Detroit Lions: Receiver is a need, but not at seventh overall

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (Kyle Robertson-USA TODAY Sports)
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (Kyle Robertson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joseph Patronite/Getty Images)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joseph Patronite/Getty Images) /

The Lions don’t need to move sideways again

As we look ahead to the 2021 NFL draft, how many of those building blocks will be available to the Lions?

There are four or five quarterbacks according to the insiders that could go in the top 10 and possibly become franchise passers. There is one tackle that is considered to be a dominant can’t miss player and no true edge rushers that have graded themselves out as top 10 prospects.

If a team is a contender and fortunate enough to hold a top 10 pick because of a previous trade, then more options are open because you’re adding to a foundation that has already been built, but the vast majority of teams that pick in the top 10, like the Detroit Lions, are there because they deserve to be there.

One of the popular positions that many mock pundits are linking to the Lions at the seventh overall pick is receiver.

Now receiver is certainly a position of need for the Lions. Again, this is a franchise with many needs, but taking a receiver that high is a luxury pick. When your a rebuilding team and have a top 10 selection, you don’t have the luxury of making luxury picks.

Consider how many teams have built a Super Bowl championship team around a receiver selected in the top 10. The answer? None. Go ahead and look it up. Even Jerry Rice who is considered the greatest receiver in NFL history wasn’t a top 10 pick.

In 1985 the San Francisco 49ers traded up for the number 16 selection to draft Jerry Rice out of Mississippi Valley State and ironically enough steal him away from the Dallas Cowboys sitting at number 17 in the process who the 49ers would stage some epics battles against in the 1990s.

Rice was an integral piece of those 49ers teams, but it also highlights the point of drafting cornerstone pieces in the top 10; you can get a receiver later.

The 2021 draft is very deep at receiver. If the Lions can’t get value at the seventh pick for a cornerstone piece, then they simply have to trade back. They could trade back, get extra selections, and then either select their receiver if they want or the best athlete available.

Let’s be honest, if Detroit can’t trade back and they don’t like the quarterbacks on the board or Pensei Sewell is gone, then I would rather they scoop up Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons as the most dynamic defensive player available to fortify their defensive front seven than go for a receiver.

This is nothing against the receivers available at the top of this draft. But I do believe that Brad Holmes will find one for the Lions. Something he has proven he can do even after the first round.

Despite the Lions’ need at receiver and whether they could get Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle at number seven, this team is not battling for a championship yet. That means unless those cornerstone pieces are accounted for, it’s better to move back a little bit, get extra ammunition, and then make their selection.

More. Should the Detroit Lions add to one of their few strengths in the draft?. light

Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell will put their signature on this franchise when the draft begins on April 29th. In the top 10 substance counts for more than style. How the draft unfolds will affect what Holmes does, but whatever move he makes will need to move the Lions closer towards a championship, not just sideways like the last regime used to do.