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Detroit Lions 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama, Jack Campbell from Iowa, and general manager Brad Holmes pose during the players' introductory news conference at team headquarters in Allen Park on Friday, April 28, 2023. Lions 042823 Kd275

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Detroit Lions draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2023 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks

R1 (12): RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
R1 (18): LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
R2 (34): TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa
R2 (45): S Brian Branch, Alabama
R3 (68): QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
R3 (96): DI Brodric Martin, Western Kentucky
R5 (152): OT Colby Sorsdal, William & Mary
R6 (219): WR Antoine Green, North Carolina

Day 1: Gibbs is the second-ranked running back on the PFF big board, but he is also just the 34th-ranked prospect. Viewed as a potential late first-round pick, this is a big reach with the 12th overall pick. He can make an impact in the passing game, though, as he hauled in 103 passes for 1,215 receiving yards over the past three seasons.

Campbell is the top linebacker on the PFF big board but was just 39th overall. It’s not a good value pick, but he produced a 91.9 PFF grade, which led all linebackers. At 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds, he has impressive size and NFL-caliber range.

Day 2: Detroit shocks the football world once again by taking tight end Sam LaPorta over Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer at Pick 34. The Iowa product plays an incredibly physical game, something head coach Dan Campbell covets at every position. LaPorta is a high-quality athlete and an after-the-catch weapon. His 368 yards after the catch and 20 missed tackles forced were both top-three marks among FBS tight ends in 2022.

The Lions have made several big “reaches” already in this draft based on PFF and consensus big boards, but they get one of the better values here with Branch. He’s the best nickel prospect in this draft class and one of the best tackling defensive backs since PFF began tracking college football in 2014 (2% missed tackle rate).

Lions QB Jared Goff has two years remaining on his contract, so the Lions are wise to draft a potential successor behind him. Hooker fell in the draft after an unfortunate ACL tear at the end of the 2022 season that took him out of a Heisman race, but he earned a 93.4 passing grade on deep throws and is great in a clean pocket. If he can improve under pressure once healthy, he could prove to be a great pick.

The 163rd overall player on the PFF big board, this is a bit of a reach for the Lions, but Martin is a big player who can fill a role in the middle of their defensive line at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds. Despite his size, he graded out better as a pass-rusher than a run defender in college and won 9.4% of his pass-rushing snaps in 2022.

Green brings size at 6-foot-2 and earned a 75.1 receiving grade in 2022 with 2.34 yards per route run. Detroit is smart to continue to add depth at receiver, and Green’s 18.1-yard average depth of target could make him a good student for veteran Marvin Jones Jr. to take under his wing as the downfield contested catch option in Detroit.


Prospect Spotlight: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Gibbs is a home run waiting to happen — not only on the ground but also through the air. In three years between Georgia Tech and Alabama, Gibbs caught 103 passes for 1,215 yards and eight scores.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Suddenness

Gibbs is pretty much any adjective you can think of to describe something getting somewhere in a hurry. He moves forward, backward, left, right and any direction in between in a hurry.

What's his role? Featured receiving back

Gibbs doesn't quite have the size to make NFL offensive coordinators feel comfortable turning the keys over to him on every play, but he 100% needs to be given 5-10 targets a game as a receiver.

What he can improve: Size

Gibbs plus 10 pounds or so of muscle is a scary thought. It's the only element missing from his game.


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