The Detroit Lions had a major need for a wide receiver in the 2021 season, and now that the offseason will be coming up soon, the team will be able to think about making that fix in a significant way.
When the market heats up, the Lions will be able to chase plenty of elite talents on the market, and the impending wideout class is one of the deepest in recent memory. From the top down, there should be plenty of talented players that the Lions can choose from to fix this need.
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So how big will the Lions go? There’s no question the team has a bit of money to spend this year, but they will need to choose how to allocate it properly. This could lead them to chase a player a bit further down the board at wideout that has no less talent.
Recently, ESPN put together an insider list projecting where the top 50 free agents will land. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Lions didn’t have a projection within the top 30. They did land a player who was ranked in the 39 spot in the form of wideout Christian Kirk of the Arizona Cardinals.
Writers Jeremy Fowler and Matt Bowen had Kirk landing with the Lions on this list, and as for why it makes sense, Fowler said he believes Kirk’s ability to play inside or out will benefit him in free agency. Bowen explained that Kirk’s ability to go deep or stay short would match well with rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Obviously, there are a lot of different ways for the Lions to consider going, and Kirk may not cost as much as a top name such as Chris Godwin. That could make him appealing to Brad Holmes and the Lions, who did similar deals last year and profited with underrated free agents.
Kirk might not be the name fans are clamoring for, but he has done enough early in his career to warrant this potential look in free agency. If he does end up as the addition, it could be a savvy and important one for Detroit’s offense.
Kirk’s Career Stats & Highlights
Thus far in his career, Kirk has been up and down with Arizona and hasn’t enjoyed a ton of personal accolades or success. He was a former second-round pick of the Cardinals out of Texas A&M in 2018, and has put up decent numbers thus far in the league after a solid college career that featured 28 touchdowns in the SEC. In 2018, he was a PFWA All-Rookie player, but he has yet to crack a Pro Bowl or become an All-Pro. That’s in spite of solid numbers given 2,902 receiving yards and 17 career touchdowns, which are very respectable numbers.
Here’s a look at some of Kirk’s best work from the 2020 season:
Kirk would come to the Lions at a time they need a serious threat for their wideout group. If he’s the choice, he could give the team some of the playmaking and speed they have lacked going deep for the last few years.
Wideout Will Be a Top Offseason Target for Lions
It should not be a surprise to see the Lions rumored to be in the mix for wideouts this offseason because the position is a huge need for the team moving forward. The Lions didn’t make a splash signing in the 2021 offseason at the spot, and that hurt them at times on the field. Jared Goff needs a bit more help at receiver to feel good about what the Lions’ offense can become, and taking a big swing on a free agent or a high draft pick would be an easy way to perhaps change the narrative ahead of 2022. Far too often, the Detroit offense lacked big plays, which culminated in the 18th rated passing attack in the league.
The good news? There are some options already on the roster. In Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions have a potential young stud developing. The team has also witnessed Kalif Raymond become a late-season force, and since signing off waivers, Josh Reynolds has become a major difference-maker for the team and a player who could be in the mix for a consistent role moving forward in Detroit. Add in the development of Trinity Benson and KhaDarel Hodge and the Lions do have some youngsters capable of making plays at the spot providing they continue to grow and develop. The Lions also have Quintez Cephus coming back from injury.
Kirk could add some nice depth to the group if he is indeed the choice in the end as ESPN expects.