Lions Insider Has Bijan Robinson to DET in Mock Draft; D'Andre Swift in Contract Year

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 23, 2023

Texas running back Bijan Robinson reacts after scoring against Kansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

Texas running back Bijan Robinson went No. 18 overall to the Detroit Lions in The Athletic's latest NFL 2023 Beat Writer Mock Draft.

"That sound you're hearing is Draft Twitter furiously typing away to tell me how dumb it is to take a running back in the first round," Lions writer Colton Pouncy said. "The problem? I don't really care. Bijan Robinson is the best prospect to come out in years and a top-five talent in this class."

Pouncy noted Robinson gives the Lions a chance to turn a good offense into an elite unit and that his addition would fulfill offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's stated wish to see four- and five-yard runs turn into gallops of eight, nine or more yards.

The Lions have question marks at running back going into 2023.

Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, is an impending free agent.

D'Andre Swift, who amassed 931 total yards and eight scores last year, is entering the final campaign of his rookie contract.

As for Robinson, he's the unquestioned top running back in this year's class and only one of four prospects overall to receive grades of 9.0 or better on the B/R NFL Scouting Department 10-point prospect scale.

In 2022, he rushed for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns on 258 carries (6.1 yards per carry). He added 19 receptions for 314 yards and two scores.

While the Lions went 8-2 in their last 10 games to cap an impressive 9-8 campaign that nearly landed them in the playoffs, they allowed the fifth-most points per game and the most yards per play.

However, in The Athletic's mock draft, the Lions trade down from No. 6 overall, gaining a third-round pick, and use the No. 9 overall pick on Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, leaving them with four Day 2 selections on top of free agency to shore up the defense. The Detroit defense also fared far better during the 8-2 stretch, allowing 18 or fewer points six times.

Detroit is one of the top teams to watch when the NFL draft kicks off April 27 from Kansas City, Missouri. General manager Brad Holmes is the architect of a team on the rise, and he has a bunch of resources at his disposal to help the Lions take the next step into the playoffs.