The Detroit Lions have a lot of work left to do.
The upcoming NFL Draft will be a focal point for the Lions rebuild—if you want to call it one. With Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones out the door, coupled with a defense looking to rebound from a historically bad season, there are plenty of holes on the roster. General manager Brad Holmes has brought in many stopgaps, but the long-term commitment to these players remains uncertain.
If you are looking for long-term solutions, the draft is the place to start.
The seventh overall pick should prove valuable for the Lions, regardless of which direction they go with it. However, building a competitive football team will likely hinge on the team hitting on Day 2 and even Day 3 picks. With six draft picks so far, the Lions have multiple options. Those multiple options include drafting multiple players from the same position.
Doubling up on a position usually seems like a poor decision, but the Lions can justify it. The group that has gotten the most attention has been the receiver group, and the draft is loaded up top and throughout. With the likes of Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman slated to start, and both on short-term deals, the Lions acquiring two receivers in the draft makes a lot of sense. The same could be said along the defensive line, at linebacker, and at cornerback due to their issues with starters and depth.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which positions should the Lions double up on in the draft?
My answer: Not only do I think the Lions should draft two receivers, but I think they need to draft two receivers. The team needs to build something long-term, and drafting two receivers is one solution.
The early options, including Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Kyle Pitts (yes, he is a tight end and yes, I still count him as a receiver), can each jump into the number one receiver role for the Lions. One of those four names will likely be available at seven, and if the Lions stay put, they should be strongly considered.
If the Lions go elsewhere at seven or decide to trade down, the late first and early second rounds still feature many talented options. Rashod Bateman, Terrace Marshall, Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore, and Elijah Moore are just some of players that could be available. Even if the Lions draft a receiver at seven, if one of those names is available at their second round pick, going back-to-back on receivers is worth debating.
Let’s assume the Lions draft a receiver with one of their first two picks. Thankfully for the Lions, the depth of this class is fantastic. One of the remaining holes for the Lions is at slot receiver, and there are many options to fill that void. D’Wayne Eskridge, Jaelon Darden, Cade Johnson, or Amari Rodgers could be available in rounds three or four to replace Danny Amendola.
As for other positions, I think defensive tackle is the next likeliest position to double up on. This draft is lacking top-tier talent, but the depth is decent with players filling multiple roles. Michael Brockers is likely the lone dependable tackle on the team, with Da’Shawn Hand experiencing injury woes, Nick Williams being lackluster, and John Pensini being a young, inconsistent sixth rounder. The defensive interior could use some pass rushing presence, as well as some backups.
Linebacker is a position I think the Lions could address early, but I am uncertain if they would draft two. Jamie Collins and Alex Anzalone are slated to be starters, and an early round rookie would be added to that mix. While having insurance in case of injuries is important, the significance of linebackers has diminished in recent years, and I don’t think the Lions would be able to turn a mid-to-late round rookie into anything more than a special teamer.
What direction do you think the Lions should go in: should they try to fill every hole, or double down on some positions?