Will Ja’Marr Chase help kick-start a new era for the Detroit Lions?

Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have a new quarterback under center in Jared Goff. That following this past weekend’s pending trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, the new regime in Motown must get to work finding wide receivers for Goff to throw to.

That’s because the Lions’ top three wideouts are all scheduled to become free agents next month. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola are all expected to hit the open market. In fact, the only receiver currently on the roster for 2021 that started a game last season is Quintez Cephus.

That simply means the new-look Lions will need to consider re-signing some of their pending free agents, find some receivers on the open market themselves, and/or land them via the upcoming NFL draft. And the latter is the subject of much debate due to speculation concerning what position Detroit might choose to address with their first-round pick.

On the league’s official website, NFL Media Draft Analyst, Lance Zierlein, recently released his 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0. And he has the Lions landing LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase with the seventh overall selection.

"“The Lions could go in a number of directions here, including cornerback or linebacker, but with almost an entire receiving corps set to hit free agency, Chase could serve as a splashy WR1 for their new QB.”"

Owning that high a pick, the Lions will have several positions to choose from. And if they elect to address their needs at receiver, they’ll have plenty of prospects to choose from as well.

In Zierlein’s mock, Chase is actually the second wideout selected with Alabama’s DeVonta Smith going to the Miami Dolphins with the third overall pick. He’s the third if you consider Florida tight end Kyle Pitts a potential receiver, who was mocked to the Cincinnati Bengals fifth overall.

DeVonta Smith, Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, and Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle are all considered to be the cream of the crop when it comes to the receiver position in the upcoming draft. In fact, Zierlein has them all mocked to be selected by the 11th overall pick in the first round.

So why does Chase makes sense for Detroit? NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah called him a complete wide receiver and a special, special talent. He compared Chase to players like Steve Smith Sr., Anquan Boldin, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Chase famously helped LSU win a National Championship in 2019, racking up an incredible 84 receptions for 1,780 yards, and 20 touchdowns in 14 games. He opted out of playing in 2020 to focus on his upcoming pro career.

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The fact is Ja’Marr Chase, the 2019 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, had little else to prove on the college-level. And he projects to be a top-ten pick in April despite not having played this past season. If Chase lands in the Motor City, he could become the star player who kicks-starts a new era for the Detroit Lions.