Draft grades for the Lions’ 2021 opponents


Lindsay Miller

It’s been a busy past few weeks for the NFL.

The 2021 Draft took place last month and the Lions fared well, earning a B+ grade from NFL.com’s Chad Reuter.

And last week, the 2021 schedule was announced for all 32 teams.

Let’s take a look back and see how Detroit’s opponents were graded in the draft, and see which new players the Lions will be facing in 2021:

WEEK 1 vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The picks:

North Dakota State QB Trey Lance (No. 3 overall) Notre Dame OG Aaron Banks (No. 48) Ohio State RB Trey Sermon (No. 88) Michigan CB Ambry Thomas (No. 102) Western Michigan OT Jaylon Moore (No. 155) Oregon CB Deommodore Lenoir (No. 172) USC S Talanoa Hufanga (No. 180) Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell (No. 194)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): B+ – Lance is an outstanding talent albeit with a limited resume. I can’t wait to see how good he becomes. Banks will help form a wall in front of Lance, Sermon is a worthy third-round value at running back and Thomas has potential to stick in the secondary …

WEEK 2 at & WEEK 18 vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS

The picks:

Georgia CB Eric Stokes (No. 29 overall) Ohio State C Josh Myers (No. 62) Clemson WR Amari Rodgers (No. 85) Mississippi OT Royce Newman (No. 142) Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton (No. 173) Appalachian State CB Shemar Jean-Charles (No. 178) Wisconsin G Cole Van Lanen (No. 214) Boston College LB Isaiah McDuffie (No. 220) Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill (No. 256)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – Cornerback was a major need for the Packers, and with receiver Rashod Bateman off the board to the Ravens, they decided to pick up the speedy and competitive Stokes with their first-round selection. Myers will be a sturdy professional in the pivot for the next few years, though it will be interesting to see how other center prospects who were available at No. 62 will work out for their teams …

WEEK 3 vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The picks:

Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman (No. 27 overall) Penn State OLB Odafe Oweh (No. 31) Georgia G Ben Cleveland (No. 94) SMU CB Brandon Stephens (No. 104) Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace (No. 131) Ohio State CB Shaun Wade (No. 160) Notre Dame OLB Daelin Hayes (No. 171) Michigan TE Ben Mason (No. 184)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had to be happy to see the team pick Bateman in the first round, and the defense also got a Round 1 boost from the addition of Oweh. The Ravens used the third round to find a pair of future starters in Cleveland and Stephens …

WEEK 4 at & WEEK 12 vs. CHICAGO BEARS

The picks:

Ohio State QB Justin Fields (No. 11 overall) Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins (No. 39) Missouri OT Larry Borom (No. 151) Virginia Tech RB Khalil Herbert (No. 217) North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome (No. 221) Oregon CB Thomas Graham Jr. (No. 228) BYU DT Khyiris Tonga (No. 250)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – The Bears have needed a playmaking quarterback for decades. Trading up to land Fields was well worth the price. Upgrading the offensive line was also a priority, so trading up for a player of Jenkins’ caliber at a reasonable price made sense …

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WEEK 5 at & WEEK 13 vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The picks:

Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw (No. 23 overall) Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond (No. 66) North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt (No. 78) Ohio State G Wyatt Davis (No. 86) Pitt DE Patrick Jones II (No. 90) Iowa State RB Kene Nwangwu (No. 119) Cal S Camryn Bynum (No. 125) Florida State DE Janarius Robinson (No. 134) Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (No. 157) Central Missouri TE Zach Davidson (No. 168) Pitt DT Jaylen Twyman (No. 199)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – The Vikings addressed their need at left tackle (Darrisaw) and picked up two third-rounders (while giving up a fourth) in a savvy first-round trade with the Jets. Mond provides much-needed depth behind (and competition for?) Kirk Cousins …

WEEK 6 vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS

The picks:

LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase (No. 5 overall) Clemson OT Jackson Carman (No. 46) Texas DE Joseph Ossai (No. 69) Tulane DE Cameron Sample (No. 111) LSU DT Tyler Shelvin (No. 122) East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith (No. 139) Florida K Evan McPherson (No. 149) Georgia C Trey Hill (No. 190) Michigan RB Chris Evans (No. 202) Kansas State DE Wyatt Hubert (No. 235)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): B+ – They chose Chase despite the fact that their young quarterback, Joe Burrow, had his rookie season cut short by an injury suffered in the pocket. They hope selecting Carman will rectify the situation and allow Burrow and Chase to rekindle the connection that led them to a national title …

WEEK 7 at LOS ANGELES RAMS

The picks:

Louisville WR Tutu Atwell (No. 57 overall) South Carolina LB Ernest Jones (No. 103) Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown III (No. 117) Central Arkansas Robert Rochell (No. 130) UCF WR Jacob Harris (No. 141) Northwestern DE Earnest Brown IV (No. 174) Maryland RB Jake Funk (No. 233) Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek (No. 249) Concordia OLB Chris Garrett (No. 252)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – Atwell’s an explosive player whose extremely small frame (5-9, 155) is a bit worrisome. GM Les Snead traded one of the Rams’ two third-round picks for two fourths, which made sense, given the team’s lack of overall draft capital …

