The Detroit Lions have some huge decisions to make with regards to their decision in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the mocks have not stopped flowing as the process pushes to its conclusion by the end of the week.
A new mock draft from Pro Football Focus had the Lions scooping up Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle with the seventh selection. Eric Eager and George Chahrouri made the pick, and had a trade ahead of Detroit forcing another quarterback down the board and allowing the Lions to snap up one elite talent while passing on another.
In the mock, the Lions skip on drafting offensive tackle Penei Sewell, but snap up Waddle, a guy who some see as potentially in-play for teams ahead of Detroit like the Miami Dolphins. In this mock, Miami trades back and the Denver Broncos jump up for Trey Lance. The Lions grab Waddle, who could be as good as a few Pro Bowlers in the minds of the analysts.
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As for the why, they wrote:
“The Detroit Lions have one of the worst receiver situations in football, and they get here who many believe to be the best wide receiver in the class. Antonio Brown and Santana Moss are in Waddle’s statistical comps — outcomes the Lions would love to work with here since the top four quarterbacks are off the board.”
Both Moss and Brown are players who fed off speed, and that’s just what Waddle brings to the mix as his best attribute. There’s no question Detroit’s departures have left the team in a desperate spot at wideout, so grabbing someone like Waddle could help the team dramatically.
Lions Draft Needs for 2021
Will the Lions manage to select a wideout with their top pick? It will depend on how much they view that position as a huge need early on. Names like Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Waddle would theoretically be in the mix for the Lions’ pick if the team wants a pass catcher. Kyle Pitts could even work himself into that category if he were to fall in the draft. Otherwise, the Lions could look at an offensive lineman, a linebacker or perhaps even a cornerback if they feel that spot needs an upgrade. Detroit might like to trade down if at all possible as well, with rumors swirling they are getting some calls about that.
If the team views Waddle as a can’t-miss prospect, there is a shot for him to work his way into this mix
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Waddle’s Highlights and Stats
Even though Waddle might not be on the forefront of everyone’s mind at this point given he missed much of the 2020 season with injury, there’s no question he is still a great player and capable of making a major difference on the field. With 1,965 yards to his credit and 17 touchdowns, Waddle has been one of the better wideouts to come through in the Alabama program lately. In 2020, he went down with an October ankle injury which cost him most of the season, but when the comeback happens, it could only prove that Waddle is one of the best young wideouts set to come out. Health will be a big determining factor on where Waddle ends up, but if he is healthy, a team like Detroit could quickly cash in as these highlights show.
There’s obviously no questioning the talent of Waddle when considering the whole picture, and potentially, he might even be gone by the time the Lions pick. That could be due to his status and comparisons to a few former Pro Bowl players at his position.
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