Mock draft watch: ESPN’s latest gives the Lions the thrill of the Chase

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Jeff Risdon
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The latest 2021 NFL mock draft from ESPN analyst Todd McShay is the first from the network since the top 18 draft slots were locked in after the season. And McShay’s projection for the Detroit Lions at No. 7 is one a lot of Lions fans can get behind.

With the No. 7 pick, McShay projects the Lions to land LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The record-setting wideout sat out the 2020 season but posted one of the greatest years in college football history in the Tigers’ championship run of 2019. Chase, listed at 6 feet and 208 pounds, broke the SEC record for receiving yards in a season while playing with Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson in the pro-style LSU offense under Joe Brady.

He’s a dynamic athlete with great strength and footwork, and he proved a real threat with the ball in his hands after the catch. As McShay notes,

“Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola are all set to be free agents, and Chase is an explosive route runner with great body control.”

The first six picks, for context on the available player pool:

  • Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

  • Oregon OT Penei Sewell

  • Alabama WR DeVonta Smith

  • BYU QB Zach Wilson

  • Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater

  • Penn State LB Micah Parsons

Smith has been a frequent projection for the Lions, but in this scenario he is off the board much earlier.

List

11 Prospects to know for the Lions in the 2021 NFL Draft