Why the Lions might pass on a first-round wide receiver

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /

The Detroit Lions are in the midst of a very colorful and, at times, bewildering approach to a rebuild. Anyone watching new head coach Dan Campbell during one of his now-legendary press conferences can sense the hardnosed cultural shift.

On the team building end, new general manager Brad Holmes has done little to upgrade the roster this offseason, seemingly doing the opposite at some key positions like quarterback and wide receiver. At least on paper, this appears to be a rebuild that’s willing to sacrifice the 2021 regular season for a brighter tomorrow.

But will this delayed approach ultimately result in wins? That’s anyone’s guess at the moment. And for now, this new regime is getting the benefit of the doubt as this group has yet to even field a team wearing Honolulu blue and silver.

With the bulk of free agency in the rearview mirror, Detroit clearly intends to use the draft as the main source of retooling the roster. And the positional group that has the greatest need is at wide receiver.

That’s after the team decided to replace veterans Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Jamal Agnew, and Danny Amendola with free agents Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Damion Ratley, and Kalif Raymond. Adding a first-round wideout like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or Alabama’s DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle seems like an obvious choice with the seventh overall selection.

Yet, the Lions could decide to pass on the wide receiver position completely in the first round later this month? Why? More options.

According to DetroitLions.com, longtime ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. took part in a national conference call on Thursday and revealed some information that could help inform fans on the possible choice facing the new Lions’ regime in the first round.

According to Kiper, the strongest position groups in the upcoming draft are at wide receiver, offensive line, and cornerback. He believes as many as 14 receivers could be drafted in the first two rounds. And as many as 40 wideouts could be drafted in total.

Related Story. 3 wide receiver targets for the Lions in the second round. light

The Detroit Lions might simply believe that quality wide receivers can be had on Day Two of the draft and beyond. If so, that potentially shifts the focus of Detroit’s top pick to a position that’s deemed relativity weak or there’s a possible shortage of.  Perhaps that belief could make the Lions more open to drafting positions like quarterback, linebacker, pass rusher … or even a tight end as high as seventh overall.