Lions Predicted to Target ‘Rising’ WR to ‘Keep Improving’ Offense

Jared Goff Xavier Legette

Getty ESPN's Mel Kiper projected the Detroit Lions to add South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette as another weapon for Jared Goff in the first round of his newest 2024 NFL mock draft.

Pundits initially expected the Detroit Lions to use the first round of the 2024 NFL draft to find a future top cornerback or an elite pass rushing prospect. However, the Lions found stopgaps at those needs in NFL free agency. Therefore, on March 19, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projected the Lions to upgrade their offense in the first round with wide receiver Xavier Legette.

Kiper slotted Legette to the Lions at No. 29 overall in his latest NFL mock draft.

“How good is this Detroit roster? General manager Brad Holmes has done a stellar job since he was hired in 2021,” Kiper wrote. “He filled the Lions’ biggest offseason hole with the trade for underrated cornerback Carlton Davis, which gives him some flexibility here. I’d like to see the Lions add another playmaker for quarterback Jared Goff.

“Legette is rising in my rankings after he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash and tested well in the other drills at the combine. While I will quibble with South Carolina for listing him at 6-foot-3 when he’s actually 6-foot-1, I won’t hold that against him. He had a fantastic 2023 season, with 1,255 receiving yards while averaging 17.7 yards per catch.

“He dominated cornerbacks on crossing routes, lining up in the slot and outside. This is a way to keep improving the Detroit offense.”

With Legette, the Lions could add a receiver to help replace veteran Josh Reynolds. Detroit’s second-leading receiver in 2023, Reynolds posted 40 catches for 608 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns last season.

In 12 games at South Carolina during 2023, Legette had 71 catches for 1,255 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.

How WR Xavier Legette Could Fit With the Lions

Kiper had the Lions selected Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa in his mock draft on February 28. But the Lions addressed cornerback by trading for veteran Carlton Davis. They also signed cornerback Amik Robertson and re-signed Emmanuel Moseley in free agency.

The defensive line has been another popular position for the Lions in mock drafts early this offseason. But in free agency, Detroit added defensive end Marcus Davenport and defensive tackle D.J. Reader.

Then on March 18, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Lions intended to sign veteran guard Kevin Zeitler to fill the last starting vacancy along the offensive line.

All of those free agents (and Davis) are on 1 or 2-year deals. That gives the Lions a lot of flexibility. They could add depth to any of those needs in the first round if the right prospect is available.

Or, the Lions could add a piece to a position that needs the most immediate help. If the Lions don’t re-sign Reynolds, that is likely receiver.

2023 All-Pro Amon-Ra St. Brown will enter this fall as Detroit’s top weapon in the passing game. 2021 first-round pick Jameson Williams is a candidate to replace Reynolds in the starting lineup.

Adding Legette would give the Lions No. 2 passing offense from last season another potential deep target for contested catches.

“His star shines brightest once the ball goes up and he’s able to use his body control, play strength and ball skills to impose his will on the coverage,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “He’s unlikely to become a smooth route runner, but he can handle tough catches and he has stealth acceleration that makes him a credible deep-ball threat.”

Could the Lions Re-Sign Josh Reynolds?

There has been no direct update on whether the Lions are interested in re-signing Reynolds. But on March 17, Fansided’s Brad Berreman wrote that the Lions bringing back Donovan Peoples-Jones “all but confirmed” Reynolds will not return.

The Lions re-signed Peoples-Jones on March 16. With Peoples-Jones returning, the Lions have nine receivers under contract for 2024.

Given how much the team uses tight end Sam LaPorta and running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the passing game, Detroit doesn’t have to make a big addition at receiver this offseason. Assuming Williams takes a significant step forward this fall, the Lions have the pieces to be dynamic in the passing game again in 2024.

But Kiper’s point still rings true. The Lions have such a well-rounded roster that general manager Brad Holmes could target Legette or another receiver in the first round if he wanted to.

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