In addition to the seven players selected by the Detroit Lions in the 2021 draft, they have also confirmed that they will sign 13 other rookies as undrafted free agents. Let’s take a closer look at who they added and what those players are bringing to the roster.
Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas
5 feet 11 1/2, 213 pounds
Boyd was a productive player in his 20 starts leading up to 2020, averaging over 6.0 yards per carry on 307 touches. 2020 was a bit of a mess, however, due to injury and he ultimately opted out after six games. Boyd is an instinctive runner who takes what’s in front of him. It is faster than fast, but it can get lean in the hole, it is experienced on screens and can be used on third parties.
Dedrick Mills, RB, Nebraska
5 feet 9 1/2, 217 pounds
The Cornhuskers’ best rusher in the past two seasons, Mills is another rusher who will benefit from an area blocking system that will allow him to move up the field quickly. Like Boyd, he takes what’s in front of your runner that can be used on third downs, but he has more power in his game.
Jonathan Adams Jr., WR, State of Arkansas
6 feet 2 inches, 210 pounds
Sun Belt offensive player of the year, Adams had 79 catches for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. His long speed is average but he has a big explosion and that helps him to consistently win the ball 50/50. He’s not going to run away from people, mid or deep, but his ability to be a contested downstream capture threat could earn him WR6 consideration.
6 feet 1 1/2, 215 pounds
A “what could have been” type player. McKinley was heavily recruited out of high school, but only played 19 games in his first four years due to multiple injuries and a 2019 arrest (drums). He eventually made his way into the starting lineup as a fifth year senior and led the Irish in reception. Like Adams, he’s a tough downline wide receiver who needs to develop his game and extend it to different areas of the pitch.
6 feet 2 1/2, 209 pounds
Likely headed for a Big Slot receiving role, Surratt is strong enough to go through the middle to secure catches, but he doesn’t offer much in terms of YAC. He has excellent focus when capturing and like other WR UDFAs is not bothered by traffic but needs a lot of work to expand his game beyond. For those wondering if there was a role for Quintez Cephus on the Lions roster, Surratt’s signature indicates the answer is yes. Now the next question is: Can Surratt challenge him for this role?
Brock Wright, TE, Notre-Dame
6 feet 4 1/2, 257 pounds
A very athletic tight end (SAR = 9.2) that was mostly used as a blocker in South Bend. He has worked hard in his craft and he has the potential to remain as a TE3 depending on his blocking skills and development.
If you like skill position blocking, here’s a nice clip.
89 Brock Wright seals the edge on a block down
88 Javon McKinley does the job
24 Tommy Aspen being ruthless pic.twitter.com/F7op71HZrk
– Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) September 14, 2020
6 feet 4 1/4, 242 pounds
Another tight blocking end that will vie for a background role. Its lack of long speed will likely make TE3 its ceiling, although it’s strong enough to stay there.
Tommy Kraemer, RG, Notre Dame
6 feet 5 1/2, 309 pounds
A four-year holder in the right guard and a right tackle for the Irish, Kraemer will have to stay inside the NFL as he grapples with athletes on the edge, causing his technique to give up. There is a chance for him to stay on guard as he has the power to win up close, but he needs to fix his waist flexion.
ND RG Tommy Kraemer has been stopping bull rushes like this for years. Anchoring against this type of power is not easy. He also has enough mobility to achieve second-tier goals, heralding a long NFL career. # SnapScout21 pic.twitter.com/UWkCSze5g3
– Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) November 24, 2020
Drake Jackson, C, Kentucky
6 feet 2 inches, 293 pounds
Strength and competitiveness will give you a shot in the NFL, and Jackson will be counting on those traits to help him stay in Detroit. A four-year, 45-game starter on an aggressive offensive line in Kentucky, Jackson is an inside technician and has NFL-level hands / moves. As I said in our draft class superlatives: “Forget Beau Benzschawel, this is your new crush for UDFA OL”.
Tavante Beckett, LB, Marshall
5 feet 10 inches, 220 pounds
Undersized for the linebacker position, Beckett may be in line for a change in position in the NFL, even if it’s just a slight adjustment to a suspended defenseman role. His intensity is evident on the pitch, as is his ability to find space in traffic, which could make him a valuable contributor to special teams.
Jerry Jacobs, CB, Arkansas
5 feet 10 inches, 208 pounds
An aggressive cover wedge who enjoys getting physical support while racing, Jacobs’ limited experience has held back his development over the past two seasons. After ripping the ACL in 2019, then retiring from 2020 after four games, he has only played seven games in the past two seasons and needs more refinement. There is talent there, but it looks like it’s going to take a while before you can contribute.
Jerry Jacobs is definitely a name to remember this fall for Arkansas
16 games at Arkansas State: 4 INT, 8 PBU, under 50% comp. % allowed
The guy is as knowledgeable as they come on the cover and against the run pic.twitter.com/LXaTI04bpZ
– Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) Aug 11, 2020
AJ Parker, NB, State of Kansas
5 feet 11 inches 182 pounds
A three-and-a-half-year-old starter, Parker can play all three corner spots, although he’s mostly aligned with Nickelback. Parker is a flexible athlete and better on cover than on support in the run, but he has shown the skills to wrap around smaller offensive players. When asked to play cover he shows good tracking awareness, can get his hands on the ball, which has led to six interceptions in the past three years. With the Lions, he has a chance to become a dime in return, with special teams worth.
D’Angelo Amos, S / RET, Virginie
6 feet, 191 pounds
Amos is a safety player who excels at tracking the ball, who also appears on special teams as a punt returner, where he took five home when he was at James Madison. In Detroit, he will likely compete for a reserve role at a high security level, but his most likely path to the roster is as a returner.