Since my first mock draft months ago, a lot has changed for the Lions. The Rams have secured the No. 6 overall pick, meaning the first round pick from the Goff trade remains high, the Lions own pick has fallen all the way down to No. 18. I’m sure fans don’t mind, as the reason for that is the Detroit Lions played their best football we have seen in the last decade towards the end of the season. After narrowly missing the playoffs, the Lions look forward to improving their roster as they approach 2023.
ROUND 1, PICK 6: MYLES MURPHY, EDGE, CLEMSON
It is hard to imagine a world in which either Alabama’s Will Anderson JR or Georgia’s Jalen Carter are still on the board at this point, and it is even less likely that the Lions will draft a QB here. While this would be the second year in a row the Lions take a defensive end with their first pick, it would be well worth it as Myles Murphy is a freak athlete that could help sure up the defense. A former 5 star prospect, Murphy is similar to other top end edge prospects in the last couple of years in the “height, weight, speed freak” mold that led to players like Travon Walker getting drafted number one overall. Murphy has a plethora of NFL-ready moves, and never takes a down off. He would be a perfect culture fit for Dan Campbell and the Lions.
ROUND 1, PICK 18: CHRISTIAN GONZALEZ, CORNERBACK, OREGON
If you watched an Oregon game this year, it is unlikely you saw Christian Gonzalez lose very many reps. The Colorado transfer is someone I am certain will rise up big boards as the draft approaches. While Jeff Okudah is certainly someone to build around at the position, the opposite side has a gaping hole due to the massive Amani Oruwariye regression in 2022. Gonzalez is a tall, lengthy corner that is physical despite his skinnier frame. He has some of the smoothest hip transitions in the entire class, and while some may call this a reach, anyone who has seen him play will call it a great fit and good value at pick number 18.
ROUND 2, PICK 49: DARNELL WASHINGTON, TIGHT END, GEORGIA
There is a TJ Hockenson sized hole in Detroit’s roster, and this mountain of a man will do more than fill it. Darnell Washington is 6 foot 7, and 265 pounds. That is not a typo. He is an absolute behemoth at the position he plays, and he is extremely athletic for his size. While his stats don’t portray a second round tight end, he is too big and too talented to not be a beast in the NFL when used correctly. I have full confidence in the coaching staff to make Washington one of the game’s elite tight ends.
ROUND 2, PICK 61: JACK CAMPBELL, LINEBACKER, IOWA
While size is not always king at the linebacker position, having a 6’5 heat seeking missile at the position never hurt. Jack Campbell is a classic run defending linebacker that can fill gaps with tenacity. I believe that him and Malcom Rodriguez will have a great thunder and lightning effect with Rodrigo being the lockdown coverage linebacker and Campbell being the run defending bruiser.
ROUND 3, PICK 81: JALIN HYATT, WIDE RECEIVER, TENNESSEE
Some may say that drafting another slot wide receiver with Amon Ra St Brown on the team is unnecessary and a waste of a pick. While Hyatt and St Brown share similarities like their height and where they line up, Hyatt is 30 pounds lighter and is an absolute burner. The Biletnikoff award winner was the best receiver production wise across the collegiate landscape, but concerns about his frame mean that he is most likely a day 2 prospect. At this point of the draft, when a player as talented as Hyatt is available, you take him.