Detroit Lions Mock Draft Roundup 6.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our Detroit Lions Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Detroit Lions from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Lions:

CBS Sports - Chris Trapasso (3/9)

6. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Here's how I'd link Levis to the Lions: Detroit's GM Brad Holmes was with the Rams organization forever -- dating back to the St. Louis days -- before taking the job in the Motor City. Guess who he spent three years with in Los Angeles? Liam Coen. Who's Liam Coen? Levis' former offensive coordinator at Kentucky. [Michael Scott voice]: Boom. Roasted.

18. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Maybe a touch smaller and not quite as athletic as the other marquee corners in this class, Witherspoon sinks a bit, and the Lions are happy to grab someone with as clean of film as the Illinois star.

ESPN - Todd McShay (3/7)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

I know I keep using the 6.2 yards allowed per play number for the Lions, but it was the NFL's sixth-worst number for the past decade. Armed with a pair of first-rounders and a chunk of cap space, Detroit has to get better on that side of the ball. It has gotten up-and-down production from Jeff Okudah, the team's top-three pick in 2020, and the other corner spot is open with Amani Oruwariye primed to be a free agent next week.

At 6-1 and 197 pounds, Gonzalez confirmed the speed and explosion we saw on tape during the combine. He posted a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical and 11-foot-1 in the broad. And with four interceptions in 2022, he can make plays on the ball.

18. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

We already gave the Lions a corner, so a mini-run at the position won't affect them. They still need defensive support, so give me Van Ness. While he never started a game at Iowa, he played a lot for the Hawkeyes, averaging 450 snaps per season over two years. And Van Ness turned that into seven sacks in each campaign. Add that production to an edge rush group that already includes 2022 picks Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, and the Lions could be set to improve on the 39 sacks they generated in 2022 (tied for 18th).

It was no surprise when Van Ness tested well in Indianapolis. He has the quickness, power and versatility to dominate in the NFL. - Lance Zierlein (3/7)

6. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The sixth overall pick would seem like a ripe trade-in spot to get the last of the "big four" quarterbacks, but Detroit sits tight and grabs the ballhawking cornerback out of Illinois.

18. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Let's go! The talented Longhorn back combines power and wiggle -- and he can have a similar impact on an offense to what we saw this past season from Josh Jacobs in Las Vegas. Baller move here, Brad Holmes!

The Athletic - Dane Brugler (3/7)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Tall, long and can run — that's a great place to start with a cornerback. At 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds with 32-inch arms, Gonzalez ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine and added outstanding jumps (41.5-inch vertical, 11-foot-1 broad). The numbers are great; the tape is even better. Gonzalez's fluidity, ball skills and toughness would match up well with what the Lions are looking for in a first-round cornerback.

18. Calijah Kancey, IDL, Pittsburgh

In his previous role, Lions general manager Brad Holmes was a driving force in the Rams drafting Aaron Donald. Fast-forward 10 years to the present and Pitt has produced another undersized defensive lineman that checks a lot of the same boxes. There is only one Donald, but Kancey has the quickness, play violence and work ethic that will appeal to Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell.

USA Today - Nate Davis (3/7)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

While the fresh questions about his character were fodder for the white-hot combine spotlight, it's premature to take Carter off the board and, frankly, out of the first round given his prodigious, scheme-diverse ability. And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has gambled on talent in the face of serious allegations before, former Seattle DE Frank Clark, a second-round selection in 2015, a notable example. From a purely football perspective, Carter is basically made to order — especially after QB Geno Smith agreed Monday to re-sign, meaning Carroll and GM John Schneider don't have to burn this selection obtained in the Russell Wilson trade on another passer. But reinforcements for a defense that hasn't ranked better than 22nd since 2018 are long overdue. The 6-3, 300-pounder's sack numbers (3 last year) won't wow you. But the All-American is cat-quick, lines up at all points along the front, can push the pocket and gets exceptional penetration and is especially effective at swallowing running backs.

18. Calijah Kancey, IDL, Pittsburgh

When you think undersized Pitt interior D-linemen who live behind the line of scrimmage ... OK, OK, let's not saddle Kancey with the Aaron Donald comparison. But let's celebrate the 6-1, 281-pounder who dropped a 4.67-second 40 at the combine after posting 14½ sacks and 27½ TFLs for the Panthers over the past two years combined. Now imagine adding the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year to the middle of a Detroit defense featuring Aidan Hutchinson and all the opposing attention he merits on the edge.

