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Answering the biggest 2023 NFL Draft questions facing the Detroit Lions

We raise the biggest questions facing the Detroit Lions for the 2023 NFL Draft, and Brett Whitefield helps us answer them.

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions—and the rest of the non-Baltimore Ravens NFL—have seemingly stopped adding players in free agency, and with just over two weeks until the NFL Draft, it’s time to shift our focus almost entirely in that direction. While the Lions roster is in a really good place right now, they could always stand to improve, and they’ll certainly have the opportunity to do so with two first-round picks and the third-most draft capital of any other team this year.

So we’re kicking off our podcast 2023 NFL Draft preview content with a visit from our old pal Brett Whitefield. You may remember Whitefield from his stint at PFF or his numerous appearances on our podcast. Now he’s the Director of Fantasy Points Data and Research, which has a ton of awesome content for both fantasy and draft fanatics.

For a little over 45 minutes, we peppered Whitefield—who also happens to be a Lions fan—with all sorts of questions regarding the Lions and the upcoming draft. Here’s a listing of some of them, and a portion of Whitefield’s answers:

Should the Lions trade up to grab a quarterback? (2:50 timestamp)

“I think they’re in a perfect position to do it, so I absolutely would. My preference is for them to trade up to three-ish. It looks like my QB1 will be there at three, and that’s Anthony Richardson.”

Would the Lions be interested in Jalen Carter? (8:30)

“He is my highest-scored player in this year’s class... the question is there any indication the Lions would be interested in him. It just doesn’t seem like it from a football culture standpoint.”

If three QBs fall and Will Anderson and Jalen Carter are off the board, who is the top pick remaining at six? (11:15)

“From a score standpoint, they’re like neck-and-neck. It’s Tyree Wilson and Devon Witherspoon.”

Where is the sweet spot in drafting a tight end in a deep class—and should the Lions do it? (21:00)

“If the Lions took (Dalton) Kincaid at 18, I wouldn’t be mad about it. It’s also not on my wishlist. In fact, I probably prefer that they don’t do that, because I think there’s a lot of other value there, but he’s the one guy at 18. You could make the argument for Darnell Washington as a scheme fit—a tremendous scheme fit.”

Bijan Robinson at 18? (25:30)

“I think on this podcast alone, I’ve identified five guys I’d take before him at 18. There is a certain point, though, where he’s so talented that it’s hard to pass. I’ve been firmly anti-running backs in the first round, (but) this is a generational guy. I’ve talked with Brad Spielberger from PFF about this, where you’d be taking him—whether it’s 18 or later in the first round—the dollars and cents of it make sense. Where you get into trouble is taking a running back in the top five. For example, Saquon Barkley the year he was drafted, he immediately became the fifth-highest paid running back in the NFL before taking a snap.”

Peter Skoronski at 6? (31:30)

“First and foremost, I love Peter Skoronski the player. He’s my highest-ranked offensive linemen in the class. That said, I think you’re playing with fool’s gold a little bit when we talk about starting him as a guard and kicking him out to tackle eventually.”

Best ways to address Lions’ DT need (37:50)

“There’s a few ways they can dice it, right? If you want to talk pure deficiencies on the roster right now, it’s interior pass rush. The easiest way to fix that is Calijah Kancey.”

Other topics:

  • Witherspoon vs. Christian Gonzalez (14:00)
  • Other running backs in this year’s draft the Lions could use (28:50)
  • Steve Avila as a future Lions guard (34:20)
  • Why Whitefield believes Mazi Smith will go in the first round (39:15)
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba is way more than a slot player (44:30)

Check out our entire conversation below:

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