American Football

Updated Detroit Lions depth chart: Post-2023 NFL draft edition


Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

A closer look at how the Detroit Lions roster stacks up after the conclusion of the 2023 NFL draft.

The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and the Detroit Lions walked away with eight drafted players and a reported—but unconfirmed—14 undrafted free agents. That brings the Lions projected roster up to 89 players, one short of the maximum allotment for the offseason.

In this updated look at the Lions’ post-draft depth chart, we will include all of Detroit’s new additions and provide commentary about how each position group has changed. Note: rookies will be identified with an asterisk.

Quarterback (4)

Starter: Jared Goff
Top reserve: Nate Sudfeld
Depth: Hendon Hooker* (third round), Adrian Martinez* (UDFA)

The Lions added two quarterbacks over draft weekend, selecting Hooker in the third round and reportedly adding Martinez as an undrafted free agent. Hooker’s ACL recovery is progressing well but it may still be a while before he is ready to take the field.

Look for Sudfeld to open camp as QB2 and potentially face competition from Hooker once he is healthy. Martinez is an ideal scout team quarterback, and until Hooker is healthy, Martinez has a chance to stick around—including a potential long-term spot on the practice squad.

Running back (6)

Co-Starters: David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs* (first round)
Top reserve: Craig Reynolds
Depth: Jermar Jefferson, Greg Bell, Mohamed Ibrahim* (UDFA)

The Lions added two backs, including taking Gibbs with their first pick (No. 12 overall) while trading away former co-starter D’Andre Swift. Gibbs should immediately step into Swift’s vacated role, while Ibrahim is talented enough to challenge Reynolds for the RB3 role.

Wide receiver (12)

Starters: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones
Top reserves: Jameson Williams, Kalif Raymond, Antoine Green* (seventh round)
Depth: Trinity Benson, Tom Kennedy, Maurice Alexander, Stanley Berryhill, Chase Cota* (UDFA), Keytaon Thompson* (UDFA)

The Lions added three receivers over the weekend, drafting Green in the seventh round while adding Cota and Thompson as UDFAs. All three are big-bodied receivers who should compete for a depth WR-X role.

Tight end/Fullback (6)

Starters: Brock Wright or Sam LaPorta* (second round), Jason Cabinda (FB)
Top reserves: Shane Zylstra, James Mitchell
Depth: Derrick Deese Jr.

The Lions only added one tight end, but they spent the No. 34 pick to grab LaPorta, a strong indicator he is headed for an important role in the Lions’ offense this season. He likely won’t open camp as TE1 (it’ll probably be TE4) but by the end of the fall, he’ll be expected to be the front-runner to be the starter in Week 1.

Offensive line (16)

Starters: Taylor Decker (LT), Jonah Jackson (LG), Frank Ragnow (C), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (RG), Penei Sewell (RT)
Top reserves: Graham Glasgow (IOL), Matt Nelson (T/G), Colby Sorsdal* (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, drafting Sorsdal in the fifth round, then adding Galvin, Swoboda, and Cecil via the undrafted market. Sorsdal played right tackle at William & Mary, but he projects to—and was announced as a—guard. Galvin was a four-year starter at left tackle at Baylor, Swoboda—who checks in at an impressive 6-foot-9 1/2, 309 pounds—played right tackle at UCF, and Cecil is a center. The Lions now have three complete lines—plus one additional player—to roll through camp with.

Interior defensive line (8)

Starters: Alim McNeill, Isaiah Buggs
Top reserves: Levi Onwuzurike, Benito Jones, Brodric Martin* (3rd round)
Depth: Demetrius Taylor, Cory Durden* (UDFA), Chris Smith* (UDFA)

The Lions added three interior defensive linemen, selecting nose tackle Martin at the end of the third round, then grabbing Durden and Smith as UDFAs. Martin figures to challenge Benito Jones for a depth DT3/4 role—depending on Onwuzurike’s health—while adding two 3-techniques could mean Taylor split looks between the 3T and closed end—a role he played in college and shifted to mid-2022 season.

EDGE (8)

Starters: Aidan Hutchinson, John Cominsky, James Houston (SAM)
Top reserves: Josh Paschal, Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris
Depth: Julian Okwara (SAM), Zach Morton* (UDFA)

The Lions only added one edge rusher in this draft cycle, picking up Zach Morton following the conclusion of the draft. An upside player, he will have a tough hill to climb to find a role beyond the practice squad.

Linebacker (8)

Starters: Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell* (first round)
Top reserve: Malcolm Rodriguez, Derrick Barnes
Depth: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Anthony Pittman, Trevor Nowaske* (UDFA), Isaac Darkangelo* (UDFA)

After selecting Campbell with the No. 18 overall pick, he is almost certainly projected to hold down a starting role. This may end up sending Rodriguez to the bench, but he should still see plenty of time, as the Lions rotate three linebackers. Of all the rookies, Campbell may have the biggest set of expectations placed on him. In addition to Campbell, Nowaske and Darkangelo were added as UDFAs, and with the value the Lions place on linebackers playing special teams, both could have a shot to make the roster. Nowaske looks like a MIKE/SAM in the Lions scheme, while Darkangelo will be more of an off-the-ball contributor.

Cornerback (7)

Starters: Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley
Top reserve: Jerry Jacobs, Will Harris (DB)
Depth: Mac McCain, Jarren Williams, Starling Thomas V* (UDFA)

The only outside corner the Lions added was UDFA Thomas out of UAB, but he also has the range to kick inside if necessary. Additionally, the Lions’ big addition at nickel could end up shifting Harris to the outside corner, as the slot is suddenly very crowded.

Nickel/Dime defensive back (4)

Starters: C.J. Gardner-Johnson (NB/S)
Top reserve: Brian Branch* (NB/S, second round)
Depth: Chase Lucas (NB), Khalil Dorery (NB)

Arguably the steal of the draft, the Lions landed the highly talented Branch with pick No. 45. While there isn’t a clear path to a starting role, Branch’s versatility will get him on the field in a variety of ways, including in the slot, in the box, at safety, and even as a pass cover linebacker.

Safety (6)

Starters: Tracy Walker, Kerby Joseph
Top reserve: Ifeatu Melifonwu
Depth: Saivion Smith, Brady Breeze, Brandon Joseph* (UDFA)

While Branch (and Gardner-Johnson) could technically be listed in this group, the only pure safety added was Notre Dame’s Joseph. Joseph is a split-zone safety with single-high range and could be a legitimate replacement candidate for the departed C.J. Moore.

Special teams (4)

Starters: Jack Fox (P), Michael Badgley (K), Scott Daly (LS)
Top reserves: Jake McQuaide (LS)

It was a bit surprising that the Lions didn’t add any kicker depth but they do still have a roster spot open, so they may still find some competition.

At a glance look at the Lions’ post-draft roster

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