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3 LBs Lions Fans Should Know About In 2023 NFL Draft

  • Ryan Fowler
  • November 17, 2022
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Currently sitting at 3-6, it’s been another year of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’ for the Detroit Lions. In year two under Dan Campbell, there have been flashes of pop from talents like Aidan Hutchinson, corner Jeff Okudah, and safety Kerby Joseph, but holes remain on a roster still scratching its way back to relevancy. 

While Malcolm Rodriguez, Alex Anzalone, and Derrick Barnes have holstered a majority of the snaps at linebacker, athletes in abundance are needed if Detroit will ever look to compete for an NFC North title in the future. With Week 11 on the horizon and April’s draft rapidly approaching, here are a trio of talents Lions general manager Brad Holmes could be interested in adding. 

Daiyan Henley, Washington State

An extremely talented defender, Henley’s experience wearing a variety of hats would allow his game to thrive in Detroit. He’s smooth in coverage, electric when asked to fill in the run game, and touts a dynamic ability to make plays on the football in space. 

An offensive player in high school, and at the forefront of his college career, his ability to ID offensive concepts has been evident on tape all year long. Aligning in the middle of the Lions’ defense would allow him to reach his performance ceiling early. Oh, and he can rush the passer—he has five sacks this fall. The Lions need more athletes and Henley fits the script to a T.

Mohamoud Diabate, Utah

Built in the mold of a safety at a tick above 220 pounds, Diabate is an extremely rangy talent that has no issue roaming sideline to sideline. A transfer from Florida where he spent three seasons, his versatility has expanded immensely after being used primarily as the lone middle linebacker in Gainesville. He’s aligned outside the tackle as a pass rusher, at inside linebacker, and will occasionally roll back and play strong safety in isolated spots. He’s comfortable in coverage but needs improvement in understanding assignments and width in his zone drops. Still, he’d be a great fit for the Lions.

Jack Campbell, Iowa

One of the more cerebral athletes in the entire upcoming draft class, Campbell is what you look for in a green dot at the next level. No, he won’t blow anyone away when it comes time to run the 40 or broad jump, but he’s uber-physical and is constantly sniffing out concepts before the snap. 

Flip on his tape against Ohio State to see a player whose physicality pops off the page and a communicator at the second level. He doesn’t offer much as a blitzer (11 pressures in 50 pass rush snaps) and his 94.4% reception percentage on 36 targets against isn’t ideal, but he doesn’t miss tackles, has extremely smooth feet, and is quick to diagnose at inside linebacker. Detroit should be interested.

Written By

Ryan Fowler