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John Metchie
Detroit Lions

3 WRs Lions Should Target In 2022 NFL Draft

  • Justin Melo
  • February 3, 2022
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The Detroit Lions desperately need to add playmakers at the wide receiver position this offseason. The Lions fielded what many would agree was the worst pass-catching corps in all football throughout the 2020 campaign. Detroit's leading receiver was impressive fourth-round rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, who secured 90-of-119 targets for 912 yards and five touchdowns while serving as Detroit's only receiver to feature in all 17 regular-season contests. Kalif Raymond, a veteran journeyman who arrived in the Motor City via an affordable, team-friendly deal finished second in receptions (48) and yards (576) among their wide receivers. St. Brown is a part of the solution going forward, but the Lions unquestionably need to find several upgrades around him. Receivers coach Antwaan Randle El is well aware of the injection of talent Detroit’s receiver room requires. Randle El has eluded to Detroit potentially adding three wide receivers this offseason, including two draft picks while speaking with members of the press. Randle El is coaching at the Senior Bowl this week alongside head coach Dan Campbell and the remainder of the Lions' staff. It provides general manager Brad Holmes with an opportunity to spend time with several potential draft candidates. With Randle El's comments in mind, we've identified three receivers the Lions may target in the late-day-one-to-early-day-two range.

DRAKE LONDON, WR, USC

Randle El suggested the Lions could target a big-bodied receiver with the capabilities of developing into a dominant force on the outside. Look no further than USC's Drake London, who possesses a 6-foot-5 frame that worked heavily to his advantage throughout his eyebrow-raising collegiate career. London is an excellent athlete that was extremely productive for the Trojans in 2021 despite a limited sample size. London recorded an astounding 88 receptions in just eight appearances while totaling career-highs in yards (1,084) and touchdowns (7). London's final stat line would have been even more jaw-dropping if not for a serious lower-leg injury that cut his season short in October. London possesses the size and type of catch radius that thrives in traffic and extends and expands windows for NFL quarterbacks to deliver him the football. His ability to excel in contested-catch situations was well documented throughout his time at USC. London is also a threat to create yards after the catch despite his big-bodied frame. His versatile, dominant skill set would immediately fit into Detroit's plans at the wide receiver position. London's injury could mean he's available when the Lions come on the clock with their second of two first-round picks at 31st or 32nd overall, depending on the Los Angeles Rams' result in the Super Bowl.

JAHAN DOTSON, WR, PENN STATE

The 2021 iteration of the Lions desperately lacked a receiver that could create yards for himself after the catch. If Jared Goff returns as Detroit's starting quarterback in 2022, Holmes should look to add a quick-twitch pass-catcher that's capable of helping Goff by manufacturing explosives on designed touches in the open field. It's an ever-important element of today’s offensive game plans that was absent for the Lions all throughout the campaign. Jahan Dotson is very much that type of dangerous playmaker. Dotson is a big play waiting to happen due to his electric and dynamic ability post-catch. Dotson exploded in 2021 by catching 91 balls for a staggering 1,118 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Nittany Lions’ offense very much centered around Dotson’s rare abilities. Dotson is an extremely crafty route-runner that creates separation with sudden and explosive movements. His ability to threaten defenses vertically forces secondaries to pay him extra special attention on every snap. Dotson may be considered undersized, but his ability to make a house call on any given touch will certainly add a dynamic element to an NFL offense. Adding Dotson via the draft would immediately upgrade Detroit's receiver room.

JOHN METCHIE III, WR, ALABAMA

Should Alabama's John Metchie III slip to the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft due to an early-December ACL tear, the franchise that is wise enough to select him will immediately be awarded one of the steals of the draft. Metchie III was extremely productive in 13 appearances (96/1142/8) before suffering the unfortunate injury just weeks prior to the College Football Playoff. Metchie III is a pro-ready receiver that is skilled enough to play multiple receiver positions within an offense. The Lions currently possess three selections in the top 35, two of which will occur within very short succession near the back end of the first round. The receiver-needy Lions would be wise to gamble on Metchie III's talent with one of those prized extra selections. Metchie III is an uber-talented receiver with elite speed and exceptional abilities in the open field. Metchie III possesses the all-around versatile skill set necessary to transform into a high-quality WR1 at the next level. Metchie III would quickly take up a starring role in Detroit's passing offense. Metchie III's injury will hamper his predraft evaluation, as he's not expected to recover in time for the scouting combine.