The 2021 NFL Draft has quietly been sneaking up on us.
It is just a little more than two weeks away, with the first round taking place Thursday, April 29.
In the lead-up, a lot of moving and shaking has gone on in the NFL. The Detroit Lions are in an interesting position with the No. 7 overall pick.
Here’s a look at some of the NFL Draft odds that may help indicate the Lions’ selection in the opening round.
Lots of options available for Detroit
A lot of names have been linked over recent months to the Detroit Lions through mock drafts.
Here are some odds for draft position for those names attached to Detroit, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- OT Penei Sewell: Over/Under 5.5 – Over (-134), Under (+108)
- TE Kyle Pitts: Over/Under 5.5 – Over (+101), Under (-125)
- QB Trey Lance: Over/Under 6.5 – Over (-112), Under (-112)
- WR Ja’Marr Chase: Over/under 6.5 – Over (+120), Under (-150)
- CB Patrick Surtain II: Over/Under 10.5 – Over (-112), Under (-112)
- LB Micah Parsons: Over/Under 11.5 – Over (-112), Under (-112)
- WR DaVonta Smith: Over/Under 11.5 – Over (-104), Under (-121)
- WR Jaylen Waddle: Over/Under 11.5 – Over (-125), Under (+101)
Lions address some offseason needs
The Detroit Lions will have a decidedly different look in 2021.
The team has a new general manager in Brad Holmes and a new coaching staff, led by former Lion Dan Campbell.
The roster has seen a complete overhaul as well.
Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and a three draft picks.
Detroit has parted ways with many starters, including Justin Coleman, Jamal Agnew, Jarrad Davis, Danny Shelton, Marvin Jones, Matt Prater, Desmond Trufant and Kenny Golladay.
The team did opt to sign young defensive end Romeo Okwara to a new 3-year deal following his 10-sack season in 2020.
The Lions also traded a 2023 seventh-round pick in exchange for defensive tackle Michael Brockers, and then reorganized his deal to help build on the defensive line.
When it comes to free-agent signings, the Lions only signed one player to a multiyear contract. Former Packers running back Jamaal Williams agreed to a two-year deal.
Early trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft
Last month, there were a pair of big trades involving first-round selections that could affect the Detroit Lions and their selection at No. 7.
The first trade saw the Miami Dolphins give their No. 3 pick to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers sent Miami their No. 12 pick, a 2021 third-round selection and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to move to No. 3.
The Dolphins didn’t stay at No. 12 long. They traded that pick, a 2021 fourth-round selection and a 2022 first-round pick to jump back up to No. 6. The Philadelphia Eagles gave up No. 6 and a fifth-round pick in the deal.
As the draft approaches, many mock-ups are linking Pitts to the Dolphins at No. 6.
How does all this affect the Detroit Lions?
Most mock drafts are projecting quarterbacks in picks 1-4. Trevor Lawrence seems to be a lock to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first spot. Zach Wilson, Jones and Justin Fields are the generally projected picks at Nos. 2-4 in some fashion.
With Trey Lance still on the board, it could leave the door open for the Lions to trade back. The Washington Football Team or Denver Broncos could be looking to move up to secure the North Dakota State prospect.
Detroit is linked to a receiver in many mock drafts, but most of those receivers aren’t worthy of that No. 7 slot.
Chase is considered the top talent in the class and has –625 odds from DraftKings of being the first WR taken. Smith (+600) and Waddle (+700) follow.
With Jones and Golladay no longer with the Lions, Detroit has a great need at receiver. They did add Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman through free agency with one-year deals. However, neither is a No. 1 receiving option.
Three likely options at No. 7
If Detroit remains at No. 7, and QBs go at Nos. 1-4, that leaves a strong player option for Detroit. Based on the 2021 NFL Draft odds, Sewell, Pitts, Lance and Chase seem like the likely options to go over the next three selections.
Although Detroit may draw a lot of criticism for taking another tight end that high following the selection of T.J. Hockenson in 2019, Pitts seems like a once-in-a-generation talent based on his size. Standing 6-foot-6 and at 245 pounds, Pitts ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and had a wingspan surpassing 83 inches.
Sewell is hands-down the top lineman. His odds of being the first lineman drafted are at -715. Should Detroit take him, they’d likely have to move him to right tackle, with Taylor Decker firmly locked into the starting left tackle position.
Based on all the information, Ja’Marr Chase — the 6-foot receiver from LSU — seems to be the most likely scenario if the Lions stay put.