The Detroit Lions took a bad loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 16 but will still head into next week with two projected top-18 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. They have the Los Angeles Rams’ first-round pick, and the Rams are having a much worse season than Detroit is. The Lions still have a path to the playoffs and could select as high as No. 2 if the Rams continue losing.
Lions draft order: No. 7, No. 18 picks
The Rams' selection was projected to be No. 4 heading into the week. They beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday and beat them. That coupled with Arizona’s loss to the Bucs moved the pick to No. 7. Detroit also will hold the No. 18 pick with their loss.
Lions mock draft: DL Jalen Carter, Georgia and CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
Detroit’s first pick could go a number of ways and it all depends on what happens ahead of them. They could decide to move on from Jared Goff and go after Bryce Young or CJ Stroud if they fall. EDGE rusher Will Anderson could fall into their laps, but I think it is more likely that Jalen Carter is there. Goff has been fine this year, and the offense hasn't been the issue for the majority of the season. The defense, however, has. Carter helps them further shore up their defensive line anchored by Aidan Hutchinson.
For their second first-round pick, they are commonly mocked TE Michael Mayer from Notre Dame. They could look to replace T.J. Hockenson that way, but I think they stay with addressing the defense. While not the top corner in this draft, Smith would be able to start Week 1 for Detroit and they need something to spark this defensive unit that got off to a freezing-cold start in 2022.