The 2021 Detroit Lions AKA “The Kneecap Regime”: Draft recap, team odds and season predictions

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Sam Jordan, co-host of The Lions Lounge podcast, reviews the recent Detroit Lions’ Draft picks and makes his predictions ahead of the 2021 Football season.

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Written by Sam Jordan, co-host of The Lions Lounge podcast. See more from Sam on Twitter by clicking here.

Detroit Lions 2021 Draft Recap

The Detroit Lions had an eventful offseason. The Lions brought in an entire new coaching staff including a first time General Manager (Brad Holmes) and Head Coach (Dan Campbell). Coach Campbell made headlines when he talked about “biting kneecaps” in his introductory press conference. The new staff has given the Lions fanbase an overall sense of confidence and hope that they can make the Lions a winning football team again.

On April 29th, the Lions fans were able to witness how Holmes/Campbell and Owner Sheila Ford-Hamp envisioned running the team.

So, the Lions entered the 2021 NFL Draft with only 6 picks, but with one trade on day 3, that gave the Lions a 7th round pick. Here are the Lions’ 2021 Draft picks and how I think they will slot into the Detroit roster.

Round 1 Pick 7: Penei Sewell

Position: OT

Not a “sexy” draft pick, but is a great selection for the team. Sewell is a mauler, big player who likes to shove people to the ground and will fit great at the RT spot on the Offensive Line.

People say that Sewell is a certain future HOF. Selecting Sewell will give the Lions one of the BEST offensive lines for the next 4-5 seasons.

Round 2 Pick 41: Levi Onwuzurike

Position: DT

Probably a surprising pick to some fans, because of the prospects that were still available. With selecting Levi, he solidifies the defense that was ranked 32nd in the league last year.

The 2014 Detroit Lions defense was Top 5 in the NFL. It excelled because of having bigger DT’s in the middle (Suh & Fairley) helped close the gaps a lot quicker. Onwuzurike is a big DT and will use his strength & speed to get after the ball.

Round 3 Pick 101: Alim McNeill

Position: DT

Another surprising pick to almost everyone. Who would’ve thought that the Lions would draft back-to-back DT’s? At first I was perplexed, but then I realized what the new staff was wanting to build. They wanted to build through the trenches and that is exactly what they did with selecting McNeill.

McNeill is a huge asset to the defense. In HS, McNeill was a RB and also played baseball. Once he transitioned to DT, he was able to use his athleticism and speed to obliterate the ball carriers for N.C. State.

Round 3, Pick 101: Ifeatu Melifonwu

Position: CB

Ifeatu is an all-around great defender. He uses his 6’3 frame and 42 inch vertical to get an advantage over opposing receivers. He is very quick to the ball and will wrap up immediately. Gained more fame when he performed well at the Senior Bowl. Also with his size, he has the potential to jump back into coverage at SS/FS.

Round 4, Pick 112: Amon-Ra St. Brown

Position: WR

FINALLY! The WR room is the most depleted group on the Lions and the fans were waiting to see when we would select one.

St. Brown is a very talented WR. He has the innate ability to get off the line and achieve separation. Has the greatest potential in the Slot position where he can lose the defender with his great route running. Has been compared to Marvin Jones Jr. and Steve Smith Sr.

Round 4, Pick 113: Derrick Barnes

Position: LB

A very surprising trade occurred at this pick. Brad Holmes did not want Derrick Barnes to slip away from them so they traded with Cleveland. Many analysts considered this pick a huge steal.

Barnes is an all-around great tackler. He excelled with his closing speed and being able to get to the RB way behind the line. Barnes will be a great starter for the Lions for many seasons.

Round 7, Pick 257: Jermar Jefferson

Position: RB

With the trade from Cleveland, we received pick 257. I personally believe that Jefferson was overlooked and should have been selected in one of the earlier rounds.. Jefferson is a hard runner who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder for the extra yards. He has a great burst of speed and agility that makes it hard to tackle him. Jermar also has the ability to contribute in the passing game as well.

Are the Detroit Lions better than their +15000 odds to win the 2021/22 NFL Championship indicate?

Of course, a SB win would be amazing for the City of Detroit, but I can see this team fighting every single game. I guarantee that this Detroit Lions team will shock a lot of people.

Like I said earlier, the new coaching staff had to increase the team’s chemistry and to avoid any ridiculous egos. The staff is able to motivate, coach and help mentor the players in order to make them better, while the players still have fun playing in the NFL. The term “fun” is something the Lions haven’t witnessed in a while, but with Campbell as HC I am predicting fun, hard work and dedication in the Lions camp this season. Dan Campbell said, “I’m going to do everything in my power to win you guys over and get our team to win.” Right there I knew he is the one that will get the Detroit Lions out of the basement and in the hunt for the NFC Title among other
things.

At this moment, it is too early to predict who makes the 53-man roster. But entering the rookie mini camps and eventually OTA’s you can see what positions are considered “strong”.

Strengths: RB, TE, OL, DL, LB, CB

Weaknesses: WR, SS/FS, and ST’s

Undecided: QB – I believe Goff has a lot of talent to help the Lions win. In order for Jared Goff to succeed in Detroit, he and the Lions need to accomplish these tasks:

  1. Regain the confidence he had from the 2018 season. He led the LA Rams to a 13-3 record while throwing for 4,688 yards, 32 TD’s and 12 INT’s and completed 65% of his passes.
  2. Goff plays better when he has time in the pocket. The OL needs to give Goff enough time to allow the play to develop and get the ball to the open receiver.
  3. Goff excels when he has a strong running game to compliment his passing game. If Swift and Williams are able to be a 2-headed monster at RB that should allow Goff to shine.
  4. Goff needs to be able to increase his accuracy in throwing the deep ball. He needs to trust that his WR’s can get the separation needed to make the difficult catches downfield.
  5. Jared Goff needs to listen to QB Coach Mark Brunell. Brunell played in the league for 19 seasons and has the insight needed to make sure Goff succeeds in Detroit.

2021 Detroit Lions Season Prediction

I personally don’t want to predict the win-loss totals for the season because I want to see the overall team chemistry and how well they perform in the OTA’s and preseason. This team has a lot of potential and could upset some great teams that have been in the playoffs the previous 2 seasons. But if I had to predict the season:

Best case scenario: 9-8 = wins against: SF, CHIx2, CIN, PHI, MIN, DEN, ATL, GB

Worst case scenario: 4-13 = wins against SF, CHI, DEN, ATL

Ideal season: 7-10 = wins against SF, CHIx2, CIN, PHI, DEN, ATL

IT’S KNEECAP SEASON!

DraftKings Sportsbook currently have the Detroit Lions win totals set at O/U 5 wins. Just click below to make a bet on Over 5 wins or Under 5 wins for the Lions this season, both valued at -110 odds.

detroit lions 2021 predictions

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