The 2021 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night and we will soon know what the Detroit Lions do with the No. 7 overall pick.
Thanks to another horrendous season, our Lions currently hold the No. 7 overall pick and there has been quite a bit of speculation as to who new GM Brad Holmes will select.
Here are some of the players who I have already seen mocked to the Lions (if they do not make a trade).
QB Justin Fields
QB Trey Lance
WR DeVonta Smith
TE Kyle Pitts
OT Penei Sewell
OT Rashawn Slater
WR Ja’Marr Chase
WR Jaylen Waddle
LB Micah Parsons
Five players on that list make me extremely nervous and it has nothing to do with whether or not I believe they will be solid in the NFL. Instead, it has to do with drafting for value and not just selecting “the best player available” or the “most talented player available” or “the position needed most.”
When it comes to drafting for value when a team holds the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL Draft, there are multiple positions that should almost automatically be tossed out the window.
One of those positions is wide receiver.
PASS ON WIDE RECEIVER
Now, before you bash me in the comments (feel free to do so after you finish reading), just hear me out.
First of all, yes, I understand that the NFL is primarily a passing league and it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. And second, yes, I understand that having a great wide receiver can create mismatches on the field that favor the offense.
That being said, I just cannot put a ton of value into a skill player who is guaranteed to touch the ball much less than 10 times per game.
Here are a couple of fun facts for you to consider.
- Of the top 15 receivers on the all-time single-season receptions list, only 2 of those 15 were a top 7 pick (Calvin Johnson and Torry Holt).
- Of those top 15 receiving seasons, only one resulted in a berth in the Super Bowl (Wes Welker – 2011 season, he was undrafted)
- Of the Top 10 reception leaders (receivers) in 2020, zero were selected in the Top 15 of their respective draft.
- Wide receivers to be selected in the Top 10 since 2012 include, Corey Davis (2017), Mike Williams (2017), John Ross (2017), Amari Cooper (2015), Kevin White (2015), Sammy Watkins (2014), Mike Evans (2014), Tavon Austin (2013), and Justin Blackmon (2012).
Folks, I could go on and on and on about how highly drafted wide receivers are not as valuable as many believe but that would be beating a dead horse.
If I was the Detroit Lions general manager, there is no way in hell that I would select DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, or Jaylen Waddle with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1st Round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Sure, all three could end up being great players but none of the three would be a good value pick and that is what the NFL Draft is all about. VALUE!
Oh, by the way, by the time the Lions are truly ready to contend for a Super Bowl, it would be just about time for Smith, Chase, or Waddle to sign their second contract. That contract, if any of the three turns out to be a great wide receiver, would be mammoth and it would be best to let them walk at that time because wide receivers are overpaid, and overpaying is a no-no for a good GM.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE ALERT:
Now, I want to be clear about something. If there is a wide receiver like Calvin Johnson, who is an absolute beast and a can’t-miss projected Hall of Famer, then I would have no problem taking him in the top 10. The problem is, those players do not come around too often and neither Smith, Chase, nor Waddle come even close to fitting that bill.
PASS ON QUARTERBACK
In addition to passing on wide receivers, I do not believe the Lions should take a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. My belief is that when the Lions are on the clock at No. 7, Justin Fields will be available and Trey Lance could be there too. I do not believe Fields will be a good NFL QB and Lance is too risky for a team in the Lions situation.
In addition, the Lions acquired Jared Goff for a reason and I believe they will give him a shot to be their QB of the future. If he pans out, that is a HUGE win and if he does not, the Lions will be very bad in 2021 and they can take their future QB in 2022.
Nation, do you agree with me on this or are you all about the Lions taking the best WR available or the best QB available when they are on the clock?