As we continue the Team Needs series for the 2013 NFL Draft, we proceed to the team with the fifth overall pick; the Detroit Lions. After making a playoff run the year before, many were expecting the Lions to become a threat in the NFC North, but they fell back to their familiar place in 2012; the cellar.
In what seemed like a rerun, the Lions lost numerous games in the same fashion last year; build an early lead only to go cold in the second half and lose in the final moments. Most were surprised to see head coach Jim Schwartz keep his job after so many blunders this season, but it appears he’ll stick around to lead the Lions war room for another draft. Here are a few things I think he’ll be looking for this year.
The Lions are usually able to keep the players they really want to, so bringing back Cliff Avril will be their top priority in free agency If he is still on the roster by April, a threat opposite him in the Detroit pass rush needs to be addressed. Kyle Vanden Bosch seems to be at the end of the productive years in his career. Damontre Moore still being on the board at fifth overall would have the Lions war room dancing.
Draft Possibilities: Damontre Moore, Bjoern Werner
For all of the acclaim that Calvin Johnson deservedly gets, it’s still just him and some guys out there in the receiving group. It looked like Ryan Broyles could be that guy to be a factor opposite him, but he tore his ACL yet again. It’s difficult to put faith on him staying healthy. Defense must be a priority here, so I think the Lions won’t look for another wide receiver until the third round at the earliest. If a guy like Justin Hunter is there early in the third, it could be a match.
Draft Possibilities: Justin Hunter, Da’Rick Rogers
You’re going to notice a trend here and it is defense, defense, defense. The Lions secondary stunk up the building in 2012 and if they don’t get someone who can cover, things aren’t going to improve. It’s early, but Dwight Bentley looked lost as a rookie and Chris Houston is a free agent. DeMarcus Milliner still being available is the only way I’d see them not going pass rusher in the first.
Draft Possibilities: DeMarcus Milliner, Xavier Rhodes
Yes, all facets of the Detroit secondary were appalling in 2012. So one, or maybe even two safeties could be taken in this draft. Louis Delmas can’t ever seem to stay on the field, and he’s a free agent, and I’m not sure anyone outside of Detroit could name the other starting safeties from last year. Unfortunately, there are no franchise prospects at that position this year, so anything before round two would be a shock. T.J. McDonald is a kid they could look at in the third.
Draft Possibilities: T.J. McDonald, Eric Reid
We know that every defensive position should get an upgrade, but I can’t leave out some protection for Matthew Stafford, who has had injury concerns for a lot of his career. Stephen Peterman almost got Stafford’s head taken off a few times due to poor pass protection and a guy like Eric Fisher could solve that problem. But it’s highly unlikely Fisher would go that early. In the middle rounds, a kid like D.J. Fluker could get a nod though.
Draft Possibilities: D.J. Fluker, Brennan Williams
For Detroit, it was a shoot out almost every week. The offense was one of the best in the league, but they couldn’t make up for a defense that couldn’t stop a group of high school players. If they can get the defense up to even middle of the road in 2013, things could turn around quickly. They’ll need to if Jim Schwartz wants to be a part of the team in 2014.
Tagged with: Bjoern Werner, Calvin Johnson, Chris Houston, Cliff Avril, D.J. Fluker, Da'Rick Rogers, Damontre Moore, DeMarcus Milliner, Detroit Lions, Dwight Bentley, Eric Fisher, Eric Reid, Jim Schwartz, Justin Hunter, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Louis Delmas, Matthew Stafford, NFC, NFC North, Ryan Broyles, Stephen Peterman, T.J. McDonald, Xavier Rhodes