2023 NFL Draft It’s on the books and the Detroit Lions are out with eight players drafted and a reported – but unconfirmed – 14 undrafted free agents. This brings the Lions projected player count to 89, one short of the cap set for the new season.
In this updated look at the Lions’ post-draft depth chart, we’ll include all of Detroit’s new additions and provide commentary on how each position group changes. Note: Starters will be identified with an asterisk.
beginning: Jared Goff
To maintain: Nate Sudfeld
Depth: Hendon Hooker * (Third round), Adrian Martinez * (UDFA)
The Lions added two quarterbacks during the weekend draft, selected Hooker in the third round and reportedly added Martinez as an undrafted free agent. Hooker’s ACL recovery is progressing well but it may still be a while before he’s ready to hit the field.
Look for Sudfeld to open camp as a QB2 and potentially face competition from Hooker once he’s healthy. Martinez is the perfect starting quarterback for the Scouts, and until the Hooker is healthy, Martinez has a chance to stick around — including a long-term spot on the practice squad.
running backwards (6)
Beginners: David Montgomery and Jahmer Gibbs* (First round)
To maintain: Craig Reynolds
Depth: Jeremy Jefferson, Greg Bell, Mohamed Ibrahim* (UDFA)
The Lions added two running backs, including taking Gibbs with their first pick (12th overall) while trading away former starter D’Andre Swift. Gibbs should immediately step into Swift’s vacated role, while Abraham is talented enough to challenge Reynolds for the RB3 role.
wide receiver (12)
Appetizers: Amon Ra Saint Brown, Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones
highest reserves: Jameson Williams, Calif Raymond, Antoine Green* (7th round)
Depth: Trinity Benson, Tom Kennedy, Maurice Alexander, Stanley Berryhill, Chase Cota* (UDFA), Keaton Thompson* (UDFA)
The Lions added three receivers over the weekend, and Green drafted in the seventh round with Cota and Thompson added as UDFAs. All three are oversized receivers who should compete for a deep WR-X role.
Tight End / Defender (6)
Appetizers: Brooke Wright or Sam Laporta* (Second round), Jason Cabinda (FB)
highest reserves: Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell
Depth: Derek Des Jr.
The Lions added one tight end, but they spent the No. 34 pick to grab LaPorta, a strong indication he’s headed for an important role in the Lions’ offense this season. He probably won’t open camp as a TE1 (likely a TE4) but by the end of the fall he’s expected to be the frontrunner to be the rookie in week one.
offensive line (16)
Appetizers: Taylor Dekker (LT), Jonah Jackson (LG), Frank Ragno (C), Halapolivati Faytai (RG), Penny Sewell (RT)
highest reserves: Graham Glasgow (IOL), Matt Nelson (T/G), Colby Sorsdale* (T/G, fifth round)
Depth: Obinna Eze (T), Kayode Awosika (G), Logan Stenberg (G), Ross Pierschbacher (C), Darrin Paulo (G/T), Conor Galvin* (OT, UDFA), Ryan Swoboda* (OT, UDFA), Brad Cecil* (C, UDFA)
The Lions brought in four offensive linemen, drafted Sorsdal in the fifth round, then added Galvin, Swoboda, and Cecil across the undrafted market. Sorsdal played right tackle at William & Mary, but he progressed to — and was declared a guard. Galvin was a four-year starter at left tackle at Baylor, Soboda — who clocked in at an impressive 6-foot-9 1/2 and 309 pounds — played right tackle at UCF, and Cecil is the center. The Lions now have three full lines – plus an additional player – to roam camp with.
Interior Defensive Line (8)
Appetizers: Alim MacNeil, Isaiah Bages
highest reserves: Levi Onuzoriki, Benito Jones, Broderick Martin * (Third round)
Depth: Demetrius Taylor, Corey Durden* (UDFA), Chris Smith* (UDFA)
The Lions added three inside defensive linemen, selected nose tackle Martin at the end of the third round, then clinched Durden and Smith as the UDFAs. Martin figures to challenge Benito Jones for the deep DT3/4 role – depending on Onwuzurike’s health – while adding two 3-techs could mean Taylor is split between 3T and the closed end – a role he played in college and moved into the middle of the 2022 season.
Appetizers: Aidan Hutchinson, John Kominsky, James Huston (Sam)
highest reserves: Josh Paschal, Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris
Depth: Julian Okwara (Sam), Zack Morton* (UDFA)
The Lions added only one edge pusher in this draft cycle, snapping Zach Morton after the draft concluded. An up-and-coming player, he will have a difficult hill to climb to find a role outside of the coaching staff.
Lenny Packer (8)
appetizersAlex Anzalone, Jack Campbell * (First round)
To maintain: Malcolm Rodriguez, Derek Barnes
Depth: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Anthony Bateman, Trevor Nowowski* (UDFA), Isaac D’Arcangelo* (UDFA)
After Campbell was selected with the 18th overall pick, he is almost certainly expected to retain the starting role. Rodriguez may end up being sent to the bench, but he should still see plenty of time, as the Lions rotate three players. Of all the rookies, Campbell may have the widest set of expectations. In addition to Campbell, Nowaske and Darkangelo have been added as UDFAs, and with the value the Lions place on special teams linebackers, both could get a chance to make the roster. Nowaske looks like MIKE/SAM in the Lions scheme, while Darkangelo will be more of an off-the-ball contributor.
Appetizers: Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley
To maintain: Jerry Jacobs, Will Harris (db)
Depth: McCain, Jarren Williams, Starling Thomas V* (UDFA)
The only outside corner the Lions added was UDFA Thomas outside UAB, but he also has the range he can kick inside if needed. In addition, the addition of the Lions’ big nickel could turn Harris into the outside corner, as the hole suddenly became very crowded.
Nickel/Dime Defensive Back (4)
Appetizers: CJ Gardner-Johnson (NB/S)
To maintain: Bryan Branch* (NB/S, 2nd floor)
Depth: Chase Lucas (NB), Khalil Duriri (NB)
Arguably the steal of the draft, the Lions landed the highly talented Branch with the 45th pick. Despite not having a clear path to the starting role, Branch’s prowess will get him on the field in a number of ways, including in a slot, in the box, at safety, and even as cover. Back lane.
Appetizers: Tracy Walker, Kirby Joseph
To maintain: If eat melifonwu
Depth: Siphon Smith, Brady Breeze, Brandon Joseph* (UDFA)
While Branch (and Gardner-Johnson) could technically be included in this group, the only pure safety added was Joseph Notre Dame. Joseph is a split safety zone with one high range and could be a legitimate replacement candidate for the departing CJ Moore.
Special Teams (4)
Appetizers: Jack Fox (P), Michael Badgley (K), Scott Daly (LS)
highest reserves: Jake McQuaid (LS)
It was a little surprising that the Lions didn’t add any depth to their kicking but they still have an open spot on the roster, so they might still find some competition.