With the NFL Draft finally upon us, now is the perfect time to take a look at our beloved Lions, and which players they might draft. Buoyed by a late season run that saw the Lions win their last 4 games — including a rare road win against the resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers — most fans are eager to see the Lions take the next step. In order to do so, they will need to continue make wise decisions on draft day. But before we discuss potential draft picks, let’s take a look at their needs.
Despite all of the injuries (Stafford, Hill, Best) on offense, the Lions were actually respectable. Where the offense needs to improve is upfront. The Lions were not particularly strong in the running game, due in large part to inconsistency at the interior line positions. As a team, the Lions were the second-most penalized team in the league and the offensive line was responsible for their fair share. What’s more, left tackle Jeff Backus is getting up there in years (34), which means that the Lions will need to find his replacement. At tailback, the Lions are one short with the recent release of Kevin Smith.
The Lions hit a home run when they drafted defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. As a rookie, Suh earned several accolades, including All-Pro honors. Besides Suh, end Cliff Avril, and tackles Corey Williams and Sammie Hill helped make the defensive line the Lions’ best unit. In fact, the Lions ranked 6th in the NFL in sacks, due to the strong performance of the defensive front. Unfortunately, there are holes just about everywhere else. The defense struggled against the run, despite having a dominant line. This was due in large part to the fact that their linebacker unit was pretty weak; especially on the outside. Their pass defense was helped greatly by the pressure they were able to bring up front, but they still need help at corner.
NEEDS IN ORDER OF PRIORITY
- Outside Linebacker
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive End (Kyle Vanden Bosch is 34 years old)
Tomorrow I’ll discuss a few players that the Lions should draft to address these needs.