2010 NFL Draft Preview - Detroit Lions

2009 record: 2-14
Key additions: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DT Corey Williams, WR Nate Burleson, CB Jonathan Wade, LB Landon Johnson
Unrestricted free agents: QB Daunte Culpepper, QB Patrick Ramsey, CB Phillip Buchanon, TE Casey FitzSimmons, OG Manny Ramirez, OT Jon Jansen, CB Will James, S Ko Simpson

Next, we have the Detroit Lions. They followed up their unepic 0-16 campaign with a whopping two wins. The franchise has been pathetic for as long as any of us can remember. Not all is lost, however. The 2009 draft was great. Matthew Stafford showed enough talent, toughness and leadership that fans have a reason to think he is the future and the real deal. Brandon Pettigrew did not have eye popping stats, although he is a good blocker and receiver, and could be a future pro bowler. Louis Delmas was a stud as a rookie, and is probably the Lions best defensive player. DeAndre Levy was third on the team in tackles. The Lions need another draft or two like that one if they expect to keep getting better. They still have a very long road ahead of them.

1. Defensive line. Tackles or ends, take your pick. The Lions allowed an unheard of 31 points per game, and it all started with the pitiful line. They could not sack anyone and could not stop the run. Part of the reason the secondary was so bad was because of the front four. They added Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams in the off season, but those players are most likely stop gaps at best. Luckily for the Lions, there is elite tackle help and they will be able to draft a stud at the position if they so choose.

2. Secondary. Let's not let the secondary off the hook. Sure, the line did not help, but the cornerbacks were simply miserable, as no team had a worse effort at stopping the pass. The Lions are seriously interested in Pacman Jones, all you need to understand about this group. 265 yards passing per game and only nine interceptions. Ouch. Phil Buchanon was cut, Will James left, leaving only feeble veterans Anthony Henry and DeMarcus Faggins at the position. They did add Jonathan Wade, but any time you add a cornerback from a team with a secondary just as bad as yours, that is not a good sign. Delmas cannot do it all alone.

3. Offensive line.
Especially guard. The Lions would like to find a franchise left tackle and move Jeff Backus inside. They probably would have been better off taking Michael Oher instead of Pettigrew last year, but it's too late for that. Gosder Cherilus has not developed as hoped.

4. Running back. I love Kevin Smith. I am an Orlando guy and always root for UCF players. But the fact is the guy has shown he is not a starting running back. He lacks the speed to excel in today's game, and is not strong enough to be a pile moving bull. He is simply mediocre at every facet of the game. Speed is the name of today's NFL.

5. Everything else. I mean really, the Lions just have holes all over the place. They need a legit receiver opposite Calvin Johnson, even though Nate Burleson will help. They need more linebacker depth. Ernie Sims has really fallen off, Larry Foote will leave as a free agent, Julian Peterson is grossly overpaid and Jordan Dizon has been a monster bust.

First round possibilities.

DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska. No brainer for the Lions. They have done a good job at taking best player available the last few years. They need to do so again. They have Sammie Lee Hill, another find from their great '09 draft, and recent signing Corey Williams. But adding Suh to that group would really elevate the defense. He is a monster playmaker and a difference maker at the most important position on defense. He will instantly become the Lions best pass rusher and player. There really should not be any other options, however....

OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma St. If they really want to protect their investment, they will opt to go with Okung. It is something to think about. Stafford cannot be as good as he can be if he is lying on his back all game. Okung will allow Backus to kick inside and improve the entire line.

Second round possibilities.

OG Mike Iupati, Idaho.
I really do not think Iupati will fall out of the first round. He is the best guard prospect to come around in a while. But if he does, the Lions will take him, no questions asked.

RB Jahvid Best, California. Like I said earlier, speed is the name of the game. Everyone wants to find their Chris Johnson. The Lions have not had anyone worth half of a damn since the legend retired. Best could be quite a weapon given 10 to 15 touches a game.

CB Kyle Wilson, Boise St, Devin McCourty, Rutgers, Patrick Robinson, Florida St., Kareem Jackson, Alabama. If the Lions want to add cornerback depth this early, they should heve their pick of one of the many players who will be available at the position.

In review, the Lions had a tremendous '09 draft. They added five starters. Another draft like that is really needed if the Lions are expected to continue to improve. There is still a very long road ahead for Detroit.

With the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select... 


DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska

Jonathan Carrano

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