Lions look to build on recent success in NFL Draft

Yardbarker

After picking 12 starters or major contributors in the past three drafts, the Detroit Lions will try to match that success April 25-27 at the NFL Draft in downtown Detroit.

The 2021 through 2023 drafts were the first such collaborations of general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. Among the players selected by Detroit were All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell and All-Pro wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in 2021, Pro Bowl edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson in 2022 and Pro Bowl running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta in 2023.

Of course, because of their success last season — a 12-5 regular-season record and berth in the NFC Championship Game — it will be more challenging for the Lions, whose first-round pick is not until the 29th overall selection. 

While Detroit’s needs seem to dictate that it take either an offensive lineman for depth purposes, a cornerback or another edge-rusher to play opposite of Hutchinson, Holmes and Campbell have proved they will do the unexpected. 

In 2023, they took Gibbs with the 12th overall pick and a tight end in LaPorta in the second round with the 34th selection. 

The Lions have seven picks this year, one in each of the first three rounds, one in the fifth, two in the sixth round and one in the seventh. Their third-round pick (73rd overall) is from the Minnesota Vikings and their first pick in the sixth round (201st) is from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Detroit has shown it can find gold in the later rounds.

In 2021, the Lions selected St. Brown in the fourth round (112th), defensive tackle Alim McNeill in the third round (No. 72) and linebacker Derrick Barnes with the pick after St. Brown. In 2022, the Lions picked edge-rusher James Houston in the sixth round (217th pick).

This is not a mock draft piece, so there will be no speculation about any specific players the Lions might select. But for Detroit to continue the dramatic improvement it has shown the past two seasons, it would be in its best interest to find at least three or four more quality and contributing players in this year’s draft.

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