2023 NFL Draft: Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are Big Winners of Week 12, Even Though They Lost
The Detroit Lions lost a heartbreaker on Thanksgiving Day, going down to the Buffalo Bills by a field goal after playing them tough all afternoon. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks also lost a close one. They took an L vs. lowly Las Vegas Raiders in overtime, 40-34. Despite these marks in the loss column, the Lions and the Raiders actually are among the winners of Week 12 as the two teams — Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos — who gave the Lions and Seahawks their 2023 NFL Draft first-round picks cemented their status as two of the worst teams in the league.
The Seahawks and Lions are sitting pretty in the 2023 NFL Draft
If the season ended today, the Detroit Lions would hold the 13th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Seattle Seahawks would pick at No. 16. Those aren’t bad picks, but they aren’t great either.
Additionally, the LA Rams and in the No. 3 spot, and the Denver Broncos are No. 4. That’s huge for the Lions and Seahawks, as they own those picks thanks to quarterback trades.
The Rams got Matthew Stafford from the Lions before the 2021 season for a 2021 third-rounder, LA’s 2022 and 2023 first-rounders, and quarterback Jared Goff. This trade has worked out for the Rams, as it brought them a Super Bowl championship last season.
As for Detroit, Goff has been a serviceable bridge signal-caller for the franchise, and they’ve drafted Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu in 2021, who’s played in 11 games for the Lions. They used the 2022 pick to trade up for Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. The wideout hasn’t played yet while recovering from a knee injury but is a high-end prospect.
This offseason, the Seahawks traded QB Russell Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Broncos for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive tackle Shelby Harris, 2022 and 2023 first- and second-round picks, and a 2022 fifth-rounder.
Wilson has been an abject disaster in the Mile High City, and the Seahawks have turned the first three picks into starting offensive tackle Charles Cross, pass-rushers Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith, and wide receiver Dareke Young, who are part of the Seahawks’ stellar 2022 draft class.
Now the Rams and Broncos are both having nightmare seasons, and despite both losing in Week 12, that makes the Seahawks and Lions big winners.
Who will the Seahawks and Lions draft with their Broncos and Rams picks?
Let’s start the discussion of who the Seahawks and Lions may pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by stating that it is way too early to make any definitive predictions about the final draft order or the college players who may be available early in the selection process.
That said, let’s have some fun with a quick 2023 NFL mock draft for the top four picks.
Ahead of Week 13, the first four picks would be the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears, followed by the Lions and Seahawks. If the order stayed like this, it would be huge for the Lions.
At No. 1, the Texans will pick a quarterback, without a doubt. As of now, that QB will likely be Alabama signal-caller Bryce Young. After Young, that’s where things get interesting.
The Bears don’t need a QB with an improving Justin Fields already in place. That leaves likely No. 2 quarterback Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud as the crucial piece of the 2023 NFL Draft. This is a spot where a QB-needy team could try and trump the Lions by trading up, but for now, let’s assume that the Bears take the best player available, Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.
That makes Stroud the next QB of the Lions and puts Seattle on the clock and in an interesting spot. None of the other highly-touted college quarterbacks played well enough this season to jump into the top-five conversation. Kentucky’s Will Levis, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Stanford’s Tanner McKee, and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker could do that in the pre-draft process, but it doesn’t seem likely right now.
This means that Seattle will probably go another season with Geno Smith (although they could package Nos. 4 and 16 to get up to No. 2 to scoop Stroud). Assuming they don’t, though, the most likely pick is the second-best pass-rusher in the draft.
Again, the pre-draft process will go a long way toward determining exactly who that is. Right now, that is probably Clemson’s Myles Murphy. However, as we get closer to the 2023 NFL Draft, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson, Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness, or Florida State’s Jared Verse could rise to that spot after the NFL Combine.