Detroit Lions Season Preview 2023: Roster, Schedule, Expectations & More

Detroit Lions Season Preview 2023: Roster, Schedule, Expectations & More
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Here is your Detroit Lions Season Preview with everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 season

The Detroit Lions enter 2023 after finishing on a high in 2022. They were the hottest team in the league down the stretch and didn’t want the season to end, falling one game short of being a dangerous wildcard team. Having managed to keep hold of both coordinators under HC Dan Campbell, they now look to retool and go again in a wide open NFC North. What’s more, they’ve done it with six of their eight draft picks coming in the top 100 picks overall, building throughout the defence as well as offensive skill positions. They even took a flyer on their potential next QB, Hendon Hooker.

2023 Schedule

  • Week 1: @ Kansas City
  • Week 2: Seattle
  • Week 3: Atlanta
  • Week 4: @ Green Bay
  • Week 5: Carolina
  • Week 6: @ Tampa Bay
  • Week 7: @ Baltimore
  • Week 8: Las Vegas
  • Week 9: Bye
  • Week 10: @ Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 11: Chicago
  • Week 12: Green Bay
  • Week 13: New Orleans
  • Week 14: @ Chicago
  • Week 15: Denver
  • Week 16: @ Minnesota
  • Week 17: @ Dallas
  • Week 18: Minnesota

Coaching Staff

GM: Brad Holmes; HC: Dan Campbell; OC: Ben Johnson; DC: Aaron Glenn; ST: Dave Fipp

Players In

Via Trade – Denzel Mims (WR) & Antoine Green (WR)

Free Agents – Emmanuel Moseley (CB), Graham Glasgow (G), Jake McQuaide (LS), Chauncey Gardner-Jonson (S), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (OLB), Marvin Jones (WR), Christian Covington (DT), John Parker Romo (K) & Germain Ifedi (RT)

Draft Picks

  • Round 1, Pick 12 – Jahmyr Gibbs (RB, Alabama)
  • Round 1, Pick 18 – Jack Campbell (LB, Iowa)
  • Round 2, Pick 34 – Sam LaPorta (TE, Iowa)
  • Round 2, Pick 45 – Brian Branch (CB, Alabama)
  • Round 3, Pick 68 – Hendon Hooker (QB, Tennessee)
  • Round 3, Pick 96 – Broderic Martin (DT, Western Kentucky)
  • Round 5, Pick 152 – Colby Sorsdal (OT, William & Mary)
  • Round 7, Pick 219 – Antoine Green (WR, North Carolina)

Players Out

D.J. Chark (WR), Jamaal Williams (RB), Amani Oruwariye (CB), Matt Nelson (T) & Alex Anzalone (ILB)

Projected Starters

QB – Jared Goff

RB – David Montgomery

WR – Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones Jr & Amon-Ra St Brown

TE – Sam LaPorta

OL – Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai & Penei Sewell

DL – John Cominsky, Isaiah Buggs, Alim McNeil & Aiden Hutchinson

LB – Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell & James Houston

Secondary – Emmanuel Moseley, Kerby Joseph, Tracy Walker III, Cameron Sutton & C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Despite adding a couple of cornerbacks, the secondary could still do with strengthening, particularly on the outside. Additionally, a lot is expected of rookie Brodric Martin. If he can develop into a starter, defensive line will be solid enough but it is a point of weakness until he can prove himself as a solid starter. There is also no depth at Tight End behind second round rookie draft pick Sam LaPorta. Even after adding Jahmyr Gibbs, the backfield seems weaker than last year, having added Gibbs and David Montgomery to replace D’Andre Swift & Jamaal Williams.

2023 Star Player

The Lions squad is strangely lacking superstar names for such an upwardly mobile team, particularly after Jameson Williams’ suspension – placing pressure on seventh rounder Antoine Brown to work out. Aidan Hutchinson was a solid rookie season and took a lot of the attention but Amon-Ra St. Brown is the vital cog in Detroit’s motor. Going in to year three, St Brown has 2000 yards receiving and 11 TDs from the slot, adding 156 yards on the ground. He is also yet to give the ball away. It is players like St Brown that are crucial to elevating Jared Goff’s play at QB. St Brown plays in the slot, opening up significant space out wide for both receivers.

2023 Breakout Player

With six rookies from the top three rounds, the Lions will be desperate for 50+% to breakout. Most likely to breakout has to be Brian Branch, who will cover the slot, putting pressure on Gardner-Johnson, and should start at some point in 2023. Having played at Alabama in college, Branch is used to elite performance and expectations, now it is on him to grow into a leader in Detroit’s secondary.

Season Expectations

It has to be playoffs for Detroit. Three appearances in the last 12 years but none since 2016 mean the Lions are due a date in January. Even worse, the Lions have one playoff win since 1957, which is pre-merger. If the Lions can continue to be more than the sum of their parts, they are more than capable of making the playoffs. Even winning the division for the first time since 1993 is not out of the question with the remaining NFC North teams in flux.

If the Lions are not in the hunt late in the season, I expect to see a lot of Hendon Hooker and preparing for another playoff push in 2024.

More from Adam Barton here.

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