Behind the scenes, the 2023 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft has come to an end, but with a week until the actual draft kicks off, there are still more picks to reveal.
On Tuesday, we completed the first round of the mock draft. Now, let’s reveal the next 16 picks in the lead-up to the Detroit Lions’ selection at 48 overall. Here’s how the first half of the second round played out in the Community Mock.
32. Steelers — DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
33. Texans — TE Michael Mayer
34. Cardinals — CB DJ Turner
35. Colts — iOL John Michael Schmitz
36. Rams — iOL Cody Mauch
37. Seahawks — WR Zay Flowers
38. Raiders — EDGE Keion White
39. Panthers — CB Deonte Banks
40. Saints — RB Jahmyr Gibbs
41. Titans — EDGE Will McDonald IV
42. Jets — OT Matthew Bergeron
43. Jets — LB Jack Campbell
44. Falcons — CB Emmanuel Forbes
45. Packers — DT Mazi Smith
46. Patriots — OT Tyler Steen
47. Commanders — CB Kelee Ringo
Before we get into the candidates Erik Schlitt likely considered for the 48th pick, here’s a reminder—and links to the articles—of Erik’s first two picks in the 2023 NFL Community Mock Draft:
You can see all of the picks made from 1-47 with our 2023 Community Mock Draft Tracker.
Now, onto the candidates for Pick 48. We listed eight of them, and with the Lions picking at 55, Erik is essentially guaranteed to have his shot at two of these players—if they match his current big board.
Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker
Hooker was one of our candidates for Pick 18, and he still remains on the board. An intriguing developmental option at the game’s most important position, Hooker has extremely intriguing physical traits and an incredible amount of college production to boot. A team would have to be comfortable with an 25-year-old rookie coming off an torn ACL and a career in a QB-friendly system, though.
Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave
We know the Lions are looking to upgrade their tight end room, and while three have already come off the board—Dalton Kincaid, Darnell Washington, and Michael Mayer—Musgrave is still a good value pick here, displaying the strength of this year’s tight end class. At 6-foot-5 and change and 253 pounds, Musgrave is one of the biggest tight ends in this year’s class while also being one of the quickest (4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine).
Musgrave missed most of 2022 with a knee injury but is ready to hit the ground running in 2023, and could provide his next team with a decent balance of blocking and receiving.
Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
As expressed by our own Mike Payton, wide receiver is a sneaky need for the Lions, and Hyatt provides good value here. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Hyatt as his WR3 in this class likely due to his elite speed, which is something we know the Lions covet in their receivers. He’s still a bit of a green route-runner, but with Detroit’s current solid receiving corps, Lions WR coach Antwaan Randle-El can take his time with him—learning from Marvin Jones Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown should help, too.
North Carolina WR Josh Downs
Downs is a much smaller option than Hyatt—Hyatt is 6-foot, Downs is 5-foot-9—but Downs has two years of excellent production to Hyatt’s one. Downs is also a more polished route runner, but his size will limit his role in the NFL to purely a slot/gadget type. That may make him a tricky fit in Detroit, but St. Brown is a unique enough talent that they could move him around and find a role for Downs.
Wisconsin NT Keanu Benton
Detroit’s biggest need heading into the draft remains unaddressed, but Benton could be a quick fix. Though undersized for a traditional nose tackle (309 pounds), he displays incredible strength through his hands and has flashed some pass rushing potential (4.5 sacks in 12 starts last year). If paired with Alim McNeill, the Lions would likely interchange both between the nose and three-tech.
Kansas St. EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Anudike-Uzomah earned back-to-back First Team All-Big 12 honors after totaling 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles over the past two seasons. He’s a bit underdeveloped both in terms of pass rushing moves and run defense, but he’s considered a high-character player who worked his way up from just a three-star recruit to a potential top-50 pick in the NFL Draft.
LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari
Ojulari is undersized at just 6-foot-2, 248 pounds—which likely projects him to a similar role of James Houston. That’s essentially how LSU used him, meaning he has a good amount of experience both rushing the passer (329 pass rushing snaps in 2022 per PFF) and dropping into coverage (84 snaps). While his sack numbers over the past two years have been relatively low (12.5 total), he has finished top-20 in the country in pressures in back-to-back seasons.
Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
We’ve debated the value the Lions place on off-ball linebackers, but Detroit has shown specific interest in Sanders, bringing him in for a top-30 visit, as well as meeting with him at the NFL Combine. Sanders is viewed by some as the top linebacker in the class this year, so the Lions may be willing to make an exception for him here—and for good reason.
Though he only has one year as a full-time starter, he was an absolutely game-wrecking machine last year for the Razorbacks, tallying 103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and six passes defended. He could play multiple roles for the Lions, be it a coverage linebacker on third down, a pass rusher in subpackages, or a future MIKE linebacker who develops behind Alex Anzalone.
Vote on who you think the Lions should pick and scroll down to the comment section to make your argument.
Who should the Lions take with the 48th pick?
This poll is closed
QB Hendon Hooker
TE Luke Musgrave
WR Jalin Hyatt
WR Josh Downs
NT Keanu Benton
EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
EDGE BJ Ojulari
LB Drew Sanders