigned the opponent's best receiver, no matter if it was field, boundary or slot. According to Pro Football Focus, Witherspoon was targeted 63 times and allowed just 22 catches for 206 yards and no scores. Plus, he can bring the thunder. Witherspoon has the potential to become a shutdown corner and the toughness to further restore the roar in Detroit.

18. Siaki Ika, IDL, Baylor

The Lions won eight of their final 10 games but were 28th or worse in the most important defensive categories, including last overall in total defense. With a pair of talented rush ends in Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, Detroit needs a two-down run stuffer in the worst way. Ika has that ability with his 6-4, 360-pound frame to tie up blockers and quick enough footwork to close gaps.

ESPN - Todd McShay (2/15)

6. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

I think Detroit sticks with Jared Goff and uses this pick on a porous defensive unit. I considered a cornerback, but Murphy has a much higher grade than my CB1 -- and the defense needs support at multiple positions. It couldn't stop anyone last season, allowing a league-high 6.2 yards per play. Adding Murphy's speed off the edge to a group that already includes 2022 first-rounder Aidan Hutchinson and surprise rookie standout James Houston immediately moves the defense forward.

Something else to watch for here: I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit slides down the board, picking up additional draft capital from a team looking to nab a quarterback. The Lions already have a second first-rounder, too.

18. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

We mentioned that the Lions might be thinking cornerback at No. 6 (ended up with a defensive end in Murphy), but they get one here with their second first-rounder at the tail end of a mini run at the position. Ringo is the fourth CB to come off the board in five picks. There will be a lot of opinions about his game, but Ringo has a lot of upside. He has speed and length, and he's very good in press coverage. Plus, he hauled in two interceptions in each of his seasons at Georgia. Jeff Okudah has flashed the traits that made him the No. 3 pick in 2020, but even if he takes the next step, Amani Oruwariye is a free agent, leaving the other outside corner spot wide open.

San Diego Union Tribune - Eddie Brown (2/15)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

It appears Jared Goff may keep his job. This selection would pair nicely with former top-three pick Jeff Okudah and hopefully address a leaky pass defense for the Lions. Gonzalez has the size (6-2, 200) and physical traits that make most scouts salivate, and the Colorado transfer answered all questions regarding his ball production (four interceptions) in his only season in Eugene. His draft stock could lift off with a dynamic performance at the combine.

18. Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson

Bresee was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2020 recruiting class. He showed flashes of dominance as a true freshman in 2020, but only played 152 snaps in 2021 before tearing his ACL. It appears he regained his explosiveness and remains one of the most versatile defensive lineman in this class, but his injury history has teams divided. Otherwise, I believe the Lions might consider taking him with the sixth pick. - Chad Reuter (2/13)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Usually there's a cornerback who takes a big leap (figuratively and literally) at the NFL Scout Combine -- my guess is that's Gonzalez this year. The Oregon defender's size (6-2, 201) and athleticism will likely impress scouts, who, if they haven't devoured it already, will then turn to the tape where they'll see aggressive play and very good ball skills. Gonzalez could help alleviate some of the pressure on the Lions' previous top-10 corner selection, Jeff Okudah.

18. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Mayer might end up as the second tight end off the board because he is not as quick-twitch as Dalton Kincaid and others at his position. The Lions happily select the Notre Dame standout, though, as his reliability as a pass-catcher and tenacious blocking remind me of Ravens star Mark Andrews.

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