In a new three-round mock from NFL.com, the Detroit Lions go an interesting direction with some of the picks.
Now that the 2022 NFL season is over, it’s all-in on mock draft season for those who partake.
The Detroit Lions are in a nice draft capital position, with four of the top-60 picks in April’s draft. They have an extra first-round pick again, No. 6 overall courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams’ epic Super Bowl hangover.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com is out with a new three-round 2023 mock draft. No. 6 overall is a pretty easy pick–Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
Usually there’s a cornerback who takes a big leap (figuratively and literally) at the NFL Scout Combine — my guess is that’s Gonzalez this year. The Oregon defender’s size (6-2, 201) and athleticism will likely impress scouts, who, if they haven’t devoured it already, will then turn to the tape where they’ll see aggressive play and very good ball skills. Gonzalez could help alleviate some of the pressure on the Lions’ previous top-10 corner selection, Jeff Okudah.
Detroit Lions go interesting directions in 3-round mock
At No. 18, Reuter has the Lions taking Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer.
Mayer might end up as the second tight end off the board because he is not as quick-twitch as Dalton Kincaid and others at his position. The Lions happily select the Notre Dame standout, though, as his reliability as a pass-catcher and tenacious blocking remind me of Ravens star Mark Andrews.
A lot of national writers have the Lions taking a tight end early in mock drafts, which seems to ignore they are unlikely to do it. Drafting a tight end is surely in play, but first round is a little much–no matter how good people think Mayer is/will be.
In the second round, with picks 48 and 55, Reuter has the Lions going defense then to a position of long-term need on offense.
Pick No. 48 here is Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell. He is the brother of Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell, but he’s a good player in his own right. The Lions could certainly use another impactful young linebacker to pair with Malcolm Rodriguez.
At pick No. 55, Reuter has the Lions taking UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet.
Charbonnet transferred from Michigan after the 2020 season, and posted 1,137 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2021. Then he was even better last season, when he led the Pac-12 with 1,359 yards as he also had 14 touchdowns. With Jamaal Williams not a long-term answer (even if he’s re-signed) and D’Andre Swift entering the final year of his rookie contract, the Lions could add a running back in this year’s draft.
Finally, in the third round at pick 81, Reuter has the Lions taking Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee.
McKee has NFL size (6-foot-6, 228 pounds), and his tools are intriguing. A lack of talent around him at Stanford put a significant ceiling on his production. Still, he is an interesting developmental prospect for the Lions. But in another sense, if the Lions are going to draft a quarterback a third-round pick feels like a half-measure. Especially when there might be a bolder, earlier move on the table.
Three offensive players and two defenders is definitely an interesting direction for the Lions to go in the first three rounds, even if it’s only a mock draft.