If you’re not familiar with how the Detroit Lions roundup works, each week we collect data from the latest expert mock drafts published over the last seven days and compile them (with links to the original pieces) in one easy-to-access article. In addition to providing Lions’ fans with the names of prospects being paired with Detroit, we also provide commentary that points to trends, player fits, and overall team philosophy.
Because this is the 10th installment in this series, we’re going to do things a bit differently this week. As always we will list all the players projected to the Lions in the first round, but for this special edition, we will also be adding in all the prospects projected to the Lions on Day 2 (when applicable) and focusing our efforts on them.
Alright, let’s jump right in.
The tides appear to have turned with regard to the Lions selecting a quarterback in the first round. Some draft analysts still believe quarterback is in play for Detroit, as we saw in last week’s roundup, but the majority of mock drafters are no longer making these projections.
Not only are analysts moving away from the idea, but some—like Diante Lee (The Athletic) and Dalton Miller (Pro Football Network) this week—have the Lions trading back when a top-3 quarterback was still on the board, and the team trading up ends up taking a quarterback at pick No. 6.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
No. 18: Luke Easterling (Draft Wire)
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
No. 55: Matt Miller (ESPN)
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
No. 55: Shane Hallam (Draft Countdown)
In the spirit of this article, we are going to skip the Bijan Robinson talk (because he is paired with the Lions in the first round) and instead focus on Gibbs and Achane.
On my pre-combine Lions-specific draft board, Gibbs and Achane are RB2 and 3, respectively, with each having the talent to justify using pick No. 55—the second of the Lions' second-round picks. Both are scheme-versatile, have less than 500 career college touches, possess next-level breakaway speed (both should run in the 4.3s), and have terrific hands, but also carry size concerns that may limit them from being a three-down back in the NFL.
Gibbs’ speed reminds me of watching Jameson Williams in college, as his ability to accelerate is incredible and he glides down the field. With his skill set, athleticism, and ability to be deployed all over the field, he is truly a matchup weapon on offense.
Jahmyr Gibbs vs. Arkansas:— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 3, 2022
226 total yards
2 rushing TDs
22.8 mph max speed pic.twitter.com/2d1Jg2XcUQ
Achane’s weight, projected to be just 185 pounds, is going to turn some teams away, but he is lethal in a phonebooth and avoids tackles with his explosion, quickness, and speed. What separates him for me is his elite vision. His ability to process what is happening in front of him, along with the athleticism to adjust to what he sees, allows him to use the entire field as his playground. He’s not just a “get him in space” back, he will run inside the tackles and still manage to stay clean.
Texas A&M RB Devon Achane has special burst!— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 27, 2022
His ability to collect his feet, redirect his path and accelerate out of his cuts is just different. pic.twitter.com/N40WEyupDN
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Sam Laporta, TE, Iowa
No. 48: Matt Miller (ESPN)
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
No. 55: T.J. McCreight (33rd Team)
LaPorta and Kraft are TE5 and 6 on my pre-combine Lions draft board, but in a loaded tight end class, they both are expected to come off the board in the top 100 picks. Both are balanced TE-Y players, who can lineup inline or split out in the slot, and could challenge for a starting role in their rookie seasons. LaPorta is a better receiver, which could make him a more appealing option for teams looking for an offensive weapon, while Kraft is a more proficient blocker, which will likely get him on the field early—especially if he were to end up in Detroit.
Joe Tippmann, IOL, Wisconsin
No. 81: Shane Hallam (Draft Countdown)
Andrew Vorhees, IOL, USC
No. 81: Luke Easterling (Draft Wire)
It’s interesting to see that both mock drafts that had the Lions taking an offensive lineman, picked a player with positional versatility and waited until the third round.
