Bryce Young, QB (Alabama)
If the Lions end up picking first overall, this is who I want them to draft! Bryce Young has the rare potential to become a generational talent at the next level. Young has one of the best arms, which shows when he releases the ball on each pass attempt. The confidence and swagger that comes with being accurate is exactly what any NFL team wants; however, it is Young’s poise in the pocket, leadership qualities and humble nature that makes him into an amazing candidate for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Young has seen a slight drop in production this season, but the 2021 Heisman winner also lost some of his favorite targets in Jameson Williams (who is on the Lions) and John Metchie III. Although there is a drop in his numbers from a season ago, Young still ranks top 10 in QBR (86.7) and is tied for 12th in passing touchdowns (18).
Will Anderson Jr., Edge (Alabama)
Will Anderson Jr. is my favorite overall draft prospect; however, after drafting Aidan Hutchinson last year with the second overall pick, I feel that the Lions have to upgrade at the quarterback position first in order to truly put wins in the wins column. Anderson’s quickness off the line of scrimmage is so unique and unheard of for anyone his size, and reminds me a lot of San Francisco’s Nick Bosa. Anderson uses that get-off and speed, and combines it perfectly with strength and power to create a disruptive force that is almost unblockable. While Anderson is constantly at the quarterback wreaking havoc, his numbers reflect this as well, recording 17.5 sacks in 2021 and 81 total quarterback pressures.
CJ Stroud, QB (Ohio State)
After playing little as a freshman, CJ Stroud saw action in 12 games in 2021 for the Buckeyes, as he threw for 4,424 yards on 443 attempts with a completion percentage of 71.6. Stroud was brilliant, recording a huge 44 TDs, while taking 12 sacks, and a QB rating of 130.8. After leading the statistically best offense in the nation in 2021 at Ohio State, Stroud was awarded the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. In 2022, Stroud’s production is once again not disappointing, ranking first in both passing touchdowns (28) and QBR (92.6). With great tangible qualities, athleticism and arm talent, Stroud is a guy who could become the face of any NFL franchise, including the Detroit Lions.
Will Levis, QB (Kentucky)
I think it is pretty clear by this name, that quarterback is definitely the main priority. No shame on Jared Goff, but the Lions need a true day-in-and-day-out superstar at the position in order to improve as a whole. Will Levis out of Kentucky is an interesting prospect for sure. While Young and Stroud have the repertoire and the records, Levis is perplexing due to his quickly improving nature and skillset. Transferring from Penn State after his freshman year, Levis has quickly improved and developed an athletic NFL level skill set, which is excellent for a high first round grade. He has become a top notch passer with great strength and accuracy, and also shows elite footwork in the pocket, allowing him to scramble around and make plays with his legs. While Young and Stroud are definitely the one and two’s at the quarterback position, Levis has placed himself right behind those guys at the three spot, making him an attractive candidate.
Jalen Carter, DL (Georgia)
Contributing to the best defense is one thing, but being the best defensive player on the best defensive team is immaculate, and that is what Georgia nose tackle Jalen Carter provides. With a bowling-ball frame, strong core and powerful hands to shed blockers, Carter highlights his impressive strength, power and instinctual nature that allows him to make plays on the ball and quarterback. In addition, his bowling-ball frame combined with his good feet and agility makes him capable of working down the line of scrimmage in pressure pursuit. While Carter does have nice feet, his suddenness and burst off the snap needs work and improvement; however, with development from an NFL staff, Carter is sure to develop that acceleration, making him an elite defensive prospect that can shine for years to come.