The Detroit Lions are in full-on rebuild mode and general manager Brad Holmes needs to leave Day 1 of the 2021 draft with a foundational piece for the organization.
Like in most drafts, there were a few surprises leading up to the Lions pick, but these circumstances have opened up an opportunity for the Lions to make a massive upgrade to their roster.
POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota
- Atlanta Falcons: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Cincinnati Bengals: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Miami Dolphins: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Before we get to the pick, it’s important to point out that the rules for this mock draft don’t allow trades. If this situation presented itself in real life—with QB Justin Fields, TE Kyle Pitts, and WR Ja’Marr Chase all still available—it’d be a safe bet that Holmes would be looking to trade out of this spot and acquire more draft capital.
Having at least one quarterback available when the Lions are on the clock would be an ideal situation for the Lions because the Carolina Panthers—who are heavily in the market for a signal-caller—are slotted in the next draft spot. Holmes would surely be on the phone with the Denver Broncos (No. 9 pick), New England Patriots (No. 15), and Washington Football Team (No. 19) to see if they want to jump Carolina for a quarterback, while also talking with the Panthers (No. 8) to see if they want to move up a spot to secure their guy.
So, without further ado, with the seventh pick in the POD Community Mock, the Detroit Lions select Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, LSU.
What Chase brings to the Lions
A true WR1, Chase dominates everyone who lines up across from him.
Chase found his way on the field as a true freshman at LSU, and despite a loaded receiver group, he managed 23 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore, he flourished in a starting role, exploding for 84 receptions, 1,780 yards, and an insane 20 touchdowns over 14 games that included a National Championship victory. He was such a talented receiving option at LSU that he outshined Justin Jefferson, who went on to be a finalist for NFL offensive rookie of the year in 2020.
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but he quickly reminded people at LSU’s pro day what a physical specimen he is:
Ja'Marr Chase is a WR prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.9 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 27 out of 2480 WR from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 31, 2021
Splits projected, times unofficial.https://t.co/I1RdOGnsfl #RAS pic.twitter.com/LveCnVKWKl
On the football field, Chase is a natural WR-X, but he is also capable of lining up in the slot to create mismatches. He has the ability to win off the line of scrimmage with a variety of releases but he will often lean on his raw power to control the defensive back.
Once he is in phase, he is a route technician with a full route tree at his disposal. Again, the various hand and footwork skills in his toolbelt allow him to gain separation mid-route, throttling down in zones and up when the ball is in the air. He understands how to manipulate space against different types of coverage and has the football intelligence to always know what's happening around him. Chase is more explosive than quick, but he routinely sets up defensive backs with his footwork fluidity and often finds himself creating a large target for his quarterback.
Chase has natural hands and aggressively attacks the ball in the air, whether he is cleanly open or fighting for a 50/50 ball. When he battles for a contested catch, he has the body control, physicality, and bully mentality to overpower his opponent. Once the ball is in his hands, Chase’s ability to play fast and powerful, yet under control, allows him to run past defensive backs or run them into the ground.
Here are all 20 touchdowns from Ja'Marr Chase's epic 2019 season. pic.twitter.com/5HkQl9TPI3— James Simpson (@JS_Football) March 31, 2021
Chase is a complete wide receiver with few flaws to his game. If he is there when the Lions are on the clock they need to make him the pick without hesitation.
What grade do you give this pick?
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The Carolina Panthers are on the clock in the POD Community mock draft.