Ranking Lions Top 5 Draft Needs Following Free Agency

Jaylen Waddle

Getty Jaylen Waddle celebrates a score in the SEC title game.

The Detroit Lions have pushed through the offseason and with just over three weeks until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, there are some definite themes coming into focus as it relates to what the team should do next to continue their roster building.

It’s been a decent start for the Lions in terms of addressing needs, but there is much more heavy lifting to come in the days ahead in order to get the roster where it needs to be for the future.

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What should the Lions be looking for when it comes time for the draft? The team still has some major needs to address when all is said and done. Here’s a look at what the team must consider


Wide Receiver

The Lions have made some major depth additions at wideout in free agency in the form of Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Damion Ratley and Kalif Raymond, but they lost major production in the form of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola. Arguably, the team needs some major young talent in this draft to help reload the roster for the run in the future. Given the talent that could fly off the board early, the Lions could elect to make this a quick priority. If they don’t, it’s likely the team is eying players down the board in the middle rounds. Either way, game breaking wideouts are going to be a must for the team and the short-term free agents they signed makes it almost a lock that Detroit picks someone up early in this draft at wideout. If they don’t, the future of their offense could be up for grabs.


Linebacker

The Lions haven’t done much to upgrade a needy and shaky linebacker spot this offseason minus signing Alex Anzalone for depth. Such a move won’t preclude them from bigger additions in the weeks ahead, and the Lions have to be all-eyes when it comes to adding talent for linebacker. Whether that means picking a player like Micah Parsons or someone else early or revisiting the spot in the middle rounds, the Lions have to find a way to get a young difference maker into the mix. Coverage at linebacker has been a huge problem in recent seasons, so Detroit has to get the job done and find the right fit for their scheme and make more than just depth additions this season.

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Defensive Back

Detroit has made only one major addition this offseason for the backfield in the form of cornerback Corn Elder, and no matter how good a move that seems, the team still needs to find a way to supplement their young backfield with some more playmakers. The Lions were shut out at safety as names such as John Johnson and Damonte Kazee signed elsewhere, so safety could also be a spot of concern for the Lions that they need to address fairly early on. The backfield needs more depth and more help, and it didn’t exactly come in free agency. That means the Lions are going to have to step up and find some more pieces in the coming weeks.


Tight End

Like it or not, tight end is once again a need for the Lions even considering T.J. Hockenson as well as Alize Mack and Josh Hill. Detroit has one borderline elite player in Hockenson and a bunch of other guys who are decent depth players. Does this mean the Lions should be in on names like Kyle Pitts early on? Perhaps, but more than that, there needs to be an addition at this spot in the coming weeks to give the roster a potential solid second option to rely on for the future. Mack is unproven, as is Hunter Bryant. Hill is a solid blocker and good veteran, but he shouldn’t be depended on to carry things at this spot moving forward.


Defensive Line

It’s a coin flip between defensive line or quarterback for the final big spot of need for this Lions team, but given the fact that the Lions signed Tim Boyle and also traded for Jared Goff, they could be semi-set at the spot for the 2021 season. Defensive line has seen some moves also, from the addition of Michael Brockers and Charles Harris as well as the re-signing of Romeo Okwara, but the Lions need to do more to ensure they can be fearsome in the trenches rushing the passer and stopping the run. Detroit could gamble on a middle round quarterback, but they should be prioritizing building up the trenches in a major way considering their struggles there lately.

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