Detroit Lions take Ohio State QB Justin Fields in Mel Kiper Jr.’s first NFL mock draft

Detroit Free Press

Kirkland Crawford
 
| Detroit Free Press

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In a sense, it’s a white Christmas for those who closely follow the NFL draft.

Not only has snow blanketed southeast Michigan this Tuesday morning, but Mel Kiper Jr., the grand poobah of draftniks, released his first 2021 mock draft. 

The Detroit Lions have the seventh overall pick. And, over the weekend, their draft needs seemingly increased at one important position. 

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Kiper sees that need and has the Lions addressing it, giving them Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 7. 

“He had an up-and-down season, but we saw the flashes of his talent, particularly in his six-touchdown performance against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal,” Kiper wrote. “Fields has superstar potential, but he’ll need help around him. Detroit will need to figure out what it’s doing with free-agent wideouts Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. and make sure Fields has a chance to succeed in Year 1.”

Interestingly enough, this probably wouldn’t have been Kiper’s pick before the news that Matthew Stafford and the Lions have agreed to seek a trade

He wrote he would have had the Lions taking Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle to help Stafford.

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Alas, the pick from Kiper is Fields, who was 20-2 as a starter, winning a pair of Big Ten championships and reaching the College Football Playoff twice, falling short in the national title game earlier this month. 

The transfer from Georgia was a 68.4% career passer who threw for 5,701 yards, 67 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and ran for 1,133 yards and 19 scores in three seasons.

Fields is the third QB to go in Kiper’s mock draft: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence goes No. 1 to Jacksonville and BYU’s Zach Wilson goes fourth to Atlanta.

The other four teams ahead of the Lions in the draft have quarterbacks who they picked in the top five recently: Jets selected Sam Darnold third in 2018; Miami picked Tua Tagovailoa fifth last year; Cincinnati took Joe Burrow No. 1 last year and the Eagles selected Carson Wentz second in 2016.

[ Yes, Stafford and the Lions should split. Too bad he already screwed it up ]

Elsewhere in Kiper’s mock, Michigan football defensive end Kwity Paye goes 21st to the Colts. Indianapolis is one of the teams in the market for a starting quarterback, perhaps via trade

Hmm.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

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