Lions 2021 mock draft roundup: Anticipated shift in projections following Matthew Stafford trade request – Lions Wire

After the 2021 National Championship, three players were routinely paired with the Detroit Lions and the No. 7 overall pick — DeVonta Smith (wide receiver, Alabama), Micah Parsons (linebacker, Penn State), and Jaylen Waddle (wide receiver, Alabama).

One week ago, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft of the season and followed the pattern by giving the Lions Smith. The next day the news broke that Matthew Stafford requested to be traded and the mock drafts that followed saw an anticipated shift.

Most mock drafters kept things simple and paired the Lions with one of the top quarterbacks, while others took a shot at projecting the compensation in a Stafford trade and made predictions accordingly.

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (6-2.5, 223)

Currently being mocked by Mel Kiper (ESPN), Nate Davis (USA Today), and Josh Edwards (CBS Sports)

Kiper: “It appears that new general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell will go all-in on a rebuild, and so Fields could be the face of it. He had an up-and-down season, but we saw the flashes of his talent, particularly in his six-touchdown performance against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal. Fields has superstar potential, but he’ll need help around him.”

Davis: “They’re not parting with Stafford to turn the keys over to Chase Daniel or David Blough. Fields is a multi-dimensional threat who was at his best with six TD passes against Clemson in the college playoff semifinals. However that performance was bracketed by several checkered ones, including his final one against Alabama. Still, Fields’ estimable potential suggests the Lions might even have to move up a few spots to get him.”

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (6-2.5, 210)

Currently being mocked by Oliver Hodgkinson (Pro Football Network), Eddie Brown (San Diego Union-Tribune), Ric Serritella (Sports Illustrated)

Hodgkinson: “Prior to this college football season, many experts were pondering which quarterback might make a Joe Burrow-esque rise. That quarterback is Zach Wilson. He may not have faced the quality of opposition that some quarterbacks in this 2021 NFL Draft class have faced, but the ‘Mormon Manziel’ has demonstrated the ability to make every throw in the NFL book. He combines that with excellent mobility to provide a true dual threat at the position.”

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (6-3, 221)

Currently being mocked by Steve Palazzolo (PFF), Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports), Tommy Garrett (Pro Football Network), and Zack Rosenblatt (NJ.com)

Palazzolo: “With the news that QB Matthew Stafford will not be returning to Detroit and new head coach Dan Campbell recently signed a six-year contract, the Lions are in full rebuild mode. Lance is the best option for that scenario; he’s as talented as it gets, but time is likely needed given that he has just one full year of experience at the FCS level. Lance graded at 90.7 as a redshirt freshman in 2019 before a mediocre ‘showcase’ game in 2020. He has a cannon and rushing ability to tap into, while the Lions have the time to allow Lance to reach his potential.”

Wilson: “We’ve stayed away from mocking a quarterback to the Lions mostly because we still think Matthew Stafford can play at a high level. But with the reports that the two sides are ready to go their separate ways, it’s time. New coach Dan Campbell gets Lance, a strong-armed passer with tons of upside who will likely need a year to grow into the job.”

Stafford compensation

Stafford to 49ers for pick No. 12 — Lions select Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Oliver Hodgkinson (Pro Football Network) gave the Lions Wilson (as noted above) and paired him with Chase giving the Lions a strong offensive combination.

Stafford to 49ers for pick No. 12 — Lions select Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Tommy Garrett (Pro Football Network) also pairs the Lions with a wide receiver with the 12th pick, but he had the Lions trade up with Miami for No. 3 pick and drafted Lance (above) — sacrificing a third-round pick to make the deal.

Stafford to Washington for pick No. 19 — Lions select Chase with pick No. 7 and Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa) with pick No. 19

Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports) opted for Chase, even though Lance was still on the board. It’s an unusual move, that he offers no explanation for other than to point out the Lions’ need at wide receiver, but when looking at his big board rankings, it’s worth noting he has Chase listed as 5th best overall player, while Lance is 10th.

Here’s his reasoning for the Collins selection: “After trading Stafford, the Lions go with who they believe to be the best player available. Collins is a multi-dimensional linebacker who’ll translate quickly to the NFL.”