After nearly making the postseason in 2022, the Detroit Lions profile as an up-and-coming team heading into next year. How many picks did they have in the 2023 NFL Draft, and did they use them to take the next step in their evolution?
Want to see how the Lions graded out during the 2023 NFL Draft? Check out our full Detroit Lions draft grades, then take a look at the entire 2023 NFL Draft results.
Detroit Lions Draft Picks by Round in 2023
- Round 1 | Pick 12 (from ARI via HOU)
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
- Round 1 | Pick 18 overall
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
- Round 2 | Pick 34 overall
Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
- Round 2, Pick 45 overall (from GB)
Brian Branch, S, Alabama
- Round 3 | Pick 68 (from DEN)
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
- Round 3 | Pick 96 (from ARI)
Brodric Martin, DT, Western Kentucky
- Round 5, Pick 152 overall
Colby Sorsdal, OT, William & Mary
- Round 7, Pick 219 (from PHI)
Antoine Green, WR, North Carolina
How Many Draft Picks Did the Lions Have in the 2023 NFL Draft?
The Lions had eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Four of those picks were within the first two rounds, and six were within the top 100, giving Detroit much early-round capital to work with.
Although they entered the draft owning the No. 6 pick as a result of the Matthew Stafford trade, the Lions shipped that pick to the Cardinals in Round 1, picking up choices No. 12 (first round), No. 34 (second round), and No. 168 (fifth round).
MORE: History of Detroit Lions First-Round NFL Draft Picks
But Detroit wasn’t done moving around the board, as they made three trades in Round 2. First, they moved up for safety Brian Branch, sending a fifth-rounder to the Packers to go from pick No. 48 to No. 45.
Their next two swaps involved trades down. The Lions sent picks 55 and 194 to the Chiefs in exchange for Nos. 63, 122, and 249. However, they didn’t hold onto No. 63 for long, trading it (plus No. 183) to the Broncos for Nos. 68 and 139.
Detroit made a few more deals on Days 2 and 3. They moved up for defensive tackle Brodric Martin by sending pick Nos. 122, 139, and 168 to Arizona for No. 96. Then, they traded running back D’Andre Swift and a 2023 seventh (No. 249) to the Eagles for a 2023 seventh (No. 219) and a 2025 fourth.
Who Did the Lions Draft in 2023?
The Lions eschewed positional value with their early picks, declining to select a cornerback, edge rusher, or wide receiver in favor of adding a running back, off-ball linebacker, and tight end. But Detroit’s first three selections all project to become immediate contributors in Year 1.
Jahmyr Gibbs will battle David Montgomery for the Lions’ starting running back role. Even if he receives fewer carries, Gibbs should be a weapon in the passing game, and his home-run speed will allow him to find the end zone. The same goes for second-round tight end Sam LaPorta, whose only obstacles to a starting role are Brock Wright and James Mitchell.
MORE: Detroit Lions 2023 Schedule
Jack Campbell’s presence likely means that Malcolm Rodriguez, who easily outperformed his sixth-round draft capital as a rookie in 2022, will be shifted into a backup role. Meanwhile, Brian Branch might not be a Day 1 starter, but his versatility to play either safety or in the slot will allow him to pick up snaps as the year progresses.
Detroit entered the draft potentially searching for a franchise quarterback of the future, but they ended up with more of a lottery ticket in the third round. Hendon Hooker is expected to take a “redshirt” year in 2023 as he recovers from a November ACL injury. He’s unlikely to see snaps next season unless Jared Goff gets injured — even then, Hooker might be behind Nate Sudfeld on the Lions’ depth chart.