Detroit Lions mocked to land first-round wide receiver

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (John Reed-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions could infuse the roster with some receiver talent in 2021

The wide receiver corps was supposed to be one of the strongest positional units for the Detroit Lions in 2020. The veteran trio of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola represented a chance for Detroit to perform strong out of the gate where other teams might struggle following a stunted offseason.

But those plans fell flat after Golladay, the Lions’ top receiver talent, suffered a hamstring injury prior to the start of the season that sidelined him for the first two games. Then, he suffered a hip injury in Week Eight against the Indianapolis Colts which forced him to miss last Sunday’s matchup against their divisional rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.

Just how important has Golladay’s impact been this season? The Lions have yet to win a game without him in the lineup. He’s recorded 20 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 16.9 yards per catch over five games.

Both Amendola and Jones have played all eight games for Detroit this season. But it’s actually tight end T.J. Hockenson that leads the team in targets (49), receptions (34) and receiving touchdowns (5).

Amendola leads the Lions with 401 receiving yards off of 25 catches. Jones has also posted 25 receptions for 308 yards and four touchdowns.

The troubling thing is the fact Golladay, Amendola, and Jones are all in the final year of their current contracts in Detroit. And all three are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2021.

Detroit Lions mocked to land Alabama wide receiver

With a mass exodus scheduled for the position, wide receiver jumps to the top of the Lions’ team needs for next year. That’s probably why Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today recently mocked Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle to the Lions with the 11th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Here’s Middlehurst-Schwartz’s explanation of the pick.

"“Even if Detroit brings back Kenny Golladay on a hefty extension, bolstering the receiving corps should remain a point of emphasis. Prior to having his season cut short by a broken ankle, Waddle established himself as college football’s pre-eminent big-play threat by record 22.3 yards per reception.”"

Related Story. Detroit Lions: Bob Quinn’s best draft picks by round. light

Out of the team’s existing trio of starting receivers, Kenny Golladay is the favorite to land an extension in Detroit. Although the fact the Lions are eight games into the regular season and have not yet locked up their top receiving threat is worrisome.

Adding a speedster like Jaylen Waddle certainly makes much more sense to pair with Golladay rather than making him your number one receiver. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound Waddle has recorded 103 receptions for 1,965 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 19.1 yards per catch through two and a half seasons at Alabama. He’s also a dynamic kick/punt returner with three special teams touchdowns.