The Detroit Lions are on the clock in the 2021 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, and they are in a very interesting spot. While the top three picks were all quarterbacks, as expected, there was a surprising run on offensive tackles, and linebacker Micah Parsons went a little early, too.
That leaves the Lions with their choice of any of the top pass catchers in this draft, PLUS the option of picking a quarterback that many believe could be a franchise player for many years to come. As a reminder, here’s how the board has fallen thus far.
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
Now let’s briefly go over the more popular options for the Lions at seven.
LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase
Chase is the complete package when it comes to the physical tools needed to be an NFL wide receiver. While his tape at LSU displays a big, physical receiver that often wins by bullying the opposing secondary, he proved during his pro day this week that he also has NFL speed and can separate simply with his feet, as well.
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
Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
Waddle may have the best hands in the draft, and he’s a very polished route runner, as well. His speed was absolutely obvious during his days with the Crimson Tide, but his production was overshadowed each year by Alabama’s extremely deep set of receivers. He’s a little short at 5-foot-10, but he’s got every other physical tool in his arsenal. He did not run at his pro day, however, as Waddle is still likely not 100 percent from his injury.
Alabama WR DeVonta Smith
The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, Smith was absolutely unstoppable in 2020. He led the NCAA in receptions (117), receiving yards (1856), receiving touchdowns (23!!), and even punt return yards (237).
Smith is a top-tier route runner, and his speed and agility numbers would be off the chart had he fully ran at Alabama pro day. The big question with Smith is whether someone of his size could hold up in the NFL. At 6-foot-1, but just 175 pounds, his body type is extremely rare and there are not a lot of successful NFL receivers of that size who have gone on to have successful careers:
There are over 2,500 WR in the RAS database with a height and weight recorded.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) January 3, 2021
Over 2,100 from 2000-2020.
Of those? Only 27 were 6' or taller and under 180 pounds.
Of those? Only a single receiver since 2000 with those measurements broke 750 yards receiving in a single season.
Is Smith talented enough to break the mold?
Florida TE Kyle Pitts
Some consider Kyle Pitts to be the most talented pass catcher in this draft, but drafting a tight end in the top 10 (again) is going to be a hard sell to Lions fans who have spent the last few years convinced the positional value isn’t there for a top-10 tight end. Pitts made his case this week with a ridiculous pro day that included the longest wingspan recorded for a tight end in the past 20 years, and a blazing 4.44 40-yard dash to go along with it.
And those show up on the tape, too. Pitts’ catch radius is damn-near impossible, and he certainly held his own against top-tier SEC cornerbacks when lined up outside. While he’s not likely to transition to a full-time outside wide receiver role, he has the talent to be a do-it-all receiver.
Ohio State QB Justin Fields
For whatever reason, Fields hasn’t been getting the hype of the top three quarterbacks in this draft. Maybe it’s the poor legacy of Ohio State quarterbacks in the NFL, maybe it’s the prevailing thought that Fields has trouble going through his progressions.
But it’s hard not to see the overwhelming positives in his game, too. His athleticism puts him firmly in the “dual-threat quarterback” category that is trendy in today’s NFL, and he also has a cannon of an arm. But his best trait is something that is rarely learned at the next level: accuracy. His adjusted completion percentage of 80.8 was second-best in the nation according to PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft guide.
With the top five candidates listed, now it’s time for you to vote. Erik Schlitt’s pick is coming later on Friday, but who would you pick if you were in his shoes?
Who should the Lions pick in our Community Mock Draft?
This poll is closed
WR Ja’Marr Chase
WR Jaylen Waddle
WR DeVonta Smith
TE Kyle Pitts
QB Justin Fields