In the last few weeks, it’s been all about the wide receivers and which one pairs best with the Detroit Lions. In last week’s round up, Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle was connected to Detroit more than DeVonta Smith (Alabama) and La’Marr Chase (LSU) combined, with players at other positions being left in the distance.
This week, with just under three weeks until draft day—and just as things were beginning to look like Waddle was the clear frontrunner—the draft community did its best Lee Corso impression and said: Not so fast!
Let’s take a look at this past week’s mock drafts, see how things have shifted, and which new names have been surprisingly added.
Jeremiah: “This could be a trade spot, with some teams picking after Detroit potentially in the market for a quarterback, but I wouldn’t rule out the Lions staying put and taking a signal-caller themselves. Fields has more upside than Jared Goff.”
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Currently being mocked by Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz (USA Today)
Middlehurst-Schwartz: “Hard to say whether first-year GM Brad Holmes is firmly in or out of the quarterback market. If a signal-caller of Lance’s caliber falls into the Lions’ lap, however, he might be hard-pressed to forge ahead with Jared Goff. Landing in Detroit would seemingly afford Lance the chance to sit and learn for a year while he resolves some ball placement and timing issues, positioning him as an imposing dual-threat option whenever he’s ready to take the reins.”
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Trapasso: “The Lions would be happy with any receiver at this point, but to land the consensus top wideout in the class is a fantastic development for new GM Brad Holmes.”
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Currently being mocked by Josh Edwards (CBS Sports) in a trade with the Broncos for pick No. 9 (no additional details on compensation), Brad SpielBerger (PFF) in a trade with the Patriots for pick No. 15, No. 46, No. 139 and 2022 2nd round pick, and Luke Easterling (Draft Wire) in a trade with the Chargers for pick No. 16 (no additional details).
Easterling: “This is a huge win for the Lions, who drop back six spots and still end up with a player they could have easily selected at their original slot. Yes, they’ve added some new faces to help replenish the receivers they lost in free agency, but none of them have the kind of explosiveness and big-play ability Waddle brings to the table. He’s a huge bargain here.”
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Currently being mocked by Ben Linsey (PFF), Jarad Evans (PFF), Tommy Garrett (Pro Football Network), Doug Hyde (Drafttek), Tankathon staff, Brentley Weissman (The Draft Network): in a trade with the Patriots for pick No. 15 (no additional details), and Peter Schrager (NFL.com) in a trade with the Cardinals for pick No. 16 (no additional details).
Schrager: “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.”
Kyle Pitts, Big Skill, Florida
Currently being mocked by Ian Cummings (Pro Football Network)
Cummings: “No, he’s not Calvin Johnson. We’ll get that out of the way right now. However, if you were to canvas the entire database of draft prospects since Johnson entered the league, Kyle Pitts would be one of the closest comparisons. There will never be another Johnson one-to-one, but Pitts has an enticing skill set in his own right. One that the Lions could quickly benefit from. Pitts’ positional designation is at tight end. Above all, he has the explosiveness, agility, and smooth feet to win anywhere. Pitts also has the dominating length and body control to make plays downfield. The Lions still need to add a pure receiver or two, but as a pass catcher, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more versatile and dynamic than Pitts.”
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Currently being mocked by Brian Johannes (The Huddle Report)
Johannes: “When introduced, new head coach Dan Campbell has talked about wanting a physical team. And with the top offensive lineman available here the Lions could pounce and find their new left tackle. Adding more protection for Jared Goff at this point should be a must and allow the Lions to move on from Taylor Decker who just hasn’t lived up to his previous billing the last couple of years.”
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Currently being mocked by Tom Fornelli (CBS Sports) after a trade with Washington for pick No. 19 (no additional details on compensation).
Fornelli: “I haven’t seen Eichenberg in many mocks this spring, but I think he’s more likely to be taken this early than a lot of other tackles I see featured more often. He’s ready to start in the NFL from day one, and I don’t have any questions about his ability to play on the left side. Now, that doesn’t mean I think he’s an elite prospect, but there’s a high floor here.”
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Currently being mocked by Hayden Winks (NBC Sports) after a trade with the Patriots for pick No. 15 (no additional details on compensation).
Winks: “The Lions were dead last in passing EPA in 2020 while primarily playing man coverage, something new DC Aaron Glenn is likely to bring with him from New Orleans. 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah and Horn excelled in man coverage in college, and Horn just showed off 97th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at his pro day. He’s in the CB1 conversation with Surtain and Farley.”