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Analyst thinks it’s possible Lions draft offense in Round 1

There’s been a ton of opinions on what the Detroit Lions might do in the NFL Draft, and we’re really only just scratching the surface as it relates to breaking down what could happen in the draft room in the weeks ahead by the time April rolls around. Thanks to the depth of playmakers early on and needs, it’s been an assumption that defense might be the spot the team would target. But that might not be the case when all is said and done.

Depth might lead the Lions to taking a closer look at offensive players if The Athletic’s Chris Burke is to be believed. His opinion? The Lions might decide to go offense in the first round of the draft this year.

“I actually think it’s looking more and more possible that they go offense in Round 1,” Burke recently tweeted. As Burke continued, a trade down could be in play unless a big name from the top half of the draft fall, perhaps Nick Bosa, Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams.

Previous mocks have hinted to this possibility, listing T.J. Hockenson and N’Keal Harry as potential options. Hockenson himself is one of the top prospects considering statistics. In just two years at Iowa, Hockenson put up 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns and shows signs of being a top prospect at the spot, even considering names like Irv Smith and teammate Noah Fant. His name, though, has never been seen this high on a mock, so it will be fascinating to see if this is a one time thing or a trend. Detroit has a need for game breakers at the wideout spot, but does have Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones to rely on. They might only need some subtle tweaks this offseason as a result of that. But Harry, with his 6-4 size and 22 career touchdowns through the air, is a massive target that could help the offense out. He’s arguably the top weapon at wideout.

The Lions have plenty of holes on their team to address this draft period, and it just so happens a few of their biggest are spots where top end talents could be had. The defensive line and defensive backfield have several stud players who figure to be around early in the draft, and those are two spots where the Lions could figure to need instant upgrades. Detroit also has needs at tight end, perhaps at wideout and also depth spots on the offense and defense. They also have nine draft picks with which to work. Balancing where to take skill position player is a huge question.

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Combined with a young linebacking group, there is a hope that the Lions could turn into one of the NFL’s more elite groups on defense if they are able to continue the arrow trending upward. Certainly, as these cases show, there is reason for hope that could soon be the case, as they’ve already got a nice place to start with some solid and budding talents on the field. Getting a high draft pick into the mix will help this turnaround further.

Interestingly enough, many early mocks have had the Lions looking elsewhere than along the defensive front or even at linebacker. Cornerback has also been alluded to as one of the team’s bigger draft needs coming up. Detroit’s next draft, whatever pick they might land, is going to have to be heavy along the defensive front. The Lions need some depth there and more playmakers, and that’s without even figuring in the fact that they could lose Ezekiel Ansah and could also lose Ricky Jean Francois, who are on one year deals.

Obviously, the Lions have some major building to do along their defensive line in the coming seasons in the draft and free agency, and one could expect them to target those spots most in the coming year when it comes to upgrades. But even without those future players and their arrivals, the Lions have been pretty good already, especially against running quarterbacks, which should be downright scary for the opposition. As the Lions have figured out how to stop the run consistently, the whole group has gotten better.

Depth there on the team and in the draft might cause the Lions to look elsewhere early in the draft. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do.

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