Season Review: Unlike their NFC North counterparts picking ahead of them, the Lions had an incredibly successful season- they are steadily climbing up from picking first overall two years ago after finishing 0-16.  More importantly, they are getting out from the shadow of the Matt Millen disaster, and assembling a strong team.  Detroit put up strong showing in nearly every game, weathering injuries to Matt Stafford as best they could.  They were robbed right from the start by a horrible rule that would have given them a victory over Chicago, and you have to think the whole season changed because of that non-touchdown (possibly making Green Bay the division winners and knocking Chicago out of the playoffs entirely).  At the end of it all, a 6-10 finish is great progress for the Lions, and a solid draft will go a long way for them.

Detroit will have no shortage of options for protecting Matt Stafford

Needs: Despite the positive signs for the future, they are still a few pieces away.  Jahivd Best proved to be a solid back, but depth behind him is questionable.  Cornerback is a disaster, and a pass rusher to replace Julian Peterson and compliment Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh is also needed.  Perhaps their most pressing need is along the offensive line, with Stafford’s health being somewhat suspect, the less hits he takes, the better.

What They Should Do: Given the needs they have, and the fact that none of them are make-or-break picks, Detroit is in the enviable position of being able to take the best player available.  Offensive Linemen Anthony Castanzo of Boston College and Tyron Smith of USC, widely regarded as the top to linemen in the draft, will both likely be available, and look for Nate Solder of Colorado to climb draft boards.  Given the plethora of defensive linemen in the draft, Detroit might be best served waiting, given that the best pass rushers will be long gone by the time their pick comes, but a slip from a player like Aldon Smith (OLB, Missouri) would certainly not be a bad pick.  Finally, there will be solid cornerback options available in Brandon Harris (Florida), Jimmy Smith (Colorado) and Aaron Williams (Texas).  My completely gut-feeling guess is that the pick here is O-line, probably Castanzo, but I could also see it being Solder.

Advertisements