Mock Draft round up: Free agency decisions keep Lions connected to skill players

Pride of Detroit

In last week’s Mock Draft round up offensive skill players were heavily connected to the Detroit Lions, and after roughly a week of free agency, not much has changed.

One recognizable change this week was that for the first time since January none of the notable mock draft websites connected the Lions with a quarterback. Maybe that’s because the Jared Goff trade went down this week, or possibly because general manager Brad Holmes noted that he expects him to be the starter in 2021, or something simple like how the Lions have been slow to act in free agency. Regardless of the reasoning, mock drafts have been trending in this direction for the last several weeks.

Let’s take a look at who was projected to the Lions over this past week.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Currently being mocked by Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)

Edwards: “Ja’Marr Chase is the first wide receiver off the board to a Detroit team that has essentially shown everyone the door. The Lions signed Tyrell Williams but Marvin Jones is gone and Kenny Golladay will soon be. Jared Goff needs more weapons in the passing game.”

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Currently being mocked by Mark Schofield (Touchdown Wire), Rob Rang (Fox Sports), and Carmen Vitali (Buccaneers.com)

Schofield: “DeVonta Smith might be an attractive option here, but Waddle’s ability to separate, to pace routes and to work to all levels of the field is just as enticing. If I’m in the room it is a tough pick, but I love what Waddle brings to the table and I’ll be banging that same table for him.”

Rang: “New quarterback Jared Goff will need playmakers to live up to the trade of the stronger-armed Matthew Stafford, and the Lions’ top targets are all free agents. Waddle possesses the elusiveness and speed to immediately become Goff’s favorite target.”

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Currently being mocked by Lance Zierlein (NFL.com), Emory Hunt (CBS Sports), Matthew Tabeek (AtlantaFalcons.com), Hodgkinson (Pro Football Network), Matt Williamson (Pro Football Network), Doug Hyde (Draft Tek), and the Tankathon Staff

Zierlein: “Detroit desperately needs to find new receivers for freshly minted Lion Jared Goff. Smith is the most talented inside/outside target in this draft.”

Hunt: “I like what the Lions are building on their roster with new head coach Dan Campbell, both with on-field personnel and with their coaches. Landing the Heisman Trophy winner gives them a legit game-breaker on the perimeter.”

Kyle Pitts, Big Skill, Florida

Currently being mocked by Benjamin Robinson (Football Outsiders)

Robinson: “Kyle Pitts doesn’t have to wait much longer. I don’t think the Lions will pass on Pitts if he’s available. The Lions are fairly consensus drafters in my data from Grinding the Mocks, and Pitts is already a consensus top-10 player and could be top-five by draft night. Pitts and T.J. Hockenson would make for a very tight end-centric attack.”

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Currently being mocked by Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports)

Trapasso has the Lions selecting Slater after trading back with the San Francisco 49ers for pick No. 12—no other trade details were mentioned. Trapasso would say this about Slater: “Strictly a best-player-available philosophy coming to fruition here for the Lions.”

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Currently being mocked by Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports) and Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Wilson: “Parsons opted out, but he’s a player who didn’t hurt his draft stock by doing so. He might end up being the best off-ball linebacker to come out in the last 4-5 years.”

Brown: “New head coach Dan Campbell is going to find the cupboard completely bare at linebacker. Parsons is another elite prospect who opted out of the 2020 season, citing “the potential risk to the health and well-being” of his young son. I haven’t come across any bitten knee caps in studying Parsons, but I know he makes plays all over the field, tackles anybody within reach and occasionally some who aren’t.”

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