Detroit Lions 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Trading down in the first round

Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions, Rashod Bateman
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

With the 19th overall pick, the Detroit Lions select Rashod Bateman.

The Detroit Lions are in dire need of an impactful receiver after allowing their top-two pass-catchers from the past few seasons to walk in free agency.

With Kenny Golladay signing a massive deal with the New York Giants and Marvin Jones following his former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to Jacksonville to join the rebuilding Jaguars left the Lions with an empty receiver room.

Brad Holmes hoped to replenish the position by signing Tyrell Williams, who projects as the team’s top target at the moment, but he comes with plenty of questions.  Williams has struggled to remain healthy throughout his career.

Still, he’s very familiar with Detroit’s first-year offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn as their relationship stems back to their days with the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Lions also added Breshad Perriman to go along with second-year man Quintez Cephus.

Detroit also lost slot specialist Danny Amendola, plus a work in progress Jamal Agnew, a dynamic returning who has just begun trying to carve out a role for himself on offense.

Rashod Bateman may just be the best route-runner in the 2021 draft class. He’s often displayed crisp cuts, and he’s not only a smooth route-runner. He’s often winning at the line of scrimmage.  Bateman can quickly turn a corner inside out with his dynamic hips and overall quickness.

Playing with the Golden Gophers, Bateman has shown plenty of toughness after-the-catch as seen below, displaying a nasty stiff arm.  Bateman has earned 36 career broken tackles over the three-year span.

Bateman was limited to just five games due to COVID-19 in 2020 but made 36 receptions totaling 472 yards and two touchdowns as a junior.  Bateman really blossomed the year prior, corralling 60 balls totaling 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns.  That’s good for a stellar 20.3 yards per reception.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Bateman earned a respectful 81.1 overall grade in 2020 but a spectacular 87.1 mark in 2019.  Also, according to PFF, Bateman led the nation in yards per route from an outside alignment.  He’s the perfect rookie to pair with Williams in 2021.

Bateman, at 6-foot, 190 pounds, won’t wow you like the more traditional large outside receivers like Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, or Mike Evans, but his 4.4 speed is fine, plus check out these hands.

For someone like myself who had been opposed to the Detroit Lions selecting a receiver in the top ten, Bateman is a phenomenal consolating prize here at 19th, plus the Lions will add an additional second-round pick in ’21 and a future first.

For the record, I was wavering between Bateman and Christain Barmore.

Notable players available: Kwity Paye, Teven Jenkins, Najee Harris, Christain Barmore, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.