The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books. The Detroit Lions selected eight players to make up their newest draft class, five on offense and three on defense.
Between the draft and free agency, there are a lot of new players to keep an eye on as the Lions continue to work their way through the offseason training program.
Which new Lion are you most excited to see hit the field in 2023? I asked the Detroitlions.com crew, and here's what they had to say:
Tim Twentyman: Tight end Sam LaPorta
Running back Jahmyr Gibbs is the easy answer, but I'm kind of excited to see how offensive coordinator Ben Johnson deploys tight end Sam LaPorta, who split time just about equally at Iowa playing in-line, out wide and in the slot. LaPorta's elusive and tough once he gets the ball in his hands. Lions' tight ends recorded 12 touchdowns last season (a franchise record) despite trading away T.J. Hockenson at the deadline.
LaPorta has a chance to make an immediate impact as tight end No. 1, and it will be fun to see how Johnson decides to use him because Johnson showed last season he can be very creative with that position in the passing game.
Mike O'Hara: Defensive back Brian Branch
That safety from Alabama the Lions drafted in the second round is the new player I'm most excited to see. So is the cornerback. And so is the nickel back.
Branch showed remarkable versatility in college that gives him the ability to play all three of those positions. I can't wait to see it.
PJ's Pick: Defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson
As much as I loved to watch Branch at Alabama, I'm most excited to see the player showing him the ropes as a do-it-all defensive back.
Gardner-Johnson tied for the league-lead in interceptions last year, playing primarily at safety for the NFC Champion Eagles. With more time expected at nickel for the Lions, Gardner-Johnson should be around the ball even more, giving one of the NFL's best playmakers a chance to do just that. A player with his production, plus his unmatched trash talking? Grab some popcorn, it's about to get fun.
View photos from offseason workouts on Monday, May 8, 2023.
Editor's Pick: Cornerback Cam Sutton
I'm very interested to see how the entire revamped secondary looks, but if I had to narrow my focus, I choose Sutton because he signed the longest deal of the group.
Sutton seems like the perfect fit for what the Lions are trying to do on defense. He recorded 15 pass breakups last season and has a nose for the football.