Meet the Two New Detroit Lions: Who the Players Are and First Round Recap

AP Photo/Butch Dill (left), AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File (right)

By Isaac Constans

April 28, 2023

The Detroit Lions defied the predictions of just about every pundit. Will it lead to the same old problems or is it part of a new era?

Last night was the first round of the NFL draft, and the Detroit Lions captured headlines by making some serious gambles with their first two picks. Let’s meet the Lions’ two newest players.

AP Photo/Vasha Hunt (left), AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File (right) 

On the left is Jahmyr Gibbs, a dynamic and explosive running back that could be the heir apparent to injury-riddled running back D’Andre Swift’s position. Selected with the 12th pick, Gibbs is a product of the University of Alabama who clocked in with the second-fastest 40-yard-dash time of any running back in the draft. Described as “lightning in a bottle,” he’ll add another bolt of excitement to the Lions offense, which was already one of the league’s best last year. And Gibbs will have no trouble finding  friends in the locker-room. Second-year receiver Jameson Williams, who the Lions selected in the first round last year, also went to Alabama.

On the right is Jack Campbell, a linebacker from the University of Iowa with a trophy case of awards from college. Selected 18th, Campbell won the “academic Heisman” award given to a college player with the best combination of community service, academic achievement, and on-field performance. Campbell also won the Butkus Award for best player at his position. And he ranks as one of the most athletic linebackers ever drafted—at 6-foot-5-inches and 250 pounds, he has a 38-inch vertical.

Not everyone was happy with the moves. Some experts predicted that both players would have been available later than when the Lions selected them. And given that the Lions struggled to contain opposing offenses last year, many hoped the team would first select a defensive lineman.

But if the reaction of Lions general manager Brad Holmes is anything to go on, Detroit fans have ample reason to be excited. After the team snagged Gibbs at pick 12, video from the Lions’ draft room shows Holmes enthusiastically banging on a table and running over to hug others in the room.

“We feel really confident about the work we put in and what these guys are going to do on the field,” Holmes said after the draft. “I think our fans are going to be really proud and really excited about what they see.”

Since the Lions traded back from the sixth to the 12th pick, they’ll also have the third pick in the draft’s second round, which begins at 7 p.m. ET Friday.

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