Detroit Lions 2021 draft: 3 potential day two targets

Missouri Tigers linebacker Nick Bolton (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Missouri Tigers linebacker Nick Bolton (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions used their first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night to continue to build in the trenches. For the third time in the past six years, the Lions used their top draft pick on their offensive line, selecting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell seventh overall.

Now the team’s attention turns to day two of the draft, which consists of both the second and third rounds. Detroit will go into Friday owning three selections (No. 41, 72, 101) in the top 101 picks. Here are three possible targets to watch for day two …

Nick Bolton, LB – Missouri

After parting ways with Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, and Reggie Ragland this offseason, the Lions are desperate for talent at the linebacker position. Look for Missouri’s Nick Bolton to be a potential second-round target for Detroit.

The 6-foot, 233-pound Bolton racked up 95 combined tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and five pass deflections in 10 games as a junior for the Tigers last year. He’s a terrific run defender and tackling machine that would improve a defense in Detroit that allowed the fifth-highest rushing yard total (2,158) in the NFL last season.

Amari Rodgers, WR – Clemson

The Lions lost much of last year’s receiver corps this offseason and will likely enter the 2021 regular season with the most questionable wideout unit in the entire league. Yet, Detroit has been focused on adding receivers like Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman who fit the style of football new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn likes to put on the field.

With Clemson’s Amari Rodgers, they add a dynamic slot receiver who will pair well with both Williams and Perriman on the outside. Built like a running back, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Rodgers can be a jack-of-all-trades for Lynn in Detroit and has special teams value. He posted 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven scores in 12 games as a senior last season.

Richie Grant, S – UCF

The Lions drafted Tracy Walker (2018) and Will Harris (2019) in the third round of their respective drafts to be the future safety duo for Detroit for years to come. But the instability of the defense under head coach Matt Patricia sidelined both defender’s careers.

With a new regime in place, it’s unclear how the current coaching staff feels about either player. So adding a safety prospect like UCF’s Richie Grant makes sense on day two. A standout at the Senior Bowl, Grant is a devastating tackler with receiver-like abilities who should come into the Motor City and quickly occupy one of those starting roles.

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As a senior in 2020, Richie Grant totaled 72 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, five pass deflections, three interceptions, and a sack in nine games. He also forced two fumbles and recovered two.