Wide receiver is arguably the spot of biggest need to the Detroit Lions in this NFL Draft season, and figuring out which player is the best to fill that need is a huge goal for the team.
With the final few week push until the selection meeting here, everyone is rushing to get their mock drafts in, and there are several intriguing options lined up in the minds of many for this coming year.
According to NFL Network personality Peter Schrager, the Lions could be set to cash in with a bold move. He projects the Arizona Cardinals to trade up to Detroit’s spot to nab Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. The Lions trade back to 16, then nab Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith.
Here’s what Schrager wrote:
“If Detroit trades out of No. 7, scoops up some additional picks and still gets Smith, I’d see that as a Day 1 home run. The Alabama product has elite ball skills, won in big spots and is a gamer in every sense of the word. The Lions bid farewell to their top two wideouts in free agency, and Golden Tate a year before that. Insert the Heisman winner.”
This proposal would net the Lions a first-round pick in 2021 and 2022 as well as Arizona’s third-round pick next year, giving the Lions a total of three first-round selections for the 2022 draft. At that point, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the team would control that draft. The trade pitch isn’t unlike a similar one from Pro Football Focus in which the Lions would land multiple picks from New England and still land wideout Jaylen Waddle.
Detroit probably wants to trade back if they can, but recent rumors have held that the team could also look to simply stay put and draft a player, perhaps even a quarterback if the right one came along. Still, it’s hard to ignore the good adding someone like Smith could do for the team’s needy offense.
DeVonta Smith’s Stats and Fit With Lions
The now-reigning Heisman Trophy winner made his best case to take home the award with a huge performance against Notre Dame in the playoff game, putting up 130 yards and 3 touchdowns. Nearly every single catch Smith made was of the highlight reel variety and he looked like an NFL wideout already making plays in the bowl game. Many have connected Smith to where Detroit could pick, and given the talent drain that could play out at wideout with the team, adding a talent like Smith high in the draft has to be enticing for the Lions given his production while in school. With 3,750 yards and 43 touchdowns in college, he is an elite talent, and could make sense as it relates to Detroit depending on how high they select and what they determine the biggest need to be.
In this case, Smith makes extra sense for Detroit given what they need at wideout for the future. If the Lions could get him as part of a trade back, it would be an extra fantastic move.
Wideout Seen as Huge Lions’ Need During 2021 NFL Draft
With the seventh pick, the Lions should be wide open when it comes to the 2021 draft thanks to the fact that they’ve addressed a ton of spots on both offense and defense recently within their selections. One of the most obvious spots of need would be the defensive line and linebacker given Detroit’s constant lack of a consistent pass rush. The team could also use more young depth at the cornerback spot given the struggles there in relation to depth that have been greatly aided by injury. On offense, the Lions could use another young wideout such as Chase, Waddle or Smith, and while they might seem set at quarterback, there could always be a significant challenge to that notion moving forward if the team sees a player that they like such Justin Fields.
The Lions have plenty of options when the draft rolls around, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see them elect to give their new quarterback some major help. All bets are off as to what will happen, but there’s no question that the team does need some help at wide receiver.