The Detroit Lions are rebuilding their receiver room now that Kenny Golladay is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins March 17. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said in a national Zoom call Tuesday that Detroit has options at the position.
One option is turning to next month's NFL Draft, where the Lions have the No. 7 overall pick.
LSU's Ja'Marr Chase and the Alabama's duo of Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are all in the conversation as top 10 picks.
"All three of those guys would be good options for Detroit," Jeremiah said. "I don't think they can make a wrong pick there."
In Jeremiah's most recent edition of his Top 50 players available in the draft, Chase is his No. 2 overall prospect behind only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
"I think a lot of times when you're watching receivers, you see guys that can win with separation and quickness and you see guys that can win with physicality and kind of contested catches," Jeremiah said. "And when you watch him at LSU in 2019, you see examples of both, where he can separate from people off the line of scrimmage, he can separate at the top of his route. He plays big to go up and get the football and then after the catch he gives you that strength and physicality to break tackles.
"He's to me the best receiver in the draft. I can't imagine he would be there, but man, that would be a home run pick for the Lions if he was."
View photos of new Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams.
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019, he was LSU's top receiver in their run to a national championship, catching 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Smith and Waddle were an explosive combo for Alabama this past season, helping the Tide to a national title. Smith won the Heisman Trophy, and while Waddle missed time with a foot injury, he's one of the most explosive players in this draft at the position.
"Waddle gives you a little bit more juice, but DeVonta Smith plays plenty fast as well," Jeremiah said. "DeVonta Smith is a pristine route runner. He's obviously, everybody knows, is real thin, but man he's really long-armed, he can go up and get it as well. I just thought what you get after the catch with some of the shiftiness and then just the home run speed from Waddle is why I ended up with Waddle over Smith."
Jeremiah lists Waddle as his No. 6 overall prospect, and Smith comes in at No. 8.
The Lions signed veteran wide receiver Tyrell Williams on Tuesday, but could lose Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, Mohamed Sanu and Jamal Agnew to free agency.
"There's some good free agents out there as well," Jeremiah said of the receiver position. "I'm curious, sometimes it's not just in a vacuum. We'll see what they do with that money they could have allocated there (to a Golladay franchise tag) and if they're aggressive in other areas where they can get better.
"They'll have, all the way into the fourth and fifth round there's going to be good wide receivers again."
Don't forget that Lions general manager Brad Holmes has been through a rebuild at receiver before in 2017 with the Los Angeles Rams. That experience could go a long way to helping him do the same in Detroit this offseason.
Other highlights from Jeremiah's call include the following:
1. Holmes hasn't ruled out the possibility of drafting a quarterback at No. 7. When asked about North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, who is scheduled for a pro day workout Friday, Jeremiah said Lance reminds him of Steve McNair.
2. Jeremiah said Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, who some draft analysts have linked to Detroit at No. 7 is a linebacker "who can do everything."
3. Detroit will also look to boost the interior of their defensive line this offseason, but the draft might not be a great place to do that, at least early on. Jeremiah said there's a chance not a single defensive tackle is selected in the first round this year. He said it might be the least talented defensive tackle group in the draft in a decade.
4. The Lions need to retool at linebacker, and Jeremiah said there's a bunch of off-the-ball linebacker options in this class who he thinks can come in and contribute right away as rookies.
5. Who might ultimately be the best player in this year's draft class according to Jeremiah? Florida TE/WR Kyle Pitts, who comes in at No. 3 in Jeremiah's Top 50. Jeremiah compared Pitts to Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, but with a bigger catch radius. Jeremiah called Pitts a "rare dude."
6. Jeremiah is really high on Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, who had a good pro day Tuesday. He says Slater is the draft's best tackle, but is such a rare athlete that he can play all five positions upfront along the offensive line.