Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Devon Witherspoon has been a polarizing cornerback prospect in the upcoming draft. At 6’0 and 180 lbs, there are some minor concerns that his size could limit his potential as a true CB1. On tape, however, Witherspoon demonstrates elite agility and instincts. He is reminiscent of his former college teammate and roommate, Kerby Joseph, in that sense. Pairing up this previous college duo in Detroit would bring explosiveness, chemistry, and even more grit to the Lions’ defense. As Illinois WR Casey Washington describes: “He’s always there. He’s scrappy. I think that’s a good word to describe him. If someone gets a step on him or beats him by a step, the play’s not over. Most corners if you beat them the play is over. But Spoon’s one of those guys where his effort is through the roof. His strain and finish are just unbelievable.” Does this guy sound like a Dan Campbell player or what?
Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Now this one may seem obvious considering most scouts have ranked Carter the best prospect in the draft, but with the Lions’ draft capital and the potential rush on quarterbacks, Carter could slip into a position for the Lions to make a move. After a year where the Lions’ rush defense was among the worst in the league, Carter would instantly bolster this defensive line to possibly one of the best units in the NFL. With the ability to wreak havoc in both the pass and run game, Carter may have been the best prospect on Georgia’s defensive line which also hailed 2022 first rounders Travon Walker (1st overall), Jordan Davis (13th overall), and Devonte Wyatt (28th overall). Pairing Carter with Aiden Hutchinson, James Houston, Josh Paschal, Alim McNeil, and Levi Onwuzerike would give the Lions one of the youngest defensive lines comprised of talent and top picks across the board.
Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Smith is an incredibly versatile corner who plays with energy on every snap. He played in a heavy man scheme during his time at South Carolina and excelled as a physical, long, and instinctual corner. He has drawn favorable comparisons to fellow gamecock Jaycee Horn, who has shown incredible ability since entering the NFL and was one of the better NFL cornerbacks in 2022. Smith plays with a swagger that is required of physical man corners, and it translates to his on-field performance. When asked about any second half adjustments the Gamecocks made that staggered top-ranked Tennessee, Smith was comically quoted saying, “Nothing… Just drop your nuts”. This type of confidence combined with his athletic ability should make him one of the better defensive backs to come out of the 2023 draft.