Round 1 Pick 6: Brian Branch, Safety (Alabama)A bit of an unusual pick to start off the draft, but I have the Detroit Lions taking Brian Branch, the safety from Alabama. The Detroit Lions do not necessarily have a glaring need at the safety position, with rookie sensation Kerby Joseph likely filling the free safety role, while Tracy Walker would move to strong safety. But Branch’s versatility would make him a chess piece on Aaron Glenn’s defense. Branch has the ability to play nickel corner, as well as the outside corner position, and has the high floor to be a starter day one. The fit with The Detroit Lions is perfect as well, with Branch’s physical nature matching Dan Campbell’s knee-cap biting forte. Branch had an exceptional season in 2022 at Alabama, missing only one tackle and picking the ball off twice. Branch would most likely fit in as a box safety or slot cornerback, and could fill in at several positions if required due to injury.
Round 1 Pick 18: Joey Porter Jr, Cornerback (Penn State)With their second first round pick, The Detroit Lions double down in the secondary with Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State. Detroit’s pass defense was one of the worst in the league, and with potential departures from free agents Amani Oruwariye and Mike Hughes, Aaron Glenn’s defense will need all the help they can get. Porter Jr. would be an instant upgrade at the cornerback position, potentially filling in across from Jeff Okudah. The lengthy cornerback from Penn State was one of, if not the best player at his position in college football last season. While his interception or pass break up numbers don’t jump off the page, the lack of ball production stems from the fact that quarterbacks rarely, if ever, tested him. Porter Jr. will remind a lot of fans of Okudah, in the fact that he excels in press man to man coverage. Similar to Branch, the scheme fit just makes too much sense to not bring Porter Jr. in. The Penn State product will likely take very little time to adjust, as he played against some phenomenal wide receivers in The Big 10, and he has the ideal measurables to continue to go against the best wide receivers in The NFL.
Round 2 Pick 48: Darnell Washington, Tight End (Georgia)Darnell Washington is a monster of a tight end, standing at 6’7” 265 lbs. The Georgia Bulldog would be a welcomed addition to a position group that lacks a true number one guy, especially if tight end Brock Wright does not return to Detroit this offseason. Washington is not exactly a Kyle Pitts-level receiving threat at the position, but he does excel at running vertical and seam routes, and is difficult to bring down after the catch due to his frame. While not an exceptional receiving talent, Dan Campbell will fall in love with his ability as a blocker. Washington steamrolls defenders in the run game, and can be a solid pass protector as well. The scheme fit is once again quite solid, as the play action scheme that Ben Johnson runs would allow for Washington to chip off after blocking to go make plays on the ball.
Round 2 Pick 55: Moro Ojomo, Defensive Tackle (Texas)The Lions finally turn to the defensive front with their last pick in the second round, and continue adding beef at the defensive tackle position. While Brad Holmes has whiffed at taking defensive tackles in the second round in the past, that doesn’t stop him from taking a swing at Texas’ Moro Ojomo. Ojomo would likely become a solid rotationally piece and potentially full time starter next to nose tackle Alim McNeil. Ojomo is athletically impressive for a 280 lb man, and uses this ability to pressure the backfield. If defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs does not resign with the Detroit Lions in 2023, Ojomo would be a solid grab in the back end of the second round.
Round 3 Pick 81: Andrew Vorhees, Offensive Guard (Southern California)Starting guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai will likely be a cap casualty this offseason, meaning The Lions will need to continue to add pieces to their stout offensive line. It is rare to draft a player in the third round that can potentially start day one, but Andrew Vorhees would certainly be able to fill in at right guard. The guard from USC is an exceptional pass protector, and has played power 5 snaps since his freshman year in 2017.
- Round 5 Pick 154: Jaelyn Duncan, Offensive Tackle (Maryland)
- Round 6 Pick 183: DJ Dale, Defensive Tackle (Alabama)
- Round 6 Pick 194: Clayton Tune, Quarterback (Houston)