The Detroit Lions walked away from this past weekend’s 2023 NFL Draft a better team; I don’t think there’s much doubt about that. They took what was already one of the most well-rounded rosters in the NFL and added several unique talents to it amidst a slew of trades by general manager Brad Holmes. While every pick brought new talent to Detroit, not every pick was a popular one.
The Lions triple-dipped at positions with low relative positional value with their first three picks. The Lions started off Day 1 by picking Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12, a player who Holmes would later say the Lions were comfortable taking at No. 6—I still find myself deeply unsettled by that statement. The Lions then drafted Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell at pick No. 18, then opened Day 2 with the selection of Iowa TE Sam LaPorta at pick No. 34. All three picks sparked discussions around whether the player/position warranted the capital spent.
Then there was selecting Hendon Hooker in the third round. There’s little doubt surrounding the positional value of a quarterback, but Hooker was one of the most polarizing prospects in the leadup to this year’s draft. Twitter reactions were mixed, to say the least.
There’s no doubt the Lions got themselves good players. However, the cost may have left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths.
Question of the day: Which Detroit Lions draft pick has grown on you the most?
My answer: It’s definitely Sam LaPorta for me.
The more I watch LaPorta, the more there is to love. I wrote in my grade for the LaPorta pick about how he is everything T.J. Hockenson wasn’t. I also think the relatively high draft pick at No. 34 overall and the whiplash of the first two draft picks led folks to believe a tight end at No. 34 was poor positional value. However, with the dropoff in rookie salaries between rounds one and two, LaPorta is actually a really good investment.
T.J. Hockenson: $9.4M cap hit in 2023— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) April 28, 2023
Brock Wright: 940k
Shane Zylstra: 940k
James Mitchell: 930k
Sam Laporta (est.): $1.7M
There’s also the fact that Iowa had one of the most unwatchable offenses in all of college football. In spite of that, LaPorta sold himself enough to be the 34th overall pick. Factoring in the hot mess that is Brian Ferentz’s Hawkeyes offense, I’m really excited to see what LaPorta can do. He fits what the Lions excelled at doing with lesser talents in the latter half of the 2022 season.
All in all, this pick has grown on me a ton, and while I initially had whiplash from the first two and may have been too quick to react to seeing a tight end picked, I’m really liking the value and what LaPorta can bring to this team. Not there yet? Check out this wonderful Sam LaPorta thread by Pride of Detroit’s Alex Reno and you’ll be sold too.
Which Lions draft pick has grown on you the most? Still warming up to LaPorta? Are you on the Hooker hype train? Sold on Gibbs as a hybrid back-receiver? Vote below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Which Lions draft pick has grown on you the most?
This poll is closed
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
LB Jack Campbell
TE Sam LaPorta
QB Hendon Hooker