WEEK 8 vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The picks:

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith (No. 10 overall) Alabama OL Landon Dickerson (No. 37) Louisiana Tech DE Milton Williams (No. 73) Texas Tech CB Zech McPhearson (No. 123) Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell (No. 150) USC DT Marlon Tuipulotu (No. 189) Coastal Carolina DE Tarron Jackson (No. 191) LSU LB JaCoby Stevens (No. 224) Tulane DE Patrick Johnson (No. 234)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – Smith is an outstanding talent who could very well prove worthy of sending their division-rival Cowboys a third-rounder for the two-spot swap. Dickerson was selected as a guard and could be center Jason Kelce’s replacement in a year or two, though his injury history made him a bit of a risk as a top-40 pick. Williams’ athleticism had earned him a spot in the third round …

WEEK 10 at PITTSBURGH STEELERS

The picks:

Alabama RB Najee Harris (No. 24 overall) Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth (No. 55) Illinois C Kendrick Green (No. 87) Texas A&M OT Dan Moore (No. 128) Texas A&M LB Buddy Johnson (No. 140) Wisconsin DE Isaiahh Loudermilk (No. 156) Miami OLB Quincy Roche (No. 216) Oklahoma CB Tre Norwood (No. 245) Georgia Tech P Pressley Harvin III (No. 254)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – Harris’ game so resembles that of Le’Veon Bell that no one was surprised the Steelers turned in the virtual card to inject his talents into their offense. His playmaking ability was difficult to pass up, even if it meant ignoring the offensive line. The team eventually addressed their issues up front by selecting Green, an athletic and powerful center, in Round 3 …

WEEK 11 at CLEVELAND BROWNS

The picks:

Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II (No. 26 overall) Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (No. 52) Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz (No. 91) Cincinnati OT James Hudson (No. 110) Ohio State DT Tommy Togiai (No. 132) West Virginia LB Tony Fields II (No. 153) Georgia S Richard LeCounte III (No. 169) UCLA RB Demetric Felton (No. 211)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A – Finding a talented cornerback like Newsome waiting to hear his name called at No. 26 was a big bonus for the Browns. He’ll be a stopper on the outside for a defense looking to become championship-caliber. The trade up for JOK was a good move, especially considering the small amount of value they relinquished in the deal …

WEEK 14 at DENVER BRONCOS

The picks:

Alabama CB Patrick Surtain (No. 9 overall) North Carolina RB Javonte Williams (No. 35) Wisconsin-Whitewater G Quinn Meinerz (No. 98) Ohio State LB Baron Browning (No. 105) Texas S Caden Sterns (No. 152) Indiana S Jamar Johnson (No. 164) Auburn WR Seth Williams (No. 219) LSU CB Kary Vincent Jr. (No. 237) Ohio State DE Jonathon Cooper (No. 239) Mississippi State DE Marquiss Spencer (No. 253)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): B+ – The Broncos picked the best cornerback in the draft in Surtain, so there’s no questioning the value of that selection. But GM George Paton passed on quarterback Justin Fields — and fans won’t forget that decision if Fields goes on to great success in Chicago while Denver continues to search for an answer at QB …

WEEK 15 vs. ARIZONA CARDINALS

The picks:

Tulsa LB Zaven Collins (No. 16 overall) Purdue WR Rondale Moore (No. 49) Florida CB Marco Wilson (No. 136) Duke DE Victor Dimukeje (No. 210) UCF CB Tay Gowan (No. 223) Cincinnati S James Wiggins (No. 243) Penn State C Michal Menet (No. 247)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): B+ – The Cardinals found a playmaking linebacker at No. 16. Collins’ career track could be similar to that of Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler Anthony Barr. The team could have selected a cornerback in the first round because of its need there, however. The dynamic Moore was picked in the second round despite his small stature and injury history, matching their projected pick in my seven-round mock draft — so that selection wasn’t a surprise …

WEEK 16 at ATLANTA FALCONS

The picks:

Florida TE Kyle Pitts (No. 4 overall) UCF S Richie Grant (No. 40) Michigan G Jalen Mayfield (No. 68) San Diego State CB Darren Hall (No. 108) Stanford C Drew Dalman (No. 114) Texas DL Ta’Quon Graham (No. 148) Notre Dame DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji (No. 182) Boise State CB Avery Williams (No. 183) Arizona State WR Frank Darby (No. 187)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): A+ – Adding pass-catcher extraordinaire Pitts with the fourth overall pick gives a boost to the Falcons’ offense, especially in the red zone, where the team struggled at times in 2020. Atlanta made two excellent picks on Friday night, with Grant likely stepping into a starting role at safety and Mayfield a solid projection to guard, an area in which the Falcons needed more depth …

WEEK 17 at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The picks:

Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge (No. 56 overall) Oklahoma CB Tre Brown (No. 137) Florida OT Stone Forsythe (No. 208)

The grade (via NFL.com’s Chad Reuter): B – Eskridge gives Russell Wilson another explosive target, but the team’s lack of investment in the offensive line could prove costly …



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