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Dan Campbell says Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Micah Parsons all ‘worthy’ of 7th overall pick

Could the Lions draft one of these three players or is it smokescreen season?

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell joined The Rich Eisen Show late last week, and he immediately revealed some key draft intel for the Lions.

“We will not pick at number seven a kicker a punter or a long snapper. That’s a promise,” Campbell said.

All kidding aside, the conversation turned to some actual contenders for Detroit’s first pick, and Campbell had some interesting things to say. Eisen asked Campbell how he would compare prospects like either of the Alabama receivers—DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle—against Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. Campbell’s response was interesting, to say the least.

“All three of those players are, I believe, worthy in that range. I can tell you that,” Campbell said. “Man they are all very, very, very good football players, and they’re all different, certainly. It’s pretty fun, is what it is. We’re having a blast doing it right now, but I would be happy with any of those guys.”

Of course, Campbell’s words need to be taken with extreme skepticism. This interview took place six days before the draft, so there is almost certainly an ulterior motive here from the Lions’ head coach. Some of the things Campbell said match up with prominent NFL Draft rumors. Others don’t.

When it comes to Parsons, the Lions have been connected to him by several media outlets. One of the larger voices when it comes to that has been MMQB’s Albert Breer, who, once again, reiterated the team’s interest in the linebacker on Monday morning.

“The other name I’ve heard here is Parsons’s, which connects to Chris Spielman’s influence in the new Brad Holmes/Campbell regime,” Breer wrote.

Though Parson’s stock seems to have fallen a bit this offseason due to some off-field concerns and some holes in his tape, the Lions’ interest in him has at least appeared to be consistent. Parsons said the Lions have met with him several times

As for wide receiver, the Lions have apparently been sending mixed messages. The need for a long-term wide receiver is abundantly clear, and it wasn’t too long ago that Chris Spielman said he believes the NFL has moved to a place where teams should be building from the outside in. However, Breer said the word around the league is the Lions may not go receiver at the top of the draft.

“Very few people who know Dan Campbell believe the receiver need will be addressed this high,” Breer said.

We’re now just three days away from the 2021 NFL Draft, and it seems like the Lions’ intentions with the seventh overall pick are as murky as ever.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.