As we continue towards the start of the 2021 NFL Draft set to begin on Thursday, April 29th, I can’t help but be excited about the future surrounding the Detroit Lions.
It’s year one of this new Detroit Lions brass, from the general manager to head coach, along with a host of new assistant coaches. This does make predicting the team’s draft targets a bit more difficult.
We can look back at the last few Los Angeles Rams drafts and make some predictions that way, knowing that newly appointed GM Brad Holmes played a significant role in creating the Rams draft board but let’s understand that this will be the first time Holmes will get the final say.
We will continue to have a plethora of draft coverage, including player breakdowns, highlighting specific prospects, and suggesting players that may fit Anthony Lynn’s system on offense and Aaron Glenn’s defense, plus doing complete mock drafts with and without trades.
In this article, I will share some of my early March draft crushes and players that I HOPE the Detroit Lions circle on their draft board and where I expect said player will be drafted. These are players we’ve all heard of, but all none first and in many cases second-round and beyond draft targets.
Let’s jump right into this;
The Detroit Lions need to circle defensive end Ronnie Perkins on their draft board.
The Oklahoma product is a 6-foot-3 defensive end/edge rusher that plays at about 250-pounds leaving him as a bit of a ‘tweener.’ If the Detroit Lions are indeed set to deploy a base 3-4 defense under newly appointed defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn typically you’d like to see a big end like Trey Flowers, Da’Shawn Hand, Everson Griffen and Romeo Okwara setting both edges.
I feel that Ronnie Perkins is a bit undersized at the NFL level for that role but saw plenty of success at the college level with his hand in the dirt. As you know, there is a significant gap between college and the pros. I feel that Perkins will start his NFL career as a true edge rusher playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker/ stand-up end.
When you watch Perkins go to work, you see that raw talent and a player that knows exactly how to use his low center of gravity to his advantage, often using his leverage to cross up much-bigger offensive tackles trying to block him.
Perkins had been a three-year starter, with the Sooners recording 16.5 sacks spread out nearly equally over the three seasons. In 2020 as a junior, Perkins recorded 5.5 sacks in just six games due to a suspension before Oklahoma’s bowl game the year earlier when Perkins failed a drug test. Perkins was forced to miss five games this past season but saw his suspension lifted after an appeal.
Along with being a tremendous pass-rusher, Perkins saw an abundance of success defending the run. Unlike a lot of rush ends who gravitate to getting after the quarterback with their speed and skill, Perkins has the ability to do that along with collapsing the line of scrimmage making a play on the ball carrier.
There is an outside chance that in a deep class of edge rushers, Perkins could slide to the third round, and he’d be a bargain for any team. The Detroit Lions should consider selecting Perkins with the 41st overall pick early in the second round. Perkins is too talented to pass up and fills an immediate need for the Detroit Lions.