Analytics point to DeVonta Smith as Detroit Lions best pairing
If the Detroit Lions are to have a chance to compete in the coming season, they must put in a stellar design class as several young Leos need to contribute and play an important role right away. Nothing is more important than the selection in the first round.
With the seventh overall win in the draft, the pressure on the Lions’ youngest first-round player will be immense. The fact that he will be the new regime’s first choice in Motor City only adds to that pressure as Detroit needs to get it right.
Lions have many worthy candidates to choose from. With the first three picks in the first round guaranteed to be quarterbacks, Detroit should have a selection of talented football players who aren’t passers-by.
One area that can easily be identified as a major need is the broad receiver position. The team moved from one of the league’s top trios in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola to relative strangers in Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman and Caliph Raymond.
And while Lions with the seventh overall pick is expected to have plenty of high quality recipients to choose from, does Detroit fit together perfectly? Perhaps the answer lies in the numbers.
Here’s what NFL Network Analytics expert Cynthia Frelund wrote on the league’s official website as she tried to connect the perfect potential recipient with the right NFL home. For the Lions, Frelund Alabamas chose DeVonta Smith as their landing site, which will maximize the conscript’s share of profits in 2021.
“Any recipient who lands in Detroit will likely be asked to raise the Leos’ deep-seated potential, as Kenny Golladay has left the free agency. PFF shows that Smith led the FBS on receptions (15), received yards (589) and TDs (8) on targets greater than 20 yards in 2020. Should Smith wind up in Detroit, don’t be surprised if he leads all rookie receivers in yards. “
All DeVonta Smith did last year was dominate college football. The senior became the first major recipient to win the Heisman Trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. He scored a staggering 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and a total of 24 touchdowns in 13 games for Crimson Tide.
While winning his second CFP National Championship with Alabama earlier this year, the 6-foot-1,175-pound Smith put on a show. He was named Offensive MVP after recording 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns against the state of Ohio. And that despite most of the second half after a hand injury.
The Detroit Lions desperately need a broad range of recipient talent. Especially considering the fact that Jared Goff is centered around a new quarterback. Giving newcomer Goff a gun like DeVonta Smith as a recipient can go a long way in helping Lions get back on their feet after three straight defeats.