Leading up to the NFL Draft, SIS will be publishing team previews for those with Top 10 picks in the draft. Each preview will look at the players who most make sense for that team at that selection based on stats and scouting factors and will include quotes from that player’s scouting report.
You can find more than 300 scouting reports and much more team analysis at our NFL Draft website.
The State of the Lions:
The Detroit Lions have strung together two outstanding Draft classes in the Brad Holmes/Dan Campbell era, and are looking to make it a third in 2023. Although they missed the playoffs last season, they finished with a winning record and won 8 of their last 10 to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs and nearly make it themselves. If they can finish close games, win the games they are supposed to, and continue building the team the right way, look for this team to compete for NFC North titles and make runs in the playoffs in the immediate future.
Witherspoon has the press-man coverage and ball skills to be a solid starter in any NFL defense, but he will need to improve his open-field tackling and off-man ability to hit his ceiling as a true No. 1, shutdown corner.
Even with the additions Detroit has made in the secondary this free agent period, and especially now with Jeff Okudah traded away, there’s a good chance they add to it with their first pick. Witherspoon is a physical, press-man corner who should thrive in Detroit’s defensive scheme.
Gonzalez is a versatile corner with the reactive athleticism, speed, and ball skills to make a huge impact in the NFL, but he may struggle with bigger targets at times.
Arguably the best cover corner in this Draft, Gonzalez would fill a huge long-term hole at corner that they haven’t had since Darius Slay. Plus, he’s got the versatility to work inside and outside.
There are almost no flaws in Carter’s on-field play and with an increased effort and professionalism combined with his ability to force teams to change gameplans, he can put himself in the NFL DPOY discussion every year.
The Lions are revamping their defensive front with hard-nosed football players. If Carter can shore up the off-field issues and play with a more consistent motor, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with and improve upon Detroit’s last-ranked DT position group in Total Points.
Anderson has impressed from his first game at Alabama to his last as a deadly pass rusher and strong run defender, and he has everything it takes to be a top-end EDGE at the next level.
With the talk that Tyree Wilson is rated higher than Anderson on some team’s boards and the possibility that 4 QBs go in the top 4-5 picks, there’s a real chance that Anderson could be here at No. 6 on Draft night. It could be the third straight season that arguably the best player in the Draft falls to the Lions (Penei Sewell in 2021 and Aidan Hutchinson in 2022).
Wilson is a long, strong power rusher who can rush the quarterback and defend the run, but a lack of speed and agility may be traits that hold him back early in his career.
Wilson’s versatility allows him to be a moveable piece along the line against both the run and pass and would be a great addition opposite Aidan Hutchinson along Detroit’s defensive front.To learn more about the Lions and their needs, visit their team page on our NFL Draft website here.