May 20, 2024


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2023 NFL Simulated Draft: Todd McShay assists in Detroit Lions skill spot

2023 NFL Simulated Draft: Todd McShay assists in Detroit Lions skill spot

As we begin to bridge the gap between free agency and 2023 NFL DraftAnalysts began to broaden their expectations. ESPN’s Todd McShea released his latest mock draft On Tuesday, he’s a full rounder, focusing on the Detroit Lions adding a depth forward 7 on his outfielders and offensive skills.

The Lions have four picks in the first two rounds, so let’s jump right in.

Round 1, Pick No. 6: Terry Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Here’s McShay’s reason to choose:

“This pick should be a defense. Detroit was miserable in that division last season, and that was the reason they fell short in the playoff game. The Lions were the bottom three in yards allowed per rush (5.2), yards allowed per pass attempt ( 7.9), opposition QBR (56.0) and third down defense (45.1%). However, adding Wilson to a young, fast-rushing squad that already includes Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston could create a real struggle between the opposition’s pass guards. He had seven sacks in a year 2022 for the second year in a row, and his arm length jumps and pure strength are on the bar.

“I also considered the secondary with a handful of bigwigs on the board, but the Lions were aggressive there by signing Cameron Sutton, Emanuel Mosley and CJ Gardner Johnson in free agency. Detroit is back in the clock at #18 and has a pair of second strikes.”

There is nothing surprising about this choice. Most analysts, fans, and even Vegas seem to be pointing to the Lions focusing on facing Wilson, Georgia defensive back Jalen Carter (who was already off the plate), Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon (whom I picked in the mock POD community draft), and Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

All predictions on Wilson seem to point to him being a top 10 hit, but where he fits within that group is up in the air. Some analysts report that Wilson is ahead of Alabama rusher Will Anderson in some of the team’s plates, while others display inconsistent clay form far from polished.

In The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman’s latest mock draft—where he gets quotes from coaches about the league over players—he also paired the Lions with Wilson at #6 pick, but the quotes leave you wanting more. Here’s what one trainer had to say about Wilson:

“He’s got great size and height. I thought he played better a year ago. He’s affected games more than that. I left that game, thinking, ‘Man, he’s a man.'” It’s really good. But I didn’t think about picking the lottery. He’s not quite as consistent, but he’s got the talent, he’s definitely there.”

The other two quotes from Feldman’s article follow on the same page, suggesting a possibility, but speculating whether it deserves a high selection.

With the Lions, they may not be overly concerned with Wilson’s stage of development because they have seven other contestants able to contribute on a regular basis. Wilson’s positional flexibility will help his case in the first year, as he can be deployed in a variety of combinations, but to think he’d come to Allen Park and start day one like Aidan Hutchinson did last season seems unrealistic.

First round pick No. 18: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Here are McShay’s thoughts on projection:

Fans will ask what Robinson’s touchdown point is because of his position, but consider how heavy the Lions are at running and what Robinson can do offensively. We’re talking about a talent in the top five in the class who can break free with a holeshot, make defenders They miss with his strength and pulling passes with his trusty hands. Jamaal Williams went to New Orleans, and D’Andre Swift struggled to stay healthy and enter the final year of his contract. Yes, Detroit signed David Montgomery, but he only rushed for 100-plus yards three times over the past two seasons. Robinson only played three matches under 100 rushing yards last year.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, that would be the highest drafted running back since the Giants ranked second-ranked Saquon Barkley in 2018. But Robinson is special. Other options for Detroit include tight end or continuing down the defensive rebuilding path, but with four picks in the first two rounds, it can afford to pick that fancy pick and fill in some more holes down the road.”

Placement value aside, Robinson is an elite talent and will take the Lions offense to another level. Adding him to a backroom that includes Montgomery and Swift might seem like a bit of a stretch, but as McShay mentioned above, Swift is injured frequently and in the final year of his contract.

The Lions are set to add running talent to this draft roster, and if you can get past the “value” aspect of the selection, Robinson at the Honolulu Blue will be a lot of fun.

Second round, No. 48 pick: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Again, here’s McShay:

“Campbell has recorded over 120 tackles each of the past two seasons, and he’s been competing for snaps with Alex Anzalón and Malcolm Rodriguez in the middle of this defense that’s undergoing a major overhaul.”

Campbell is one of a few – maybe three? four? – linebackers in this draft class who might be able to challenge starting linebacker as a rookie. There are plenty of upsides to Campbell, but will the Lions be willing to use an early draft capital at linebacker when their history shows they don’t value the position highly?

The Lions deploy only two linebackers on the field at a time, bringing back their top three linebackers from last year. This season, Assad has reinvested in Anzalone (a three-year deal with $9 million in guarantees) and appears locked in a MIKE role, while Malcolm Rodriguez is strong-willed, and Derek Barnes is in a backup role supporting both of them. Adding Campbell would be a powerful way to upgrade the unit overall, but it would also run counter to the recent history of the Lions in this position.

Round 2, Pick No. 55: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

Here’s McShay’s final explanation:

LaPorta makes six (tight ends) in the first two rounds, which would tie the joint record for draft era set in 1974. But this class is just that good. LaPorta has been consistent at Iowa, catching 153 tackles over Over the course of four seasons for 1,786 yards and five scores He has hurried the seam and connected his routes effectively Laporta can tackle TJ Hawkinsonwho was traded to Minnesota at the deadline last season.”

While Lions fans will likely need time to recover from the Lions drafting another tight end from Iowa, LaPorta will mark an upgrade in position and, like McShay’s other draft picks, will challenge for first-year picks.

The Lions met with Laporta and Tucker Kraft from South Dakota State in NFLas well as Luke Schoonmaker on Michigan’s pro day, suggesting Detroit could very well be in the market for a tight end in this range of recruiting picks.

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