The first of which is his ability to extend the contracts of current defensive playmakers Cliff Avril, Stephen Tulloch and Eric Wright.
I believe that both Stephen Tulloch and Eric Wright will be retained, but as much as it pains me to say this, I don’t believe that Cliff Avril will.
When Avril hits the open market, his asking price will be too high for a team extending the contract of superstar WR Calvin Johnson.
The second is the free agency process itself.
For instance, the Lions would be less apt to look for a defensive back in the top of the draft if they were able to bring in a starting-caliber player like former Pro Bowl DB Courtland Finnegan via free agency.
Regardless, if either LSU CB Morris Claiborne or North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins are available at 23rd overall, they need to act.
Other significant aspects to the draft preparation include the Senior Bowl, prospect pro-days, and the NFL combine.
All of which have yet to take place.
Recent history demonstrates Detroit’s desire to trade down later in the draft–ultimately placing a higher significance on the players selected in the top-end of the draft.
With that in mind, here is an early look at my vision of Detroit’s first three-rounds come April.
Here is a more in-depth look at my prospective first-rounder for Detroit.
Weight: 315 Lbs.
Pre-Combine 40: 5.58
Though his decision to declare for the 2012 draft came as a surprise to some, you won't be hard-pressed to find a serviceable amount of game footage of Konz dominating as only a Junior.
He is widely considered to be the best center-prospect in the 2012 draft, a position of need for the Detroit Lions.
But if either Stanford-prospect David DeCastro or Jonathan Martin are available, I envision Detroit electing the guard or tackle over the talented center.
Still, Konz would be an excellent consolation prize if available at 23rd overall.
Position: Defensive End
Weight: 265 Lbs.
Pre-Combine 40: 4.66
Watching film on the former Marshall standout I noticed two things: explosion and execution.
Throughout his college career, all Curry has done is get bigger, stronger and faster.
His draft stock is on the rise, and if it goes much higher there is a strong possibility that he’ll be gone by the time Detroit gets on the clock in round-two.
Curry’s 2011 statistics read 74 tackles and 11 sacks.
His sack total was good for the sixth-most in the nation, an incredible feat, considering the senior faced consistent double-teams.
If and when Avril makes his departure, Detroit will have to take a hard look at addressing the defensive end position.
The play of former first-round pick Lawrence Jackson and the strong upside of Willie Young have made Cliff Avril expendable.
But the age of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Detroit’s desire to infuse fresh players in and out of their lineup throughout a given game has made building around the defensive line paramount.
Detroit could address this need via free agency, a guy like Tennessee's Jason Jones fits Coach Schwartz' mold.
But Vinny Curry would be a huge steal if available to Detroit in round-two.
School: Michigan State
Weight: 193 Lbs.
Pre-Combine 40: 4.53
Detroit's inability to field a healthy corps of safeties in 2011 was integral in my decision to select the Michigan State senior-safety here.
Taking a safety whose speed you know is guaranteed to be tested at the NFL level is a chance you're willing to take when that safety shows exceptional ball-skill/run-stopping ability.
Investing in Trenton Robinson shows an investment in the community.
Robinson is from Bay City, Michigan and has been a lifelong Lions fan. He has even been recently quoted saying that if drafted by Detroit, "I can put on for my city, my state."
Realistically speaking, I don't envision Chris Harris' services retained by the Lions.
Going forward it looks like it'll be Delmas, Spievey and Coleman heading into 2012.
Detroit would be wise to make a play for the Washington Redskins' game-changing, hard-hitting safety, LaRon Landry.
If that doesn't work, draft the local kid.