Detroit Lions have 3 second-round picks -- here are 3 players they could target with each of them

Cornerback, tight end, guard, receiver top list of Lions draft needs

Michael Mayer, Joey Porter, Kelee Ringo, and Jayden Reed are four players the Lions could target in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft. (2022 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have three picks in the second round of the NFL draft, and there are dozens of players still available who could make sense with those selections.

Here’s a breakdown of those three picks, and some players to keep an eye on (if Brad Holmes doesn’t pull off more trades):

No. 34 overall

The Lions have a great chance to pick up a first-round caliber prospect (some would argue their first) with the third pick in the second round.

Since quarterback Will Levis dropped out of the first round, it seems likely that somebody will trade up to No. 32 (the first pick of the second round) to take a shot at him. That means one of the obvious top two remaining players is guaranteed to drop to the Lions.

The one who makes the most sense is Joey Porter Jr., a cornerback out of Penn State. Porter was widely expected to go in the 20-30 range of the first round, and many people thought he could be an option for the Lions at No. 18.

Since the Lions missed out on Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez, settling for Porter to shore up the secondary would feel like great value.

The other surprising name left on the board is Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer. I know, I know, Lions fans are very anti-tight end these days, thanks to Eric Ebron and T.J. Hockenson, but it’s a very obvious need for the offense.

After trading Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings last season, the Lions made due with a trio of replacement-level tight ends. But Mayer might be the best player at the position in this draft, and his ability to block and catch passes would give the offense a much-needed weapon alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown (and, eventually, Jameson Williams).

If the Lions are feeling a bit panicked about their pass rushing situation after missing out completely in the first round, they could take the top edge rusher available: Keion White, out of Georgia Tech. He made 7.5 sacks last season and would fit in nicely in a rotation led by Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston.

No. 48 overall

How the Lions approach their second selection of the day will obviously depend on who they take at No. 34. But don’t be surprised if both cornerback and tight end are addressed in some order.

If the Lions pick Porter at No. 34, they could target Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta here. LaPorta was one of the best pass-catching tight ends in college football the last two seasons and is a proven weapon on offense. He isn’t as well-rounded as Mayer, but his upside in the receiving game is just as high.

Conversely, if the Lions take Mayer at No. 34, a number of cornerback prospects are likely to be available at No. 48. I’ll highlight Kelee Ringo, but Cam Smith, Tyrique Stevenson, and Julius Brents could be higher on the Lions’ draft board -- nobody knows.

Ringo was one of the best players on a Georgia team that won back-to-back national championships because of its defense the last two seasons. He has the size NFL teams covet at cornerback and the playmaking ability to boost a Lions secondary that really struggled throughout 2022.

If he makes it this far, the Lions could also select a true pass rusher in B.J. Ojulari, out of LSU. Over the past three seasons, Ojulari has racked up 16.5 sacks and 128 total tackles for the Tigers, and that’s production the Lions sorely need along the defensive line.

No. 55 overall

Detroit’s final selection of the day (as of now) comes at No. 55, and since they no longer have a third-round pick or a fourth-round pick, Holmes won’t be afraid to reach way down the draft board to get his guy, if necessary.

One spot I expect the Lions to address eventually is guard, because it’s been a bit of a weakness along an otherwise elite offensive line. The Lions feel great about tackles Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell, center Frank Ragnow, and left guard Jonah Jackson. All four are Pro Bowl caliber starters.

But right guard has been a bit of a revolving door, and even the signing of Graham Glasgow this offseason shouldn’t prevent the Lions from investing further in that spot, if a player they like is available.

The dream scenario is that TCU guard Steve Avila drops, though he could also be an option for the Lions with one of their earlier second-round picks if they consider him a priority. Avila is arguably the top interior lineman in the draft, so it would be hard to argue with him anywhere in the second round.

Any of the cornerbacks I mentioned above could be options here if the Lions haven’t addressed that need already. Or, they could completely flip the script and target a wide receiver to both fill the hole left by Williams’ suspension and also shore up the position for the future.

Jalin Hyatt is a bigger name because of his playmaking ability at Tennessee, but it feels like Michigan State’s Jayden Reed better fits the Lions’ mold.

Reed is a reliable receiver who runs his routes well and helps out his quarterback by adjusting to the football. He’s also very dangerous after the catch, if the he can get the ball in space.

That sounds a lot like what the Lions have done with St. Brown and D’Andre Swift in the passing game, and Reed would be yet another weapon for defenses to worry about.

Keeanu Benton probably isn’t going to be available this late in the second round, but if the Lions want to draft one of the draft’s top defensive tackles, they’ll probably have to do so by this spot, at the latest.

Holmes and Dan Campbell seem like they would love to add a massive run-stuffing tackle like Gervon Dexter to the heart of the defense. Dexter doesn’t spend all that much time in the backfield, but he was one of the better players in the SEC against the run last season, and Isaiah Buggs could use some help in that regard.

Looking forward

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Holmes make more trades on Day 2 of the draft. In fact, knowing his history, it would be a surprise if the Lions simply made picks at 34, 48, and 55, and did nothing else the rest of the night.

But as it stands, the Lions don’t have another pick after No. 55 until No. 152, so whatever needs they want to address, they’re going to do so regardless of big board rankings.

The first round came with some curveballs out of Allen Park. Who knows what Holmes has in store for us next.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.