The Detroit Lions seem to be heading in the direction of drafting a wide receiver with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. On Thursday afternoon, the team informed veteran wide out Nate Burleson that he would no longer be part of the team moving forward, freeing up over $5 million invested in him.
The last 4 years in Michigan been incredible! MY TEAM, FANS & the CITY will missed more than you know! Thank You! Love Detroit! #LionBlood
— Nathaniel E Burleson (@Nate13Burleson) February 13, 2014
What does this mean for the team moving forward without its No. 2 receiver?
Well, Burleson spent most of the season in 2013 on IR because of a broken arm and he came back and didn’t prove himself as much as the team would have liked. Playing on the opposite side of Calvin Johnson should have helped his stats, but he was nearly non-existent when he came back from injury.
However, this could be a great move for Detroit if they take advantage of the situation. Yes, they just got rid of a pricey contract, but they also made it known to the league that drafting a WR early is extremely likely. Just how early will they take a WR? I would say as soon as the 10th pick — or sooner if they trade up.
It has been rumored that the team is looking to get one of three top wide outs: Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or Marqise Lee — in that order.
It’s doubtful that Watkins drops to No. 10, but if he does, the team is very likely to jump on that. Heck, trading up is not out of the cards if the team is that serious about getting the top wide out in the entire draft.
I know, Lions fans, don’t cringe when I say that taking a wide receiver in the first round is likely. This draft is loaded with top WR talent and the Lions could cash in big time with Watkins and Johnson as No. 1 and 2 receivers. Matthew Stafford would be extremely thankful as well.
Drafting a WR isn’t a guarantee for the first round — as a cornerback is needed as well — but don’t be surprised if they do so or even trade up to get one.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.