There has been more and more mention of potential secondary draft targets. Most recently a name that seems intriguing - that statistically seems to be the top cover corner in the draft, as well as a very aggressive tackler, is CB Devon Witherspoon. He's a former teammate of Kerby Joseph, who has impressed us with his ball hawking skills this year.
With two first round draft picks, could the Lions go for two secondary pieces? Brian Branch of Alabama seems to get considerable mention for his ability to effectively play the outside, nickel, and even safety. There are many other players that could also pop to the top of the list, but these seem to be gaining more and more consideration in multiple scouting reports and mock drafts.
Drafting a pair of defensive backs might be loading up too much on one position, but if the Lions like a few of the DT options after Jalen Carter and Bryan Bresee to help their interior defensive line, the need for premier talent in the secondary might win out.
All of this focus on the secondary however shouldn't fail to consider how Jeff Okudah fits or doesn't fit the team's expectations. Some might be alarmed by the fall off in his performance over the last few games. The amount of money allocated to Okudah in next year's salary cap is sizable enough to perhaps warrant trading him, if such a move could yield a decent draft pick. Thus, even more onus would be on the team to draft two defensive backs.
Okudah has a $10.7M contract for 2023. It might be he is just beginning to blossom into an elite corner back. In which case then drafting two more high priced defensive backs might be prohibitive, even if it seems like the most apparent need on the team. Conversely, maybe the value an elite trio of defensive backs might be worth the extraordinary value that could paid with Tracy Walker commanding an $11.3M contract next season. What's more, will the Lions pony up for Deshon Elliott, or hope that Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu can provide what Elliott did at a far lower cost?
Although the team appears to have a significant amount of cap space to work with, how much should they proportion to one position group? We can see that the draft and free agency decisions looming will have a significant affect on the team's payroll. Payroll cap management is another key to building a successful team. So Brad Holmes has yet another test to pass as he seeks to be an elite GM.