The Detroit Lions are one of the most hapless franchises in the NFL.
Not once, but twice, has a future Hall of Famer chose to retire early instead of continuing to play for the Lions.
They haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1991.
Which is saying something considering they have had a potential future HOF QB in Matthew Stafford for the past 12 years.
But, as with every year, hope springs eternal come the offseason.
The offseason brings the draft, which is a team’s best opportunity to infuse their roster with talent for cheap.
And boy do the Lions need talent.
The most glaring holes on the roster are at wide receiver, linebacker, and pass rusher.
Lions Have 2 WRs Under Contract Next Year
WRs scheduled to be FAs this offseason:
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 8, 2021
And with just over $11 million in projected cap space for next season, they don’t have the ability to bring in any top talent.
The good news for Detroit is this is set to be another deep WR draft class.
If JaMarr Chase happens to fall to them at 7 (unlikely), they should immediately pounce.
They could also consider two other Alabama prospects at 7 in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith.
7 may be a bit early for Waddle or Smith, so they could look to find a prospect on the second day.
Rondale Moore, Justyn Ross, and Amon-Ra St. Brown are all players worthy of a second or third-round selection.
And as seen in past drafts, there are plenty of talented pass catchers outside of the 1st round.
Linebackers Among League’s Worst
The linebacker corp for the Lions has been amongst the league’s worst for years now.
The Lions need approximately seven new linebackers before next season starts.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) January 3, 2021
While offseason signing Jamie Collins was somewhat of a bright spot, the others were horrible.
They have some young pieces, so perhaps a new coaching staff can get more out of the group.
But an injection of high-end talent wouldn’t hurt either.
Luckily for Detroit, one of the best linebacker prospects in recent memory is available this year.
Micah Parsons: LB1 pic.twitter.com/DCWMIFIIKj
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 29, 2020
Micah Parsons out of Penn State has sideline-to-sideline range and can rush the passer.
He is also an elite run stopper, as evidenced by his 94.8 run-defense grade by PFF in 2019.
Parsons is in a similar position as Chase.
He may get drafted before the Lions have a chance, but if he is still available, it should be a no-brainer.
Lions Need Pass Rush Help
Detroit only pressured the opposing passer on 16.9% of their dropbacks.
Good for dead last in the league and a far cry from the Pittsburgh Steelers league-leading 32.3%.
They had the 6th fewest sacks in the league and had the 4th fewest QB hurries in the league.
In a league that requires defenses to pressure the opposing QB, the Lions simply far short.
While there are no homerun edge rushers in this draft, there are some enticing prospects.
Bleacher Report’s mock draft has them selecting Gregory Rousseau, a physically gifted edge rusher out of Miami.
I'm all for Gregory Rouseau. Big long athletic DE that the lions havent had since Ziggy. And they need help with that pass rush. He only played one full seaaon of college football (and 1 game the year before) but 15.5 sacks that one year is incredibly impressive!! https://t.co/TZFUXrkAoX
— Lions Talk Podcast (@talk_lions) January 5, 2021
He sat out the 2020 season but had an extremely productive 2019.
Rousseau recorded 54 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 15.5 sacks in the 2019 campaign.
The Lions could also look at Michigan product Kwity Paye in the first round, a player who seemingly has loads of untapped potential.
And in later rounds, Detroit could target Hamilcar Rashed, Quincy Roche, or Dayo Odeyingbo.