We’re less than a week away from the 2021 NFL Draft and it couldn’t get here any sooner.
From discussions about the value of drafting certain positions like an off-the-ball linebacker to the need for Detroit to draft a successor to Jared Goff at No. 7, and everything in between, we’ve exhausted all the talking points.
All of them except for today’s Question of the Day...
Which position is a must-have for the Lions in the 2021 NFL Draft?
While Detroit obviously has needs all over the place on both offense and defense, there are a few positions the Lions can cross off their draft board if we’re talking about “must-have” spots.
First things first, Detroit has a lot—and I mean a lot—of positions they could stand to upgrade on defense. At each level, Detroit’s defense could use an upgrade or a contingency plan just about anywhere. Detroit’s youthful cornerback group is a wait-and-see project, their entire linebacker position could look completely different a year from now, and the defensive line is teetering on boom-or-bust potential.
However, I don’t know if there’s a must-have position on defense. You could make a case for safety, but I think Detroit could skate by in the 2021 season with the guys they have. It wouldn’t be pretty by any means, but you might as well see what you have in Tracy Walker and Will Harris under a competent coaching staff.
On offense, running back is a position where the Lions are very solid from top to bottom and need not invest their limited draft capital into the position. Aside from it already being one of the most fun backfields in all of football, Detroit has a clear No. 1 in D’Andre Swift, but both Jamaal Williams and Kerryon Johnson have shown the ability to carry an offense for stretches at a time when called upon. All three tote versatile skillsets as pass catchers and pass blockers, so the Lions have finally put together a running game they can count on.
For all intents and purposes, tight end is another position where the Lions don’t need to add anything else. With T.J. Hockenson, the newly signed Josh Hill, and the untapped Hunter Bryant in their tight end’s room, Detroit is set up with a group of guys who all bring something to the table. Hockenson is the versatile, do-it-all tight end, Josh Hill is the “front door” to an offense with his blocking acumen, and Hunter Bryant hopes to crack the roster as a pass-catching threat that can stretch the offense downfield.
The left side of Detroit’s offensive line is in great shape with Taylor Decker and Jonah Jackson holding it down. Frank Ragnow is on the cusp of becoming an All Pro center, but that’s where Detroit’s certainty ends up front on offense.
For me, the Lions must draft an offensive tackle to play right tackle from day one. Everybody’s favorite swing tackle, Tyrell Crosby, is a solid spot-start option, but Detroit needs to take advantage of this deep and talented tackle class at some point in the first two days to improve their offensive line. Everyone else on offense would stand to benefit, from the aforementioned running backs and tight ends to Goff and the receivers.