It’s officially 2023 NFL Draft rumor season, and with just two weeks until the huge event, things are running into overdrive. The Detroit Lions have done a good job hiding their intentions for the draft this offseason, and with a roster that just needs some more tinkering and not a massive overhaul, the options are near limitless.
But according to ESPN’s Matt Miller, the Lions may be zeroing in on a defender with the sixth overall pick. Per Miller, the Lions are infatuated with Texas Tech edge defender Tyree Wilson.
“I’ve heard they really like Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) and have a high grade on him,” Miller wrote this week. “The Lions have spent considerable time and resources meeting with and working out pass-rushers this offseason, and they will be seeking more help on defense right out of the gate in Round 1.”
Wilson has the prototypical frame to be an NFL edge defender. At 6-foot-5, 271 pounds and with massive 35.6-inch arms, Wilson can win with size, length and power. Even so, he doesn’t cede much when it comes to speed, either. In short, he has the physical tools to be a dominant defender—and elite talent—for years to come.
That said, his game requires significant refinement. He plays a little tall, his get-off is a bit slow, and his production—14.0 sacks in his past two seasons—is just good, not great. No NFL Draft prospect comes into the league without the need for improvement, but Wilson certainly has a little more work to do before he becomes a finished, productive product.
Luckily for him, the Lions would present an opportunity for development. Detroit has a solid rotation at the edge position right now with Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, James Houston, and Romeo Okwara, among others. Wilson would likely start as a subpackage defender with the Lions, and eventually work his way into the regular rotation as the season progresses. And while the Lions are in a good shape at the position for 2023, Wilson would give them a necessary long-term option, seeing as both Harris and Okwara are on expiring deals.
And, as Lions general manager Brad Holmes said at the owners meeting this year, you can never have too many defensive linemen.
“I say back in St. Louis even, it got to a point where we had a pretty strong defensive line and we had some concerns elsewhere, but we just kept adding to our defensive line,” Holmes said. “And it just turned into this beast that was just a strength of the football team.
Like with all rumors at this time of year, you should take Miller’s words with a grain of salt. But it’s easy to see why this particular rumor would make sense for the Lions.