Todd McShay's first 2021 mock draft released Thursday gives an early glance at what prognosticators think teams will do when the selections start April 29 in Cleveland.
The Lions can address an array of deficiencies. Impending free agents make wide receiver a concern and quality offensive line depth never hurts. All three levels of the defense could use the infusion of talent a first-round pick brings; the 2020 Lions gave up more points and yardage than any team in franchise history, after all.
McShay, maybe surprisingly, predicts Detroit starts with offense at No. 7, but says the team won't be one of five (!!) that pick a quarterback (in McShay's mock, Lawrence and Zach Wilson are already off the board).
Well-rested wideout Ja'Marr Chase, who sat out 2020 after a record-setting 2019 season in the SEC for LSU, welcome to the Lions.
While wide receiver may not be Detroit's largest need, Chase would be a welcomed addition to the offense. He set the single-season SEC record in 2019 for receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20) catching passes from Heisman Winner Joe Burrow.
At 6 feet 1, 208 pounds, he a great route runner and even better after the catch. It would be unfair to expect him to have the first-year production his Tigers teammate Justin Jefferson had for the Minnesota Vikings this year, but Chase is rated the No. 5 player in the draft, regardless of position, by Mel Kiper.
He could, in theory, replace Marvin Jones and/or Kenny Golladay, whose contracts are set to end. The Lions (5-11) face a slew of tough offseason decisions after finishing last in the NFC North for the third straight year. Matthew Stafford could be due for a change of scenery as the team approaches a rebuild.
Lions' leadership is also in the midst of expansive general manager and coaching searches.
Read the full mock draft here.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions take wideout in Todd McShay's first 2021 NFL mock draft