The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a week away. By now, most teams have finalized their draft boards internally, scouted their foremost prospects extensively, and prepared their prospective tactical approaches to maneuver through the draft process. The Detroit Lions and general manager Brad Holmes’ newly situated front office staff have been relatively discrete about their plans for this year’s draft.
A substantial number of NFL analysts and pundits have speculated that the Lions are not locked into their spot and may opt to trade down in examination of general manager Brad Holmes’ cues of deploying an “all things considered” approach in this year’s draft during his latest media session.
Another considerable amount of deliberation has been drawn towards the idea that the most beneficial decision for the Lions would be to draft a wide receiver in the early stages, specifically with the seventh pick. With the talented array of wide-out college standouts predicted to go within the top ten of this year’s draft, the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, or DeVonta Smith would provide an immediate boost to a wide receiver corps that has been completely restructured this past offseason.
However, a note to keep in mind is that history does not bode well for the Lions when selecting with the seventh pick in the NFL draft. The team has a history of choosing draft busts at that specific spot despite the candidates coming off of exceptional careers at the collegiate level. Most notably, the most recent wide receiver chosen by the Lions with their seventh pick was Roy Williams in 2004 who never really lived up to the high-level expectations sought of him amidst his tenure in Motown City.
In a wholly unalike roster compared to last season, the Detroit Lions require the flexibility to add a few pieces to several positions on the squad by injecting talented youth via the draft to facilitate internal competition or bolster current positional depth. Analysts suggest that there is a high probability that the Lions will spiral towards adding to their wide receiver, linebacker, and safety positional groups in the 2021 draft due to the schematic and tactical adjustments assembled by the new regime.
In consideration of the fact that the roster has been thinned out at several positions in the offseason due to a receding salary cap and player departures, a potential wise move would be for the Lions to accrue more draft selections by leveraging the trade capital of their current seventh pick.
My personal favorite mock draft was recently published by a fellow SideLion Report contributor, Robert Jones, which had the Detroit Lions moving down to the 16th pick of the draft to select Penn State’s linebacker Micah Parsons. All the while adding two more draft picks to play with in later rounds.
While the telltale signs of the direction that the team intends to gear towards in this year’s draft have been largely absent, speculation has channeled in several directions. Regardless of what the team decides to do with the seventh pick, the foremost factor remains that the Detroit Lions have a plethora of needs at a variety of positions.
Ultimately, the final decision made by the front office with regards to this year’s draft will be the determinant circumstance of where the team is headed as the new regime prepares to mold the roster for years to come.