If you’ve read my other articles the last couple of weeks, you’ll know my thoughts on the importance of this offseason for the Lions. This is the offseason that could push the Lions to be a serious contender nobody wants to play late in the year. One major part of this offseason is the draft, where Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell and the rest of the organization are major players with 4 picks in the first 55. In this article, I’m going to do one of the things I love to do more than any other offseason activity: let’s do a mock draft!
I could just do the typical first round mock draft, but why not go bigger? That’s right, I’m going to start off with two rounds in this article, and I’m going to have all seven rounds by draft time! I’m going to use profootballnetwork.com for their draft simulator, and with this mock draft happening in February, I’m drafting for the Lions as currently constructed! I’m going to treat it as the obvious re-signings (Jamaal Williams is a Lion in 2023, don’t bet against it) are still on the roster, so don’t look at this one after free agency and question my picks. With all that being said, let’s hop into the mock draft!
R1, Pick 6: Traded to Carolina!
Detroit receives picks 9, 61 and 114. Carolina receives picks 6 and 81.
Detroit slides back three picks with Jalen Carter off the board and picks up a 4th rounder while moving up 20 spots on night 2. Carolina moves up desperate for a Quarterback and selects Will Levis from Kentucky.
R1, Pick 9: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Detroit helps Aaron Glenn fix this defense up by getting someone to pair with Jeff Okudah. I would’ve considered Bryan Bresee (DT, Clemson) and Myles Murphy (EDGE, Clemson), but they went to Vegas and Atlanta, respectively. This had me locked in on the cornerback position, and had me trying to pick between Gonzalez and Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State. While I prefer Porter, I have a feeling Detroit loves the athletic freak that is Gonzalez. Being 6’2”, 200 lbs, and really fast, he figures to be the perfect player to put opposite Okudah on the outside and let them develop together for years to come.
R1, Pick 18: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Now hear me out. I know the defense was atrocious, but arguably one of only two holes on the offensive side of the ball is the Right Guard spot. Halapoulivaati Vaitai was supposed to be the missing piece of this offensive line, but he missed the entire season with a back injury. He may not even be on the roster come draft time, as releasing him saves quite a bit of money, so let’s get his replacement here. Torrence is a phenomenal player on the interior, and is easily the top guard in this class. The Lions have 3 first round picks currently starting on their offensive line, so let’s add Torrence to make it 4 and protect Jared Goff even better.
R2, Pick 48: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
The Lions continue the building of their defense, adding to the front seven with the second Gators pick for the Lions in this draft. Pairing Dexter with Alim McNeil will allow last year’s rookies Malcolm Rodriguez to play more within themselves, especially in the run game. If the Lions don’t sign a starting caliber DT in Free Agency, look for them to draft one within the first two nights of the draft.
R2, Pick 55: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
The Lions fill what may be the last hole on the offensive side of the ball, adding this behemoth of a Tight End for Jared Goff to throw to. Standing at 6’7” and weighing in at 265 lbs, this guy is an absolute road grader as a run blocker while being solid in the passing game. While he didn’t get many opportunities at Georgia due to the massive array of weapons they had at their disposal, he always made the most of his opportunities. This should shift some of the focus off of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams and make the third ranked offense even more dangerous than it already was.
R2, Pick 61: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
I was not under the impression we would draft a Quarterback until I saw the Lions organization being all buddy-buddy with a certain Volunteer’s QB all week at the Senior Bowl. Now don’t get it twisted: this is not a Jared Goff replacement pick. Jared is still the guy, but we haven’t had a good backup capable of winning multiple games (if needed) since Shaun Hill back in the 2010-13 seasons. This solves that issue, as once he fully recovers from the torn ACL he suffered late in the college football season, he would be a solid backup with the chance to eventually take over in a couple seasons if they don’t end up re-signing Goff.