Detroit Lions lock No. 7 pick in 2021 NFL Draft: Early look at some targets

NFL Draft held in April

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance (5) warms up before the FCS championship NCAA college football game against James Madison, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance (5) warms up before the FCS championship NCAA college football game against James Madison, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

With a loss on Sunday, the Detroit Lions locked up the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The NFL regular season has wrapped up and picks 1-18 are now set. The draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play. The 86th NFL draft is scheduled to be held April 29-May 1, 2021, in Cleveland. Here’s the top 10:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)

2. New York Jets (2-14)

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans, 4-12)

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)

6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)

7. Detroit Lions (5-11)

8. Carolina Panthers (5-11)

9. Denver Broncos (5-11)

10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

The Lions, of course, are still working to replace their general manager and head coach -- so much is unknown about the team’s direction and vision heading into the NFL offseason.

Related: Detroit Lions 2021 opponents set: Here’s who they will play next season

Will quarterback Matthew Stafford return -- or was Sunday’s game against Minnesota his last in a Lions uniform? Will the team extend wide receiver Kenny Golladay? We won’t know until the team hires new leadership. But it’s a safe assumption that all options will be on the table for the incoming front office.

So who could be available for the Lions to draft at No. 7?

  • Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State: If the Lions move on from Stafford, they will surely be looking for a quarterback in the first round -- and there are a handful of really nice prospects. The Lions will probably not have a shot at the top three QB prospects (Lawrence, Fields, Wilson), but Trey Lance, who has big potential, could be an option at No. 7. He’s climbing draft boards -- despite playing just one game last season. Keep an eye on Lance!
  • DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama: Even if the Lions extend Kenny Golladay, they could be losing veteran WR Marvin Jones -- so they will have a void at the position regardless. Smith is a Heisman candidate and is probably the best at the position in the draft (between him and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase).
  • Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan: The Lions defense is bad. Very bad. Any type of playmaker, especially on the defensive line, would be welcomed. Paye is a disrupter and could make some noise for the Lions -- and he’s a Wolverine!
  • Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State: The Lions could be moving on from Jarrad Davis this offseason after not picking up his team option. The Lions need help at linebacker, regardless. Parsons is a talented defensive leader who could offer a reset at middle linebacker for the Lions.

The Lions have a lot of needs. There are some good options for the offensive line and at cornerback in this draft. It’ll all depend on the decision at quarterback. The draft board will change over the next few months.

Related: 4 candidates for next Detroit Lions head coach


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.