The Detroit Lions have some big decisions to make when the NFL Draft gets underway in just about a week, and plenty of divergent paths exist as it relates to finding a way to build the best team.
While there are several different ways the Lions can get this done, the chance does exist for the team to have a better draft if they follow a few simple rules for the draft this coming season.
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What would such a plan look like for the team in 2021? Here’s a look at the blueprint Brad Holmes and the Detroit brass should be following to have the greatest chance at success for their first steps in the rebuild.
Trade Back From Pick Seven if Possible
The Lions could probably stand to trade back to the middle or early teens if the right deal comes along and a player they have to have, someone like wideout Ja’Marr Chase or perhaps even offensive tackle Penei Sewell isn’t there. In either of those scenarios, the Lions should probably stay on the clock and sprint to the podium. If both are gone, the Lions should try hard to trade back and hope that a quarterback is the desired trade target. This will maximize the chances of the Lions scoring a big piece for the rebuild as well as more picks for the future, which should be a huge goal for the team.
Select Best Playmaker for Lions’ Offense
While the draft depth is strong at wideout, the team could use a pair of playmakers from this draft, meaning they would be smart to select one right off the bat. Selecting Ja’Marr Chase if he falls would be a home run pick, but Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith cannot be discounted as elite additions at receiver, either. Someone like Kadarius Toney should also be considered in a trade back thanks to his speed and playmaking ability. The Lions need to find a way to boost up their new quarterback after an offseason of losses and only mild additions in free agency, and a new weapon should get this done.
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Upgrade the Lions’ Defense Multiple Times
It wouldn’t be disappointing to see the team make only one or two of their picks on the offensive side of the ball, as the team needs to do some heavy lifting to improve the defense. The defensive tackle spot is barren, but at edge, linebacker, cornerback and safety, the chance exists for the Lions to net some major difference makers that can help change the game for the future. The Lions need to think hard about making defensive selections with their second and at least one of their third round picks in order to help fast-track the rebuild on this important side of the ball.
Grab Detroit’s Backup Quarterback Later
If Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones are on the board when the Lions pick, there is going to be a temptation from some in the fanbase to nab one of those players. Detroit should resist this urge early and instead focus on trying to grab a quarterback in the middle rounds such as Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond or Davis Mills. Just because a quarterback doesn’t go within the top 10 doesn’t mean they can’t prove to be a success, so the Lions should make some sort of an addition for the future at the position this year as a form of good business.
Make Another Addition to Lions’ Offensive Line
If the Lions have the best tackle in the draft in Penei Sewell fall into their lap, the team should be motivated to think strongly about grabbing him. They should give serious thought to Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater as well. If the team avoids that spot early on, they should focus on the line at some point during the draft. It would be nice for the team to add a right tackle to the mix for depth purposes and in order to give the squad a shot at developing another elite option at the position.
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