Wed, 19 May 2021

Tim Twentyman

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and speculation as to what the Lions might do at No. 7 is ramping up. The mock drafts around the country are pretty split between the Lions selecting a quarterback, wide receiver or starting to rebuild their defense at No. 7.

Here's a look at the latest batch of mock drafts out there:

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Why: This could be a trade spot, with some teams picking after Detroit potentially in the market for a quarterback, but I wouldn't rule out the Lions staying put and taking a signal-caller themselves. Fields has more upside than Jared Goff.

Jeremiah's full mock

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Why: The Lions must add more help at receiver for Jared Goff. Smith is the most talented inside/outside target in this draft.

Zierlein's full mock

Peter Schrager, NFL.com: DeVonta Smith (16th pick after trade w/ Arizona)

Why: If Detroit trades out of No. 7, scoops up some additional picks and still gets Smith, I'd see that as a Day 1 home run. The Alabama product has elite ball skills, won in big spots and is a gamer in every sense of the word. The Lions bid farewell to their top two wideouts in free agency, and Golden Tate a year before that. Insert the Heisman winner.

Schrager's full mock

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Why: Parsons should be Dan Campbell's type of player: aggressive, fast and tough, whether chasing down quarterbacks in the pocket or ball-carriers trying to get to the sideline.

Round 2: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

Round 3: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Round 4: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

Reuter's full mock

Adam Rank, NFL.com: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Why: I know you just traded for Jared Goff. But he's regressed the last couple of years ... with offensive guru Sean McVay. Maybe Goff can thrive with Anthony Lynn in Detroit. You know, the coach who was in charge during Justin Herbert's amazing rookie season? But I think we've seen enough of Goff to know what we're getting. Goff would be fine as, like, the backup in Kansas City or something. Fields could be your QB of the future.

Rank's full mock

Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Why: Should the Dolphins select Chase at No. 6, the next-best pick to increase the Lions' 2021 win total is linebacker Micah Parsons.

Frelund's full mock

Todd McShay, ESPN.com: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Why: There is one of the top four pass-catchers left here and a glaring void in the Detroit wide receiver room after Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. signed elsewhere. (Sorry, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman aren't going to cut it as No. 1 options in a division that includes Davante Adams, Allen Robinson II, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.) Waddle is an elusive burner, giving new QB Jared Goff someone to look for early and often each week.

Round 2: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Why: Bolton could be the heir to the middle linebacker spot for Jamie Collins Sr. He shows range in coverage, strong tackling and an excellent ability to read the quarterback. He had 95 tackles for Mizzou last season, along with five passes broken up and a pair of sacks.

McShay's full mock

Meet the Prospect: Justin Fields Lions sign unrestricted free agent S Dean Marlowe TE prospect Kyle Pitts' versatility could interest Lions

Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Why: We haven't had the Lions taking a QB since they traded for Jared Goff, but if Fields is staring them in the face here they have to make it happen. Goff is a system quarterback who struggled at times with Sean McVay dialing up the plays. There's no reason to think he'll magically rediscover his game in Detroit.

Round 2: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Wilson's full mock

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Why: The Lions would be happy with any receiver at this point, but to land the consensus top wideout in the class is a fantastic development for new GM Brad Holmes.

Round 2: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Trapasso's full mock

Josh Edwards, CBSSports.com: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Why: Detroit is going to be able to challenge the field more vertically. Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams are not going to cut it in that wide receiver room.

Round 2: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Edwards' full mock

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Why: The Lions have issues outside in their passing game, even with the additions of a few receivers in free agency. In this mock, they opt for Waddle over DeVonta Smith.

Prisco's full mock

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Why: Hard to say whether first-year GM Brad Holmes is firmly in or out of the quarterback market. If a signal-caller of Lance's caliber falls into the Lions' lap, however, he might be hard-pressed to forge ahead with Jared Goff. Landing in Detroit would seemingly afford Lance the chance to sit and learn for a year while he resolves some ball placement and timing issues, positioning him as an imposing dual-threat option whenever he's ready to take the reins.

Middlehurst-Schwartz's full mock

Nick Klopsis, Newsday: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Why: The Lions' current projected starters at wide receiver: Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus. Williams missed all of 2020 with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and Perriman and Cephus combined for 50 catches, 854 yards and five touchdowns. Ja'Marr Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but he won the Biletnikoff Award and set SEC receiving records in 2019 thanks to his great hands and mixture of speed, shiftiness and physicality.

Klopsis' full mock

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Why: If the Lions could slide back and grab Parsons, we'd like it even more.

Edholm's full mock

Cory McCann Ezring, Sports Illustrated: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Why: The Lions lost several key receivers in free agency. To remedy this, Detroit adds a speed element to its wide receiver room that it currently lacks. Waddle is an immediate three-level threat with top-notch run-after-catch ability.

Round 2: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Round 3: Alim McNeil, DL, North Carolina State

Ezring's full mock

Ben Linsey, Pro Football Focus: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Why: The Lions have taken fliers on speed in free agency with the additions of Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman and Kalif Raymond. Smith would give that group the X receiver it's currently lacking. It's a role Smith played in an uber-talented Alabama offense with tremendous success these past few years. His ability to consistently create separation in his routes and come down with any pass in his vicinity makes it a whole lot easier to look past potential size concerns.

Linsey's full mock

Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Why: Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams, but I don't think the Lions are going after a quarterback with this pick because they're likely to give Jared Goff a try for one year. If so, Detroit will focus on its other big issues, including their receivers. Both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have signed elsewhere, so two new receivers are needed. Smith is an excellent route runner with great hands and tremendous run-after-catch ability.

Cherepinsky's full mock

Hayden Winks, NBCSports: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (15th pick after trade w/ NE)

Why: The Lions were dead last in passing EPA in 2020 while primarily playing man coverage, something new DC Aaron Glenn is likely to bring with him from New Orleans. 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah and Horn excelled in man coverage in college, and Horn just showed off 97th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at his pro day. He's in the CB1 conversation with Surtain and Farley.

Winks' full mock

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