1. Wide Receiver
This is a clear need for Detroit as many of their upcoming free agents come from this position group. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola appear to have their sights set elsewhere moving forward. At seventh overall, there will be numerous options for them when it comes to adding talent in the passing game.
Although what happens prior to their selection could alter certain plans, they’ll still have a clear opportunity to pick a game changer. Wide receiver should be the biggest priority for them as they look for a star following a free agency period where they’ll likely lose the upper half of their receiving depth chart.
Atop the receiver ranks, the Lions can choose between a Fred Biletnikoff Award winner for outstanding receiver, a Heisman Trophy winner with a Biletnikoff to his name, a speedy threat on the deep ball, and through his yards after catch production within his time at Alabama. Those are Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle respectively. Chase is considered as the best of this talented group so Detroit would love to get him.
One comparison that Lions fans could make for Chase is none other than Kenny Golladay. Detroit is familiar with Golladay so they’ve seen how he can be a problem once the ball is in his hands in the open field and can win jump balls. Those skills are similar to what Chase was showcasing at LSU. Yet, if he goes early to a team who’ll also be looking at wideouts like the Dolphins or Eagles, the Lions shouldn’t have to worry as one of the Alabama stars they’d end up selecting would manage to cause problems for opposing secondaries.
Smith, this past season’s Heisman, has all the skills to be a great player in the NFL. His size is the elephant in the room that you can’t look past yet, slender receivers like his regular comparison Marvin Harrison have made names for themselves despite pro defenses being stronger and able to make it hard on these types of pass catchers.
Moreover, Waddle is someone who can be plugged in immediately and provide the Lions with downfield plays on the deep ball or if they get him in screen action and slants, we saw at Alabama how unstoppable he is once he takes off with the ball. We know how much Jared Goff enjoyed doing screen plays and long balls within play-action in Los Angeles, so Waddle could also be a legitimate fit given the system takes on a similar style.
A wild-card at seven is the 2020 John Mackey Award winner Kyle Pitts. He’s a tight end but isn’t limited to being on the line. He’s a big play tight end who is fully capable of doing damage on the outside due to his receiving skill set. The Lions might have the mindset of being satisfied with T.J. Hockenson as their go-to tight end but, when a talent like Pitts arrives, it will be difficult to pass up having a potential pair of those two. Jesse James was just released after he underperformed since leaving the Steelers, so Pitts could earn a good amount of reps from the moment he gets in the building. Don’t be shocked if we hear some Pitts-to-Detroit conversation as we get closer to draft day.