As the trade deadline came and went, Lions fans have turned their focus from the abysmal 2022 season to the prospects of the 2023 draft. The only semblance of hope comes with the chance of Detroit being so incompetent on the field that they end up with the number 1 overall draft pick. I’d the season ended today, the Detroit Lions would be able to get first dibs on a generational talent. Not to mention the abundance of picks they have from other teams. If they do end up selecting #1 overall, the question should not be whether the Lions draft a quarterback, but which quarterback they should pick. There are 2 clear prospects that are a tier above the rest at their position. If Detroit did end up with the first overall pick, they would have to make the difficult but fortunate choice of choosing between the 2. So who should they pick? I answer this question in the first version of my 2023 three round mock draft for the Detroit Lions.
ROUND 1, PICK 1: BRYCE YOUNG, QUARTERBACK, ALABAMA
ANALYSIS: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner would be my first choice if I was at the helm in Detroit. Him and CJ Stroud are in a league of their own in the college football landscape, but I personally believe that Bryce Young is the more poised of the two. A true generational prospect, Young would have some of the best stats in the country if Alabama didn’t take him out during blowouts. You don’t have to be a professional scout to fall in love with Bryce Young as a football player. He is a blue chip prospect who excels in all areas needed to succeed in the new era of the NFL.
ROUND 1, PICK 14: KELEE RINGO, CORNERBACK, GEORGIA
Although Jeff Okudah has finally broken out into an elite corner, it is Amani Oruwariye that has been a liability in coverage this year. The Lions are lacking at pretty much every single position on defense, and if Ringo falls to this spot it would be a slam dunk pick for Brad Holmes. You may remember Kelee Ringo from the 2021 national championship game, where he sealed the game for Georgia with a pick six off of Bryce young late in the game. Ringo is an athletic freak of a corner who has the hands of a wide receiver. Although he does not have any interceptions in 2022, turning on the tape will quickly show an NFL ready cornerback prospect who will wreak havoc on the league.
ROUND 2, PICK 1: SIAKI IKA, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN, BAYLOR
If you’re not familiar with the name Siaki Ika, get used to hearing his name as we get closer to draft season. As is the case with so many Defensive Line prospects in the last couple years, the LSU transfer does not play like he is 350 pounds. He is a freak athlete with fantastic hands and a get off that rivals some edge rushers. His fantastic leveraging is not only vital to rush the Quarterback, but where it really benefits him is in run defense. I might be getting ahead of myself, but I seriously see some Haloti Ngata in Ika.
ROUND 2, PICK 29: DEMARVION OVERSHOWN, LINEBACKER, TEXAS
The Lions may have found a late round gem with Malcom Rodriguez in the 2022 draft, and there is no doubt in my mind he will be a good NFL starter for years to come. However, the linebacking core outside of Rodriguez is rough, to say the least. Overshown is a player that has flown under the radar in the draft discourse. When I see Overshown play on tape, I see a complete package. A twitchy athlete with great instincts and sound tackling, the exact thing that the Lions are lacking, and will have an immediate positive impact on the defense.
ROUND 2, PICK 32: MIKE MORRIS, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN, MICHIGAN
Yes, I would quadruple dip on defense after the first pick if I was in charge of the Detroit Lions. And yes, I would take Mike Morris in the second round. This is the only pick in this mock draft that is a true “reach” in terms of where Morris is on most experts boards. However, I am extremely confident he will move up in the consensus rankings as the 2022 season rolls on. The senior was not a big ticket item on the stacked Michigan defensive line in 2021, with players such as David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson deservingly getting heavy praise and attention from the national media. However, Mike Morris has had a breakout 2022 campaign, with 5.5 sacks to go along with elite run defense.