Draft Preview - Detroit Lions

Jim Schwartz

The Lions have some big needs to address this week in the NFL Draft. Offensive tackle, defensive end and cornerback are major priorities.

Detroit Lions
2013 draft picks:
1st round (5), 2(36), 3(65), 4(132), 5(137), 6(171), 7 (211, 245)5

It's been an interesting off-season for the Lions. They have added a nice offensive piece in running back Reggie Bush. He should have a chance to really shine in his role in the Detroit offense with quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. There's no question he can provide the Lions offense a little spark and explosion from the running back position.

The Lions did have some key losses. Two retired in offensive tackle Jeff Backus and kicker Jason Hanson. Detroit also lost another tackle in Gosder Cherilus and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Those are some key veterans that they will have to find some replacements via the NFL Draft.

Draft Needs
1) Offensive Tackle
You have a franchise quarterback like Matthew Stafford and the best wide receiver on the planet in Calvin Johnson and both your starting offensive tackles are no longer on the roster. It's a good think Detroit drafted Reilly Reiff last year. They need to find another bookend in this draft. In the five hole they are in position to land someone, it just depends on who falls their way. Luke Joeckel is probably first off the board to Kansas City. I am sure the Lions are hoping Central Michigan's Eric Fisher slides to them at their spot. If he's gone there's a good chance Lane Johnson is still on the board. Do the Lions grab him that high?

Of course they could always trade out of the spot and back in the round and go for a tackle like D.J. Fluker or Menelik Watson or they could see if Watson, Terron Armstead or another tackle is available with their second round pick.

2) Defensive End
The Lions have huge needs on the trenches and you can make a case that defensive end is more of a priority. But those guys are paid to protect your franchise quarterback. They are supposed to attack the other teams. Here, the Lions could get a potential impact player and dominant pass rusher if they go this direction with their first pick. They love outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who is the best pass rusher in this draft. Defensives End Ezekiel Ansah, Bjoern Werner and Barkevious Mingo could all be available at No. 5 overall.

The Lions could also go another position in round one and look to this position in the second or third round. It wouldn't surprise me to see Detroit draft two ends.

3) Cornerback
This is another huge area they have to address early in the draft. In fact, I would imagine with their first three picks they grab an offensive tackle, defensive end and cornerback. They will certainly have a shot at Dee Milliner. The Lions could also get a very good cornerback in the second round like Jamar Taylor, D.J. Hayden or Johnathan Banks. If they don't land Milliner in the first I could see them going with a corner in the second because of the value. But again, players slide and the Lions should get a very good player with their second pick.

4) Wide Receiver
It's hard to believe but Detroit could use another wide receiver opposite Johnson. But I don't see how they use an early pick going this route with their needs in the trenches and in the secondary.

5) Safety
Speaking of the secondary cornerback isn't the only area of concern. The Lions need to address the safety position. They have some bodies but need an upgrade.

Key Acquisitions
Reggie Bush (RB)
C.J. Mosley (DT)
Glover Quin (S)
Havard Rugland (K)
David Akers (K)
Blake Clingan (P)

No Longer With The Team
Brian Robiskie (WR)
Titus Young (WR)
Jeff Backus (OT)
Gosder Cherilus (OT)
Stephen Peterman (OG)
Cliff Avril (DE)
Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE)
Andre Fluellen (DT)
Sammie Lee Hill (DT)
Jason Jones (DT)
Justin Durant (OLB)
Drayton Florence (CB)
Jason Hanson (K)

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