Which of the eight NFL Detroit Lions draft picks for 2023 will have the most impact over the course of his rookie year?
Many people have described the 2023 Detroit Lions NFL Draft class as an immediate impact group of players. And while I tend to agree, I don’t necessarily think that was design. If you’re to believe the reports out of the draft, it appears the Lions’ initial intention was to draft Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, who likely wouldn’t be an immediate starter after Detroit’s cornerback was overhauled in free agency.
But plans are changing, and the Lions seemed ready for it. Instead, they moved downhill, grabbed some extra drawing assets, and got a player who looked like they were going to die: running back Jahmir Gibbs. And completed this selection at the age of 18 was the best player in the ranks of this team Jack Campbell. That night, Lions general manager Brad Holmes made it clear with both players: They would see the field immediately.
“We feel really confident about the work that we’re doing and what these guys are going to do in the field,” Holmes said Thursday night. “I think our fans are going to be really proud and really excited about what they see. I’m not saying like a year or two ago, we think these guys are ready to go now.”
But their choices of immediate impact didn’t end there. They added tight end Sam LaPorta with three draft picks in Round 2 – immediately putting him in contention to enter TE1 into training camp. And while the next two options — defensive back Brian Branch and quarterback Hendon Hooker — are likely to be long-term, it’s possible that Detroit got a first-year contributor at the end of Day 2 with defensive tackle Broderick Martin.
So today’s question is:
Which black junior will have the most impact in the first year?
my answer: If we’re talking snap charges, I’m not sure anyone would see the field more than linebacker Jack Campbell. This team obviously thinks he’s going to be a breakout player, and that could mean playing nearly 100 percent of the snaps in as many games as possible the first year.
Production is another beast. The Lions put both Gibbs and Laporta in favorable positions for the effects of their rookie season. Gibbs gets a strong offensive line in front of him, a solid rushing complement in David Montgomery, and a slew of weapons to draw attention away from him. LaPorta benefits from a coaching staff full of guys who specialize in tight ends, and players like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds and, eventually, Jameson Williams, occupy the defences. Having creative offensive coordinator Ben Johnson orchestrate the best ways to get both players into open space will also help.
In the end, I’d have to go with the most obvious answer here. There’s a reason Joe Holmes went crazy back in the war room when they recruited Jahmer Gibbs. They have big plans for this player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he delivers the kind of 80-reception rookie performance that both Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara achieved in their inaugural rookie seasons.
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