Ford Field will have a different look and feel to it once the NFL 2021 season kicks off for the Detroit Lions.
While the Lions moved on from many players and coaches this offseason, it only goes to show Detroit is in full rebuild mode. With new coaches and new players, the Lions look to change their culture.
The Lions had a change at the general manager position after letting Bob Quinn go at the same time as former head coach Matt Patricia. Taking their place will be former Los Angeles Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach. While Holmes is only 41, he will take over as the youngest general manager in the NFL. Holmes was a part of the decision to hire Dan Campbell.
The Lions hired new offensive and defensive coordinators. Former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn will handle the offense and former New Orleans Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn will tackle the defense.
Unfortunately, the Lions have much to rebuild as their roster is completely changed heading into the 2021 season. Of course, the biggest offseason acquisition Detroit went through this offseason was a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. This trade included the Lions sending fan favorite quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks and a third-round pick.
Another trade with the Rams also happened, which involved Detroit’s acquisition of defensive tackle Michael Brockers for a seventh-round pick in 2023. Brockers is a nice added piece on the defensive side of the ball and will join the Lions along with new linebacker Alex Anzalone and defensive end Charles Harris.
Detroit lost four defensive players to free agency with Jarrad Davis, Reggie Ragland, Miles Killebrew and Darryl Roberts. Unfortunately, the loss of players didn’t stop there. Because of new coaches and management, the Lions released four more defensive players: Christian Jones, Justin Coleman, Desmond Trufant and Danny Shelton.
While many defensive holes are left unfilled, the Lions arguably are hit worse on the offensive side after they lost four wide receivers, including both starters: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Jamal Agnew and Mohamed Sanu. These players on the defensive and offensive side are only eight of the 19 players that have left Detroit this offseason.
However, Detroit did sign 10 new additions on both sides of the ball with the biggest name so far in wide receiver Tyrell Willaims. There are still five players that remain unsigned, which include Adrian Peterson, Danny Amendola, Everson Griffen, Tony McRae and Duron Harmon, who all were with Detroit last season.
The Lions still have time to fill the voids left on their team, they will have to push free agents that haven’t been signed yet to come to join the motor city. Other than signing free agents, Detroit will look forward to the NFL draft as they hold the seventh overall pick. The top five draft pick suggestions for the Lions are as followed:
- LSU – WR – Ja’Marr Chase
- I rank Chase as the top prospect for the Lions this year solely because at number seven this is an absolute steal. Chase is arguably the best receiver in the draft. In his sophomore year Chase had 84 catches, 1,780 yards and 20 scores, which outproduced the NFL’s leading rookie receiver.
2. Penn State – LB- Micah Parsons
- If Parson is available at seven, I would love to see Parsons land in Detroit. Parsons stands at 6’3 and 246 pounds, with amazing speed and instincts. With 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five passes defended and four forced fumbles in 13 games in 2019.
3. Ohio State – QB- Justin Fields
- I think outside of Lawrence, Fields is the next best QB in this draft. Fields has the complete package with his arm strength, size, mobility, field vision, touch, accuracy, risk-reward judgment and leadership all wrapped into one person. I would rank him first overall in this draft, but Trevor Lawrence is in this draft.
4. Alabama – WR – DeVonta Smith
- Another one of the top receivers in this draft. Smith gained a bunch of coaching from Nick Saban and was an absolute force in Alabama’s offense. At 6’1 and 174 pounds, Smith recorded over 1,800 yards with 23 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy in the 2020 season.
5. Alabama – CB – Patrick Surtain II
- If all four of the previous options aren’t available, I would like to see Detroit trade back a little into the teens and select Alabama’s best cornerback. Surtain would help add to the short corner position the Lions have and could help lead Detroit to a nice cornerback duo in Surtain and Okudah. Both are top picks and will become something great if it all works out.
One player I suggest the Lions stay away from is Gregory Rousseau, the defensive end from Miami. I say to stay away from Rousseau simply because he only has played his position in his senior year of high school and sat out a year in Miami. With little focus on his position, it wouldn’t be wise for Detroit to take Rousseau when they still have Trey Flowers, Romeo and Julian Okwara, Nick Williams, Michael Brockers and Charles Harris on the line. I think Detroit has bigger needs than the defensive line and needs to put the focus into the secondary, grab receivers, or find their quarterback of the future if not this year but next year.
The Lions definitely have work to do in order to be ready for the 2021 season and last for 17 games or more, permitting they can make it to a postseason again. If Campbell produces anything close to Patrica’s time in Detroit, he will not last as long as Patrica did and will be gone a lot sooner.