The Detroit Lions are playing the long game in 2021

Detroit Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

As the NFL keeps moving on the road to the draft, the big free agent wave has come and gone. And during that wave, the Detroit Lions didn’t really make any big splashes. Aside from the Matthew Stafford trade of course.

General manager Brad Holmes instead chose to target depth players or players that are coming off of a down-year looking to rebound. With most of his signings being one-year deals.

While some fans may be frustrated with the lack of seismic activity out of this new management group, these smaller transactions prove the Lions are simply playing the long game, and are prepared to not be a playoff contender.

Rather than target a big fish, they looked for players who were looking for a chance to prove themselves. Or, players looking to re-establish themselves as quality players in the league.

As of now, based on how free agency played out, Detroit is currently in line for three compensatory picks in the 2022 draft. Those selections being in the third round, fifth round, and sixth round, for losing Kenny Golladay (who signed with the Giants), Marvin Jones jr, and Jamal Agnew (both of whom signed with the Jaguars) respectively.

If we go ahead under the assumption that the Lions will indeed receive those draft picks, along with the fact that they own the Rams first-round pick, Detroit will own 11 picks in the 2022 draft. With an entire year yet to play out where even more picks could be accumulated.

Another way the Lions could acquire a few more mid-round picks would be to flip some of these one-year deals before the trade deadline. For example, if Tyrell Williams were to have a strong first five-to-six weeks of the season, the Lions could trade him to a team in need of a receiver for a day three pick, or something along those lines.

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We already know that this new regime wishes to construct this team through the draft. Therefore, fans should hesitate before criticizing the lack of a splash signing, and instead choose to trust the process.