The 33rd Team (3/7)

TRADE - 9. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The Lions need help on defense, especially in the secondary. Devon Witherspoon gives them a top-level athlete to hold down on of their corner spots for years to come. It would not be shocking if they picked a corner again in this draft to put that position to rest.

18. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

The Lions run this pick in to get the best running back in the draft, Bijan Robinson. Robinson is not only a runner but can be dynamic in the passing game.

Bleacher Report (3/7)

6. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Detroit Lions are another squad with competent-to-good quarterback play yet should still consider eventually moving on from their current starter.

Jared Goff has done quite well while wearing Honolulu blue. He's certainly played better than expected. But the same concerns that existed with the Los Angeles Rams haven't gone away completely.

Goff thrives when he's working within a system and getting support from a strong surrounding cast. He's never going to be the guy who creates something out of nothing and truly elevates those around him. As such, the Lions should take a swing on a far more physically gifted option in Kentucky's Will Levis.

"Levis—alongside Anthony Richardson—is a long-term potential play," Klassen said. "Levis sports a bazooka for a right arm, and his 6'4", 229-pound frame is NFL-ready.

"At his best, the 23-year-old prospect rips throws into tight windows, even when he needs to take a shot to the chest to do so. Levis' footwork and lack of consistency within his decision-making will need to be cleaned up, which will fix some of his accuracy concerns. But he'll have the time to work on those concerns, assuming he gets to sit behind Goff for a season."

The Lions can release Goff after the 2023 campaign and save $26.7 million toward the '24 salary cap.

18. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Oregon's Christian Gonzalez has continually built momentum throughout the draft process after being an early entrant to this year's class.

The underclassman does have concerns within his game, particularly how fluid he is with his change of direction and being overly grabby down the field. However, teams can't overlook just how physically gifted the cornerback is overall.

"Gonzalez brings excellent size (6'1", 197 lbs.) and length (32-inch arms) to the table," Giddings said. "Considering his size, he showed great speed with a 4.38-second effort in the 40-yard dash.

"The underclassman has very good ball skills and shows top-notch timing when playing the ball in the air. The Lions have had their fair share of issues in the cornerback room and hope that Gonzalez ends that run."

Last season, Detroit finished 30th in pass defense, with Amani Oruwariye and Mike Hughes about to enter free agency. Plus, the team still doesn't quite know what it has in Jeff Okudah.

The Lions built a solid foundation under head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. Their offensive line is one of the league's best. They're more talented at the skill positions than they have been in a long time. Aidan Hutchinson's addition a year ago gave the defense a difference-maker.

By addressing two premium positions with Levis earlier and Gonzalez here, the leap from upstart to contender could start to materialize.

Touchdown Wire - Doug Farrar (3/6)

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The backlog of cornerbacks in this class who stand over six feet tall and have ridiculous change-of-direction and ball skills for that height is like nothing I've seen before. And when you're discussing Gonzalez, Penn State's Joey Porter, and Illinois' Devon Witherspoon, any one of them might be the first at the position to go, and it's all in the eye of the beholder. We do know that the Lions are absolutely desperate for cornerback help, and Gonzalez's combination of deep coverage closing skills, short-area burst, and situational awareness would make him a great CB1 in any defense.

18. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Running backs are like life insurance: They don't matter until they do, but when they matter, they REALLY matter. And anybody automatically scoffing at the idea of taking Robinson this high due to positional concerns might want to go back to his 2022 tape, when he ran for 1,575 yards and 18 touchdowns on 257 carries, forcing an ungodly 104 missed tackles along the way, and posting 21 carries of 15 or more yards. Robinson can more than make do as a receiver and as a blocker, and it's all important. If the Lions choose to keep maxing out Jared Goff's potential, they'll need as many playmakers as possible.

Los Angeles Times - Sam Farmer (3/4)

6. Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

The Lions badly need help at cornerback but with two picks in the top 18 might wait and grab a quality pass rusher here.

18. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

Secondary is the most pressing area of need on Detroit's defense, and the Lions address it with their second pick.

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