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The current regime of the Lions doesn't always adhere to a conventional approach. In 2021, the front office made multiple trades with the division rival Vikings, including one that sent Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson to Minnesota. Since then, the team has also heartily endorsed Jared Goff as a potential long-term quarterback. But nothing may top the Lions' start to the 2023 NFL Draft, during which Detroit went against the grain for not one, but two different Day 1 selections at increasingly devalued positions.

The Lions initially traded down from the No. 6 overall pick to No. 12, dropping six spots in a deal with the Cardinals. Then, at No. 12, they pulled a stunner, selecting Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Detroit wasn't the first team Thursday to use a Day 1 pick at the position; the Falcons used the No. 8 pick on consensus top back Bijan Robinson. But Gibbs, at 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds, was widely projected as more of a second-round prospect -- or a late-first target, at best.

Gibbs certainly adds electricity to Detroit's backfield. But besides the fact RBs have tended to max out early, leading many teams to prefer addressing the position later in the draft, the Lions had already devoted heavy resources to the position this offseason. After losing veteran Jamaal Williams in free agency, the team signed former Bears starter David Montgomery to a three-year, $18 million deal, pairing him with former second-rounder D'Andre Swift.

Adding to the shock factor is the fact there were top prospects available at other positions of need at No. 12, including Iowa pass rusher Lukas Van Ness and projected top-15 cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

And that's not even accounting for what the Lions did at No. 18, six picks later: Even with a potential starting-caliber defensive lineman on the board in Pittsburgh's Calijah Kancey, Detroit used its second Day 1 selection on Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. Like Gibbs, he also entered as a well-regarded prospect at his position, but was widely expected to be a late first-rounder at best. Like RB, off-ball linebacker has increasingly become a devalued role in a pass-happy NFL.