The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a week away.
With fans going through every possible scenario, there are many different ways this draft could go. It’s the first for the Detroit Lions under new general manager Brad Holmes.
The Lions have a plethora of needs as they begin to rebuild. Here’s a look at the perfect fit for the team at each position.
Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Despite Lance having played just one game in the last calendar year, he’s still near the top of many draft boards. He’s ultra athletic, but could be viewed as a bit of a project. He played at a lower level of competition, but his talent speaks for itself.
The need for development is what makes him a good fit for the Lions. Having just traded for a quarterback in Jared Goff, Detroit doesn’t need an immediate starter.
However, having a player of Lance’s caliber waiting in the wings would be good for the team, as it builds for the future.
Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
In D’Andre Swift, Jamal Williams and Kerryon Johnson, the Lions appear set at running back. The trio is fairly young. How new head coach Dan Campbell decides to use each back will be interesting to follow.
Hill is projected to go in the later rounds, and is the eighth-ranked running back, per CBS Sports. However, he’s strong, and has good vision. Adding a little competition to the field wouldn’t hurt, so adding Hill could pay off in the long haul.
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
After losing Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay in free agency, Detroit needs a playmaker. Chase is certainly that, having put up huge numbers in 2019, before opting out of the 2020 season.
He had an explosive pro day, and remained at the top of draft boards despite being in a similar situation as Lance.
Chase may not fall to Detroit, which holds the No. 7 overall pick. However, if he does, don’t be surprised if Holmes & Co. sprint to call in the pick. Chase is built in the mold of stars who have come before him.
Kyle Pitts, Florida
Pitts is far and away the best tight end in the class. He skyrocketed up draft boards this season, and his size and athleticism make scouts salivate. He’s another player who may not make it to the Lions at No. 7.
Some of the best teams have successfully operated with two stud tight ends. Think New England, which once had both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Although the days of the Lions following “The Patriot Way” are over, building the offense in a similar mold wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The popular pick at tackle is Penei Sewell of Oregon, who opted out of the 2020 season. However, Sewell is another player who may not make it to the Lions at No. 7. He’d also require a position change, as the Lions are set at left tackle with Taylor Decker.
Slater is a right tackle who could push Tyrell Crosby. He also has battled some of the best competition, having gone up against many great defensive linemen in the Big Ten.
With Slater, the Lions could add a ready-to-play tackle, and he will likely still be on the board when the Lions' first-round pick rolls around.
Interior offensive lineman
David Moore, Grambling State
Moore will be a late-round pick in this year’s draft. However, upgrading the interior of the offensive line is not a pressing need for the Lions. With Frank Ragnow and a pair of developing second-year players in Logan Stenberg and Jonah Jackson, don’t expect this to be a position the Lions target hard in the first few rounds.
Moore is strong, with good punch. He is a perfect fit for Detroit because of how good he could be with development.
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As a late-rounder, he has a good chance of making the roster, and is a name the Lions should target on Day 3.
Interior defensive lineman
Tyler Shelvin, LSU
Shelvin is another opt-out who suffered because of it. Once projected as a top-40 pick, Shelvin is now considered to be a late Day 2 pick. He’s not a phenomenal pass-rusher, but is a good run-stopper.
As a sophomore in 2019, Shelvin made 39 tackles. His numbers as a freshman weren’t as good, but he didn’t have a big role that season.
With some development, Shelvin could be a steal and a perfect fit.
Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State
The Draft Network says Rashed’s ideal role is as a “sub-package rusher who could develop into an NFL starter for some teams with time and pro coaching.”
He had an underwhelming senior season. Despite this, Rashed could still be a value pick in the later rounds.
With veteran defensive end Trey Flowers seemingly on his way out of Motown in the next couple of years, this could grow into an even more valuable pick as time goes on. Rashed would get the time to develop while Flowers is still around, and then get a chance to shine when the position opens up.
Micah Parsons, Penn State
If Campbell wants "kneecap biters," he’d be getting one in Parsons. The strength and speed that Parsons possesses would bolster a defense that badly needs help. It’s likely that this draft will see the Lions focusing on defense, and Parsons may end up being the team’s first pick.
Having Parsons would help in both the run-stopping and pass-rushing departments. There are better options at this position when it comes to pass-rushing, but Parsons is an incredibly physical player. The Lions haven’t had a great linebacker in a long time, and Parsons could be the one to turn the tide.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
The Lions may need help at cornerback sooner rather than later, should picks of the past not pan out.
Jeff Okudah did not play well last season, which may turn out to be an anomaly. However, at the very least, Melifonwu would add depth and talent at the position.
Melifonwu is presently projected to be a mid-Day 2 pick. He has good range, size and speed, and was an All-ACC selection in two straight seasons.
Andre Cisco, Syracuse
A teammate of Melifonwu's at Syracuse, Cisco is a popular projection to join the Lions in the middle rounds. Cisco is a hard hitter and a physical player. He’s also good in pass coverage, as he picked off 13 passes in three seasons in college.
Cisco could play a fairly large role early in his career with the Lions, as the defense is still trying to figure out what it wants to do at safety.
New Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn had a good career as an NFL defensive back, and has proven to be a good assistant coach. So, working with Cisco could do wonders for his development.
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