Wide receiver is down the list of needs for the Detroit Lions, but Pro Football Focus has matched them with one of the top 2023 draft prospects at the position.
What a difference a year or two makes. The Detroit Lions legitimately have a very good group of wide receivers, led by Amon-Ra St. Brown, the promising Jameson Williams and the underappreciated Kalif Raymond. Marvin Jones has also been brought back to Detroit after the loss of DJ Chark.
So in terms of needs for the upcoming draft, the wide receiver position is pretty well down the list for the Lions. But in a big picture sense, no position should be completely off the table if the value is right.
When healthy late last season, Chark showed the impact “X” receiver who can stretch the field can have for this offense. Williams is lined up for a bigger role in his second season, but his frame doesn’t scream “physical contested catch guy”.
Pro Football Focus matches Detroit Lions with one of the top receivers in the 2023 draft
In a fantasy football tilt on a first-round mock draft, where only quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends can be taken, Nathan Jahnke and Jonathan Macri of Pro Football Focus gave the Lions a wide receiver with the sixth overall pick.
"6. DETROIT LIONS: WR QUENTIN JOHNSTON, TCUThe Lions’ only need among their skill positions is at tight end, but with two first-round picks, they can take the best available player. The Lions have the depth at wide receiver for this season, but Johnston could help the Lions boast one of the best young receiving corps in the NFL. Johnston has the most prototypical X-skillset in the draft, which would fit perfectly with Jameson Williams as a deep threat and Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot."
In his new three-round traditional mock draft released on Monday, Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus had Quentin Johnston to the Lions at No. 18 overall.
"This ain’t no Matt Millen run of first-round wide receivers. This is the Lions investing in an offense that would look as talented a supporting cast for a quarterback as any in the NFL with Johnston in the fold."
Johnston does seem like an ideal, complete replacement for the big “X” receiver role Chark left behind and only truly, fully filled late last season. He’d also be a potential longer-term solution for that spot, after the Lions have gone the one-year deal route with Chark and now Jones.
So while the Lions drafting a wide receiver in the first round seems unlikely, the board may fall in such a way that it lands as a legit possibility.