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Detroit Lions Needs: Pre-Draft

Corey Brewer
The Lions finished the 2015 season with a 7-9 record and blew up the front office. With a new general manager in place and the draft picks to spare, the Lions are primed for a great draft. | Photo Credit: CBS Detroit

Detroit Lions Pre-Draft Team Needs

After a disappointing 2015 season, where the team failed to make the playoffs, the Detroit Lions hired a new general manager in Bob Quinn. Quinn and the Detroit front office will have to make a statement with the plethora of draft picks the team has in the upcoming NFL Draft. In addition to the normal slate of picks, the team was awarded two compensatory draft picks, including a third rounder for the loss of Ndamukong Suh in free agency. The Lions also have two picks in the fifth and sixth rounds.


1. Offensive Tackle

The Detroit Lions running game ranked dead last in the NFL throughout the 2015 season. Although much of that result could be attributed to the lackluster running back room, the offensive line did not help. Matt Stafford also felt his fair share of pressure during the season. The franchise quarterback was sacked 44 times.

The best way to build an offensive line is through the draft. The Lions are sitting at the 16th overall pick and could be in the running for a top-off-the-line book end tackle. Ohio State’s Taylor Decker and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin would both be great fits in the middle of the first round.

Detroit could also add extra offensive line depth towards the middle to later rounds. Some potential targets there could be, Le'Raven Clark of Texas Tech, Shon Coleman of Auburn and Cole Toner out of Harvard

2. Wide Receiver

The Lions lost one of the NFL’s best wide receiver of the modern era when Calvin Johnson retired suddenly following the 2015 season. Detroit followed up by signing former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones to a massive 5-Year deal. Yet, neither Jones nor Lions receiver Golden Tate have what it takes to be a true number one receiver, so the Lions would be smart to target a player in the upcoming draft to fill the void.

At that 16th spot TCU’s Josh Doctson and Ohio State’s Michael Thomas would be the best value, but the second and third round is deep with receiver talent as well. Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell has fallen down many draft boards for the lack of speed shown during workouts. Also, Baylor leading receiver Corey Coleman would give the Lions a speedy downfield target.

3. Defensive Tackle

The loss of Ndamukong Suh last offseason left the Detroit defensive line with some big shoes to fill. Free agent acquisition Haloti Ngata underwhelmed big time, and may not be with the team next season.

Jarran Reed out of Alabama would be an ideal pick in the first round, as well as rising star Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. This draft is loaded with interior defensive line depth, so the Lions will definitely need to take advantage.

Some names to look for during the middle rounds would be, Jihad Ward of Illinois, Maliek Collins out of Nebraska and Austin Johnson of Penn State.


Corey Brewer is a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. For more NFL and NFL draft coverage, follow @BrewerIPA on Twitter.

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Taylor Decker would be a great selection for the Lions. Personally, I think he's a better run-blocker than he is a pass-blocker. He needs to have a wider base and spread his feet placement out a bit more. Too many times, defensive ends would slip through the gap when he was stepping out to punch the outside rusher. If he spread his base out, he could leave a little obstacle for the defensive line (I'm nitpicking here). 

Decker can play both sides of the line, is what draft reports are saying. This would be greatly beneficial because he's a puzzle piece that can fit anywhere. Detroit still has a solid running back stable. They just need guys who can keep their feet pumping and drive their assignment all the way out, which is what Decker can do. 

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I agree that the offensive tackle position has to be #1 on the Lions list of priorities. Although there were some improvements towards the end of the season, what truly speaks volumes is the fact the Lions were last in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 83.

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41 minutes ago, Richard Kagan said:

Lions need to draft a talented receiver who can stretch the field.

With Johnson, they'll likely go for one in the first, but they have many other needs as well.

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