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Detroit Lions could be targeting elite defender in NFL Draft trade up scenario

The Detroit Lions find themselves in a great position heading into the 2023 NFL Draft later this month. Having already done a ton of work during NFL free agency, Detroit boasts the sixth and 18th overall picks in the annual event.

Coming off a 2022 campaign in which Detroit nearly snuck into the playoffs, it is potentially looking to make a splash during the draft.

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Detroit has a visit scheduled with former Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson leading up to the event in roughly two weeks. This is somewhat surprising given the fact that Anderson could go as high as No. 2 overall to the Houston Texans. There’s very little reason to believe that the elite-level edge rusher will be available when Detroit is set to pick as six.

  • Will Anderson stats (college): 58.5 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks

Obviously, Detroit boasts the draft capital to make a move up for Anderson if general manager Brad Holmes and Co. see a fit. The idea would be to team him up with 2022 first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson to form a elite edge pass rush duo in Detroit.

Related: Detroit Lions 2023 mock draft

How a Detroit Lions draft day trade might look

detroit lions nfl draft trade: will anderson
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit could potentially offer up the sixth and 18th picks to the Arizona Cardinals for the third selection. Arizona is said to be interested in moving said pick. And while most of the talk has surrounded quarterback-needy teams trading up with the Cards, the Lions would make sense.

With that said, Detroit would likely demand a Day 2 pick and change in order to move off the 18th pick. It’s not yet known whether Arizona would be up for this.

Instead, we envision a scenario where the Lions offer up second-round selections in 2023 and 2024 to pull off the trade. They could also simply offer their first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Detroit won eight of its final nine games a season ago, barely missing out on the playoffs. It finished with a winning record (9-8) for the first time since the 2017 season.

Despite this, the Detroit Lions’ defense was not up to snuff. It ranked 28th in the NFL in points allowed at 25.1 points per game while recording just 39 sacks.

This area has been a focus for Detroit during NFL free agency with the Lions adding cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley as well as defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

With one of the most potent offenses in the NFL today, Detroit’s ability to upgrade the other side of the ball could make the team a legit force in the NFC.

This is especially true in an NFC North that will see the Green Bay Packers without four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Minnesota Vikings return a questionable roster in 2023.

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