The Detroit Lions are in the midst of a full-blown rebuild. While the new regime would rather categorize it as retooling, replacing the general manager, head coach, coaching staff, starting quarterback, and several players on the roster is frankly more than simple retooling.
And with no big splash signings in free agency, the Lions have done little to upgrade the roster from the one that went 5-11 last season on a team that’s been in the basement of the NFC North for three straight years.
It’s clear the new-look Lions will attempt to use the draft to rebuild this team. And their first chance to do so will be with the seventh overall selection in the first round later this month. While Detroit will have plenty of high-level prospects to choose from, here are some choices that could enrage the fan base if made with that first pick.
Another first-round tight end?
When it comes to selecting first-round tight ends, the Lions don’t possess the best track record. Yet, the fact T.J. Hockenson is coming off his first Pro Bowl season is a reason for optimism.
Throw in the fact Florida’s Kyle Pitts is being touted as the top receiving option regardless of position in the upcoming NFL draft, and the young tight end being an option for Detroit with the seventh overall selection makes sense.
But drafting two first-round tight ends in three years would seem to be an unwise team-building strategy, even if both turn out to be perennial Pro Bowlers. And exactly how having Pitts and Hockenson in the Motor City would aid the rebuild while several other areas on the roster remain unaddressed would be a hard sell.
While lining up Pitts as a big receiver in an attempt to make him the next Megatron could be a solid workaround, selling the Lions’ fanbase on a two tight end set that’s going to help the franchise bounce back after three-straight losing seasons would be tough and likely met with extreme skepticism. Especially if the Detroit defense continues to perform as poorly as they did last season.