Tippmann (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) played 1445 snaps at center at Wisconsin but projects as a center/guard versatile player in the NFL. The Lions have an affinity for interior offensive linemen with center experience as they are typically highly intelligent and comfortable pass-blocking both to their right and left sides. Tippmann's power, athleticism, and gap-scheme versatility (the Lions pull their guards a lot) would make him a potential starter as a rookie.
Vorhees has just over 400 snaps at left tackle and nearly 1,000 snaps at left guard while at USC. Right now his projections are all over the map with some draft analysts listing him as a borderline first-rounder, while others think he will go on early on Day 3. His power is undeniable, but I do wonder if he is athletic enough to warrant a high draft pick.
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
No. 6: Ben Rolfe (Pro Football Network)
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Keeanu Benton, NT, Wisconsin
No. 48: Luke Easterling (Draft Wire)
This draft class has three nose tackles capable of challenging to start as a rookie, and Benton is very much in that mix. At 6-foot-3, 317 pounds, Benton is a strong run defender who flashes explosiveness at times but is still working out some consistency issues as a pass rusher, which is why he is being projected anywhere from the second to fourth rounds.
While he's far from a finished product, there's much to be desired when watching Wisconsin IDL Keanu Benton. Watch him here defeat a reach block by using his outside hand in the armpit of the defender before fighting him off with his inside hand to get square and meet the RB. pic.twitter.com/zdleyXQ0aV— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 6, 2023
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
No. 18: Matt Miller (ESPN)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State
No. 48: T.J. McCreight (33rd Team)
It’s a deep EDGE class this draft cycle and Anudike-Uzomah should very much be in Round 2 conversation. The value is certainly there for Anudike-Uzomah to be drafted at pick No. 48, and if the Lions are looking for depth on the open end of the line, he would give them an extra kick of relentless pass rushing potential.
Another week, another awesome sack by Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah.— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) October 3, 2022
Euro-step and double-swipe at the apex, then a rip to splice around the corner and into the pocket. The definition of smooth execution. pic.twitter.com/wLSlXnjcYH
Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn
No. 61: T.J. McCreight (33rd Team) - selected with a pick acquired via trade
Pappoe is a highly athletic linebacker who can play downhill and has the range to drop into coverage, but his size (6-foot-0, 225 pounds) is going to limit his opportunities as an every-down linebacker in the NFL. If the Lions were to draft Pappoe, he would likely fill the role Chris Board held last season, with the upside to potentially develop into a larger role.
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
No. 6: Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)
No. 9: T.J. McCreight (33rd Team), Lions trade pick No. 6 Panthers, receive picks No. 9, 61
No. 13: Diante Lee (The Athletic) Lions trade pick No. 6 to Jets, receive pick No. 13 and their choice of either a 2024 1st round pick or a pair of Day 2 picks (1 in 2023 and 1 in 2024)
Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
Brian Branch, NB/S, Alabama
No. 18: Dalton Miller (Pro Football Network)
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
No. 18: T.J. McCreight (33rd Team)
Christopher Smith, NB/S, Georgia
No. 48: Shane Hallam (Draft Countdown)
Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
No. 48: Luke Easterling (Draft Wire)
For those who love the idea of adding Branch, but are worried that he might not land in Detroit, Smith is a player you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. Capable of playing as a slot defensive back with the range to kick all the way back to single-high safety, Smith is exactly the type of hybrid player that would step right into the hole in the secondary left by Will Harris. Smith is a tick undersized (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) but he plays with the intelligence and physicality that the Lions covet in their players.
Georgia safety Christopher Smith II: Alternate spelling on Chris' last name would be "Dawg"— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 2, 2023
This dude remains very good at all things football. Never afraid to let you know either. pic.twitter.com/sY4GL3x3gj
Battle was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, lining up alongside Branch the last two years. Unlike Branch and Smith, Battle is a pure safety who can operate out of both safety spots in Cover-1, and Cover-2 schemes. If the Lions are worried about Tracy Walker’s ability to recover from his Achilles injury, a player like Battle would fit the scheme nicely.