The Detroit Lions aren’t accustomed to seeing themselves near the top of any list following the draft, so it’s been quite a few weeks following the conclusion of the 2021 selection meeting.
Early on, after folks can sit back and take a look at the Detroit class, the theme has been to shower Detroit with praise for what Brad Holmes was able to do as a general manager. It’s a spot that is not occupied for the Lions, but it’s one that the team may start having to get used to given the new brain-trust in charge.
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Once again, the Lions were given another high grade for their drafting, but perhaps better than that, the team was cited as having a top-five class in the league by the folks at NFL.com. In a piece recapping the work from the draft, every class in the league was rated 1-32, and the Lions got an
Here’s what writer Gennaro Filice wrote as to why:
“After a free agency experience largely defined by one-year deals with mid-level players, Lions fans headed into the draft wondering how the new regime would look to shape this roster. The first three picks told the story, with Detroit adding 938 pounds of nasty to the trenches. It began with the no-brainer selection of Sewell, an absolute mauler who won’t turn 21 until the second month of his rookie season. This kind of prospect falling into the Lions’ lap at No. 7 was a gift, and the Lions’ war room suitably reacted like kids on Christmas morning. Next up: Onwuzurike, a 3-tech disruptor who’s clearly Dan Campbell’s kinda guy. “I like f—— people up,” Onwuzurike told a titillated audience of Motor City media via video conference. “I like to get off the line and just put my helmet or my hands on an offensive lineman and f— up an offensive scheme, pretty much. I like pushing ’em back 2, 3 yards and just making ’em feel like s—.” WATCH YO’ KNEECAPS!! In Round 3, Detroit scooped up McNeill, a pocket-collapsing nose tackle whose quick-twitch athleticism belies his 320-pound frame. The man played running back and middle linebacker in high school, for God’s sake. And yes, the film’s delicious. Don’t look now, but the Lions have legit lines on both sides of the ball; the offensive front could be a top-five unit in 2021.”
Detroit has been getting complements not only for the selection of Penei Sewell and the defensive lineman, but Amon-Ra St. Brown as well as rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes. Taking need into account, it’s possibly the best draft in the league given how efficiently the Lions seemed to address all of their gaping holes on the roster.
That’s just what some folks see in the grading community as they look at the class.
Lions Generating High Grades After Draft
The NFL.com folks aren’t the only ones giving the Lions rave reviews for their draft work this offseason. Pro Football Focus also gave the Lions an ‘A’ grade for their draft based mostly around the fact that the Lions were able to get some quality players at every single pick. It’s hard to find folks who haven’t been happy with what the team has done in the draft, and that’s a rare occurrence. Typically, the Lions find themselves in the middle of the pack or lower down the list, but Brad Holmes could have this narrative changing quickly around the league.
It will be interesting to see how the class pans out, but certainly, there is an element who believes the team will be much better off now than they were in the past.
Lions 2021 NFL Draft Recap
Detroit came into the draft and was wide open for the most part after selecting Penei Sewell in the 2021 NFL Draft and even after Levi Onwuzurike in the second-round. In the third-round, the Lions selected defensive lineman Alim McNeill and cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu. Day three, the Lions picked wideout Amon-Ra St.Brown and linebacker Derrick Barnes. Finally, the team closed out their draft by grabbing running back Jermar Jefferson in the seventh-round. Sewell’s addition feels huge given what the team needs, as are the defensive fill-ins at key spots.
No matter whether it was offense or defense, the Lions seemed to fill their needs very confidently as the weekend rolled on. The class had good balance, and now, it will get a chance to see more upgrades with the undrafted free agent class.
The team’s first draft with a new regime seems to be off to a good start in the minds of many league experts.