The Lions are in the sweet spot for NFL franchises.
Though they’re still on the outside looking in for the 2022 NFL playoffs, Dan Campbell’s crew picked up another win in Week 15, downing the Jets in a MetLife Stadium thriller 20-17.
And the Lions aren’t just keeping their playoff hopes alive. They also have hope for a top-5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, courtesy of the Rams. The Matthew Stafford trade continues to pay dividends for Detroit; the Rams have scuffled all season and are 4-9 entering a matchup with the Packers on Monday night.
MORE: Lions playoff chances: Detroit set up to sneak into playoffs
While LA can help mitigate the loss of the pick with a win on “Monday Night Football” over equally helpless Green Bay, there’s still a world in which that pick becomes a top-10 selection for Detroit.
But for now, the Lions have their eyes on the 2022 playoffs and as the 2023 draft — and that’s a great spot to be in.
MORE: Sporting News’ latest 2023 mock draft
NFL Draft order 2023
How the draft order stands entering the Week 15 “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Giants and Commanders:
|3||Seattle Seahawks (from DEN)||4-10|
|5||Detroit Lions (from LAR)||4-9|
|9||Philadelphia Eagles (from NOR)||5-9|
|10||Green Bay Packers||5-8|
|11||Las Vegas Raiders||6-8|
|13||Houston Texans (from CLE)||6-8|
|16||New England Patriots||7-7|
|17||New York Jets||7-7|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6-8|
|21||Los Angeles Chargers||8-6|
|22||New York Giants||7-5-1|
|25||Denver Broncos (from SF)||10-4|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||11-3|
— The Eagles hold the Saints’ first-round pick as part of a pick swap with New Orleans during the 2022 NFL Draft.
— The Texans hold the Browns’ first-round pick as part of the trade that sent Deshaun Watson to Cleveland.
— The Seahawks have the Broncos’ first-round pick as part of the compensation in the Russell Wilson trade.
— The Lions have the Rams’ first-round pick because of the Matthew Stafford trade.
— The Broncos traded pass-rusher Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins for a first-round pick prior to the 2022 NFL trade deadline. That pick formerly belonged to the 49ers, who traded it to Miami as part of the package to move up to draft Trey Lance in 2021.
— The Dolphins don’t have their own first-round pick after being sanctioned by the NFL for tampering violations regarding Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
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NFL Draft 2023 top prospects
There could be three first-round passers come next April: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis.
It appeared Young was leading the pack before bowl season. Young and Stroud were considered the best passers entering this year’s draft, with Levis’ standing something of a mixed bag. Some consider the Kentucky passer to be a first-round talent, while others believe he may fall out of the first round completely. Levis’ physical traits are legitimate, but questions about his processing and decision-making remain.
Outside of the passers, several game-wrecking defensive linemen should be top-10, if not top-five, selections. Alabama’s Will Anderson and Georgia’s Jalen Carter will jockey for first defender off the board in 2023. Clemson’s Myles Murphy could also find himself in that battle.