Lions land QB and DB in Todd McShay’s first model draft of 2023
The Detroit Lions are in the midst of a playoff race, but there are plenty of teams turning the page going into the 2023 season, and that means the mock draft season is heating up. Last week, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler released its first mock draft of the season and we restarted the Lions’ mock draft streak over the weekend.
On Tuesday, ESPN got in on the action and Todd McShea dropped the first mock draft of the 2023 season (dollar subscription required). Like most mock draft picks being produced right now, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, and Alabama rusher Will Anderson were all off the plate in the top three picks, leaving the Lions with some interesting options to choose from. No. 4 in general.
Let’s take a look at who McShay cut the Lions with from their first-round picks.
Round 1, pick 4 (across rams): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Stroud is a very popular choice for Lions at the moment. In the latest mock draft report, 10 of the 12 mock draft picks we looked at all went with the Ohio State signal caller.
Let’s hear from McShay and his reasons for anticipation:
Everything fell perfectly for the Lions here, allowing them to draft their own future caller signal without moving. Stroud has thrown 37 touchdown passes this season—and he still has up to two games left—and ranks third in the nation in QBR (87.7). Jared Goff has played well under the late center position, but it’s not a long-term solution.Stroud – who makes good decisions with the football, has great touch and has a great arm – could learn behind Goff for a season before he moves to Detroit and builds around a talented passer in a trade Rookie. Detroit has a top five offense right now (26.2 points per game), and a very good support staff is already there.”
While there is a clear case for the Lions catching Stroud with the future in mind, Goff didn’t just “play well,” he played beyond expectations. Indeed, Goff has taken control of this offense, and he’s making the case for Detroit’s longevity, and there are compelling counterpoints that the Lions should build around Goff in the near future.
It will be interesting to see if draft analysts change their tune if the Lions pick moves into the top three, and/or if Goff continues to up his game.
With the Lions next pick, McShay selected Detroit…
First round, Pick 16: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Once again, McShay sticks to the majority of mock drafts with his selection of Porter, who was the Lions’ most anticipated player at that spot in the latest model draft roundup, including being paired with Detroit’s Brugler and former POD starter, Kent Lee Platte, with out now Pro Football Network.
Let’s go back to McShay for his reasons:
Well, it’s time to take on the Lions defense. We’re all excited about Will Levis’ (sic) potential on that offense, but if they keep giving up 6.2 yards per game (last in the NFL), it won’t matter much. Jeff Okudah has been up And down after being the No. 3 overall pick in 2020, Amani Oruwariye and Mike Hughes are both projected to be free agents in the spring. This defense has more flexibility in the scheme. He hasn’t had a pick this season, but he’s caught 11 passes. Detroit walks away in Round 1 with two hard-core, physical playmakers on both sides of the ball.”
It’s a bit surprising that McShay didn’t have a corner coming off the plate until pick #16, but it’s even more exciting to have Porter as his top corner. Most of the experts who put up the early big boards have Porter as a surefire first rounder, but Brugler and The Draft Network have him as a third cornerback, PFF lists him fourth, and Platte Network lists him second.
Also, it’s worth addressing the editing issue in the second sentence, as it indicates that the Lions selected Levis instead of his actual pick, Stroud, in pick No. 4. Stroud is generally known as a QB2 in this class, but as the draft process unfolds, don’t be surprised if She began seeing Levis mock him for his “NFL traits”. It’s very likely that McShay originally had the Lions take on Levis—who went sixth overall to the Falcons in his mock draft—but switched it up, and lost the adjustment in the Lions’ division.
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