Detroit Lions Would be Taking a Massive Risk Drafting Wide Receiver Early This Season


With just over three weeks remaining until the 2015 NFL Draft, it’s hard to say which way the Detroit Lions are leaning with their first and second round picks.

Cases could be made for addressing needs along the offensive line, defensive line and at running back. One place the team might quietly be honing in on might not seem as obvious, though it’s familiar.

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Wide receiver.

Yes, wide receiver. The team hosted a pair of wideout options last week in Central Florida’s Breshad Perriman and J.J. Nelson of UAB, and either could work themselves into Detroit’s first round mix in the weeks ahead.

Would the Lions actually consider taking a wideout early in the draft this season in spite of their other needs? According to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, that idea probably isn’t looking to be out of the question at all.

"The Detroit Lions hosted receivers Breshad Perriman of Central Florida and J.J. Nelson of Alabama-Birmingham last week. That signals the Lions are certainly doing their homework on recievers and possibly preparing to use a high draft pick on a pass-catcher for the fourth time in five years.The Lions pick 23rd, and the question is whether they can afford to pass up a good compliment to a passing game that struggled last year and could be showing signs of fading."

Here we go again. There is no doubt the Lions’ passing game had its tough points in 2014, but that doesn’t mean Detroit can afford to eschew other more obvious needs just to upgrade their receiving core.

If so, what was the point of taking Eric Ebron last year and endlessly talking up his expected development this off-season? Ebron is supposed to be the offensive x-factor, a tight end that has receiver-like qualities and the same ability to change the game.

Being that player is already on the roster along with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, why take a receiver highly again this May? It simply wouldn’t make sense given some of the other massive needs the team has.

There is no problem with the Lions taking a pass catcher at some point during this draft to help conveniently fill a need at returner, but this year, the early rounds should be reserved for both of the lines and perhaps even the defensive backfield or running back position.

Given the fact Detroit dealt away its fourth and fifth round picks to grab Haloti Ngata, the pressure is on Martin Mayhew and company to make quality need selections now early on more than most years. Spitting in the face of that notion to try and upgrade the offense would be foolish.

What was Mayhew’s best draft? Probably 2013, when he selected Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay and Larry Warford in the first three rounds. All three were need picks that lacked headline sex appeal, and since, all have carved out solid futures at their positions.

Though Johnson is certainly aging, every year, there are plenty of receivers that work their way up from the lower rounds to become impact players. Year by year, there’s never a shortage of pass-catchers available, meaning drafting one is never the complete emergency it might seem.

Detroit should try to find value at receiver in the 2015 draft. Upgrading the offensive line would also help the passing game, as would a formidable running back.

Throwing another receiver into the mix early this year would be taking an unnecessary roster building risk, and could help Detroit fail their other more obvious draft objectives from the get-go.

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