The Detroit Lions will jump head-first into preparations for the NFL Draft later this month after getting started in free agency, and when that happens, there’s a consensus beginning to build about what the team should do.
Given the amount of big changes at the spot, most think the Lions need to chase after a wideout in the draft this year, and as such, there’s been a ton of rumors about who the team could chase after when all is said and done in the months ahead.
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Recently, Pro Football Focus revealed another vote for the team in a mock draft, and writer Brad Spielberger had the team sticking at the seven spot and picking up Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle. Speilberger goes so far as to proclaim Waddle as the “obvious” pick in his breakdown.
“The decision to not use the franchise tag on WR Kenny Golladay makes this an obvious choice for Detroit, as they’re also set to lose Marvin Jones Jr. to free agency. Waddle steps in immediately as the WR1 in Detroit.
The Alabama speedster was off to a remarkable start to the 2020 season, topping 120 receiving yards in all four games while averaging 22.3 yards per reception. Detroit and new head coach Dan Campbell, who has made it quite clear he wants tough players, will appreciate Waddle fighting his way back from what was supposed to be a season-ending ankle injury to play in the national championship game. He was clearly laboring in that game, but it was impressive that he was even out there.”
Waddle is a player who could be seen as one of the top options for the team in the coming draft, so it will be interesting to see if the Lions agree. Between Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith, the Lions aren’t lacking for options high in the draft to solve one of their biggest needs on the field.
Picking a favorite could be tough, but it’s something that some like Spielberger see as quite obvious for the Lions with Waddle being an elite fit.
Jaylen Waddle Highlights and Stats
Even though Waddle might not be on the forefront of everyone’s mind at this point given he missed much of the 2020 season with injury, there’s no question he is still a great player and capable of making a major difference on the field. With 1,965 yards to his credit and 17 touchdowns, Waddle has been one of the better wideouts to come through in the Alabama program lately. In 2020, he went down with an October ankle injury which cost him most of the season, but when the comeback happens, it could only prove that Waddle is one of the best young wideouts set to come out. Health will be a big determining factor on where Waddle ends up, but if he is healthy, a team like Detroit could quickly cash in as these highlights show.
There’s obviously no questioning the talent of Waddle when considering the whole picture, and assuming he’s healthy, he could join names like Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith as top wideouts for the impending NFL Draft.
Wideout Seen as Huge Lions’ Need During 2021 NFL Draft
With the seventh pick, the Lions should be wide open when it comes to the 2021 draft thanks to the fact that they’ve addressed a ton of spots on both offense and defense recently within their selections. One of the most obvious spots of need would be the defensive line and linebacker given Detroit’s constant lack of a consistent pass rush. The team could also use more young depth at the cornerback spot given the struggles there in relation to depth that have been greatly aided by injury. On offense, the Lions could use another young wideout such as Chase, Waddle or Smith, and while they might seem set at quarterback, there could always be a significant challenge to that notion moving forward if the team sees a player that they like such as Trey Lance or Justin Fields.
Obviously, Waddle will be a name that comes up a lot between now and late April, and once again, another site believes he is the best pick for Detroit when all is said and done.