Detroit Lions 2023 draft class lands in top-10 of an analyst’s ranking

SideLion Report

For all the criticsm of the Detroit Lions’ first round approach, one analyst has ranked their 2023 draft class in the top-10 of the league.

The Detroit Lions approach to the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft was widely derided as flatly ignoring modern positional value at their own peril, by taking a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) and an off-the-ball linebacker (Jack Campbell). It’s also clear they don’t care about that perception, not that they should care.

For many of those same analysts who didn’t like the Lions’ first-round picks, they rescued their ultimate immediate post-draft grades with a very strong Day 2 (tight end Sam LaPorta, defensive back Brian Branch, quarterback Hendon Hooker, defensive tackle Brodric Martin). Overall, the end result post-draft grades haven’t been too bad.

In terms of adding sheer talent and immediate or potential future starters to the roster in the draft, the Lions appear to have accomplished that quite well.

Detroit Lions 2023 draft class lands in top-10 of NFL.com list

Eric Edholm of NFL.com is out with his 2023 draft class rankings. Where the Lions land was hard to easily predict, and it would’ve been easy to just scroll to the somewhere in the middle of the pack to start.

But alas, there at No. 9, is the Lions with a B grade. Only four teams got an A- or better from Edholm, which seems reasonable as draft grades go.

Edholm mentions the Lions ignoring the positional value idea in the first round, as expected, while also saying it’s “hard to argue Detroit wasn’t better by the end of Round 1.”

Out of eight picks, the Lions drafted four or five players who could have notable roles right away as rookies. In three cases (Gibbs, Campbell, LaPorta) it’s a virtual lock, and Branch should see the field plenty too. Final Day 2 draft pick Martin could get a chance to step into a rotational role at nose tackle immediately.

You’d think drafting a wide swath of talent like the Lions did would garner better than a B grade. But Edholm ranked the division rival Minnesota Vikings’ draft class dead last in the league, so maybe it’s not worth quibbling over too much.

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