A trade between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers highlights Day 2 of the NFC North's 2023 NFL draft

Tom Dombeck
Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
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GREEN BAY − The Green Bay Packers' NFC North Division rivals had a busy 2023 NFL draft, which continued Friday night with the second and third rounds.

Here's how the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings picked Friday:

The Detroit Lions traded up with the Green Bay Packers to select Alabama safety Brian Branch.

Detroit Lions make two second-round picks, trade up with Green Bay Packers for Alabama safety Brian Branch

The Detroit Lions had a trio of picks in the second round when Friday night began, starting off by selecting Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta with the 34th overall pick.

LaPorta fills the need of his Hawkeyes alum T.J. Hockenson, who was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in the middle of last season.

Detroit then moved up to No. 45, trading Nos. 48 and 159 to the Green Bay Packers to choose Alabama safety Brian Branch. The Lions had one of the worst statistical defenses last season so Branch should help solidify the secondary.

When it came time to pick at No. 55, Detroit moved down with the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for Nos. 63, 122 and 249 for Nos. 55 and 194. They then dealt Nos. 63 and 183 to the Denver Broncos for Nos. 68 and 139.

With the 68th overall selection, the Lions picked Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Hooker had been projected as a possible late first-round choice but lasted until the third round.

He'll give the Lions an option for an eventual replacement to Jared Goff.

Chicago Bears add Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. and Florida cornerback Tyrique Stevenson in the second round

The Chicago Bears would have been on the clock to begin the second round but sent their original second-round selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for receiver Chase Claypool.

To kick off their second-round choices, the Bears chose Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. at No. 53 before trading up to No. 56 to pick Florida cornerback Tyrique Stevenson.

Chicago sent Nos. 61 and 136 to the Jacksonville Jaguars to select Stevenson.

Both players should help a Bears defense that was a weakness in crunch time.

It was defense again at No. 64 for Chicago to begin the third round, choosing South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens.

There's definitely a concentrated effort to not let the defense be pushed over in the Windy City.

Minnesota Vikings trade back, select USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon

With just one pick to make Friday night, the Minnesota Vikings chose to trade down with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Vikings gave the 49ers No. 87 and got back in return Nos. 102, 164 and 222.

Minnesota closed out the third round by selecting USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, providing support to a secondary that gave up the second-most passing yards in the NFL last season.

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