DETROIT – The Detroit Lions are in a good spot ahead of this year’s NFL Draft. They have a top 10 pick, and a new general manager and head coach who have made encouraging early decisions and moves ahead of a draft that seems to be playing right into the Lions’ hands.
Here are three reasons the Lions can’t go wrong with their pick at No. 7.
The Lions have needs all over the field. That might be an obvious statement considering it’s the third straight year with a top 10 pick and another brand new coach and front office, but it’s true. One of those needs is wide receiver. Mock drafts have paired the Lions with DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and Mel Kiper even mocked arguably the draft’s best wideout, Ja’Marr Chase, to the Lions last week.
There’s also a need for an impact player on defense. The most likely option in the first round is linebacker Micah Parsons, from Penn State. He could be the pick at No. 7, or the Lions could take him if they’re able to trade back a few spots.
Even though the Lions added Jared Goff this offseason, they could still pick a quarterback if the one they like falls to them. Daniel Jeremiah, of NFL Network, recently mocked Justin Fields to the Lions at No. 7.
The QB market will have a huge impact on what the Lions can do. The first three picks in the draft are slated to be quarterbacks, and the fourth pick could be one, too. That leaves some of the top non-QB talents available to the Lions. The rush on QBs has resulted in offensive tackle Penei Sewell falling to the Lions in a recent mock from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.
There’s also the chance mentioned above that a quarterback the Lions like falls to them. Picking a QB could give the Lions their possible leader of the future, giving him the chance to learn under Goff for a year or two.
If a QB falls and the Lions don’t want to draft him, it could open the door to a trade. That’d probably be the best-case scenario as the Lions are looking to start their rebuild.
Future draft capital
Having two first-round picks next year and two first-round picks in 2023 allows the Lions to make a luxury pick this year. If they really want a wide receiver at No. 7, they can take one, knowing they can fill other needs with the extra first round picks later.
Picking an offensive player at No. 7 would mean the Lions are building up the side of the ball in which they have more talent. It could also show how invested the Lions are in Goff and younger core players like Frank Ragnow, D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson.
No matter what direction the Lions go at No. 7, the future first-round picks insulate this year’s pick, and Brad Holmes’ first draft as a whole.