What exactly were the Detroit Lions thinking in round one?
The Detroit Lions had two first round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and made perhaps the two worst possible selections, somehow making back to back mistakes. I was absolutely shocked to see what the Lions did with their two first round picks.
Having one first round pick is great, but having two or more is amazing value and a chance to really put some elite talent on a team.
The Detroit Lions ended up trading down and made their first selection with the 12th overall pick and then picked again at pick 18. You’d have thought that General Manager Brad Holmes, who has done a great job thus far, would have made two great selections with his two first round picks.
However, that wasn’t the case. At pick 16, the Lions took RB Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama. The Lions didn’t need a running back, let alone in the first round, and Gibbs was not a first round talent. He’s fast and has good receiving ability, but I think most of us are aware of the running back value in the NFL and how it’s become less and less important for team success. I was shocked to see Holmes take that route.
Instead of Gibbs, the Lions could have continued to bolster their defense, specifically pass rushers, with an addition of Lukas Van Ness who went the pick after or even Will McDonald IV, who went a couple of picks after that.
Pass rushers are the most valuable position along the defense and would have made a lot more sense for the Detroit Lions than Jahmyr Gibbs.
They then double-down on their poor first round by taking a 23 year old inside linebacker in Jack Campbell from Iowa. The same line of thinking for running backs applies to inside linebackers. It’s simply not a very valuable position in the NFL at this point and is certainly not worthy of using a first round pick on.
The pick right after Campbell was Calijah Kancey, a talented defensive lineman. They also could have taken a wide receiver, as they’re going to be without Jameson Williams and Quintez Cephus for a few games in 2023 due to suspension.
defensive tackle Mazi Smith would have been another great option for the Lions as well.
I think my main point here is that Detroit had two first round picks and the opportunity to bring some elite talent to their roster at positions of need. Instead, they shockingly opted for two low-value positions that they didn’t need to begin with.