One of the hardest teams to pin down in terms of the 2021 NFL Draft has been the Detroit Lions, and with the clock ticking down toward the team making a decision, that is becoming even more the case.
It’s been rumored that the Lions could be interested in trading back, or the team could be looking for help on the defensive side of the ball or along the offensive line. It has even been suggested that the Lions would entertain the idea of picking a quarterback if the board fell correctly.
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One spot that hasn’t picked up the headlines lately has been the most obvious spot of need, and that’s wide receiver. The Lions lost a ton off their roster this offseason, didn’t sign many long-term free agents and could still be in the market to snap up one of the players early on.
ESPN draft insider and guru Todd McShay took a look at what he’s hearing at each spot in a new insider piece, and in terms of the Lions, McShay hinted that he’s been hearing the Lions are looking hard at a player to catch some passes from Jared Goff in 2021.
“Like the Dolphins, the Lions are looking pass-catcher here; and like the Dolphins, they seem to prefer Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase and then the Alabama duo. Detroit is likely to have at most two of those players to pick between here to jump-start its now-barren pass-catcher group.
The Lions did just use a top-10 pick on tight end T.J. Hockenson in 2019, so another tight end being in the mix might be confusing; but remember that Pitts can be flexed all over the formation and is far from a traditional tight end. Still, it’s more likely that this pick comes down to the three wideouts, based on how the board is shaping up.”
Rumors of Detroit’s interest in Pitts are not new, with many suggesting the team should like the tight end and other weapons a few months back. It also shouldn’t be a shock to hear the team could consider wideout a major need. Whether or not Ja’Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle are in-play are anyone’s guess given they both could go ahead of the Lions. The same could be said for Pitts, who could fly off the board starting at the fourth-overall pick. Would the Lions like Pitts or Chase enough to move up? It’s probably not likely, but hard to say.
Even though wideout is a deep class, it’s not wise to sleep on the Lions adding to the position early with one of the top talents as McShay points out.
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Wideout Called Worst Position on Lions Team
Recently, Bleacher Report put together a look at the top need in the draft for every team, and unsurprisingly, wideout was the answer in Detroit. Interestingly, though, the spot was listed by writer Brent Sobleski as quite possibly the worst position of any heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.
“No, a typo doesn’t appear in the Detroit Lions’ team needs. The double-listing is simply a reflection of the current sad state of the Lions wide receiver corps.
Detroit’s previous top three receivers—Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola—are no longer with the team. Instead, the organization signed free agents Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. Quintez Cephus is the squad’s top returning wide receiver after last season’s 20-reception effort as a rookie.
Yeah, it’s bad. Really bad. As in, the Lions’ wide receivers may be the worst position group in football entering the draft.
Fortunately, another deep class with ample talent near the top of the draft afford the Lions the opportunity to instantly upgrade the position.
Once that’s accomplished, Detroit can look to improve other positions.”
Most understand the Lions wideouts are bad, but worst in football? That’s a tough and bold statement for the group to be hit with even as it might not be wrong. Obviously, there’s been a ton of changes at the team has to find a way to make sure they get a position upgrade at wideout in the draft.
With this in mind, the team could be looking at a quick strike with a top prospect.
Lions Working on Fixing Wideout Depth
The Lions came into the offseason in an unsure position in terms of their wide receiver depth, but during free agency, have taken some steps to make some decent upgrades to the position. Detroit signed wideouts Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman to short-term deals in free agency, and with the addition of Damion Ratley and Kalif Raymond, could be in good position to ensure that they have depth ahead of the NFL Draft, where the team is expected to be active hunting for wideout talent for the future.
Detroit’s 2021 draft will be very active in terms of wideout, and more additions could come there, perhaps even early. Though Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola were major talents, it seems the tam has already taken an aggressive approach in looking for their replacements and that should figure to go on when it comes to the team’s work in the draft.
With a deep class, will it happen right away on Thursday? That’s still anyone’s guess, but it’s how McShay sees things playing out right now.
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