2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Detroit Lions Should Consider Drafting First

Matt Buck@@BR_MattBuckCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Detroit Lions Should Consider Drafting First

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    The 2012 NFL draft is still months away, but fans are already buzzing about who the Detroit Lions could take with their first-round draft pick.

    While Detroit's biggest needs are in the secondary and the offensive line, that may not be where the team goes if there are better players available at different positions.

    Obviously, this list doesn't mean Detroit will be able to choose between these five players. As we've seen in drafts before, it is not an exact science predicting which franchise will take which player. There are bound to be a few surprises.

    However, the following is a list of five players that Detroit should definitely consider drafting in the upcoming NFL draft.

Dre Kirkpatrick, DB, Alabama

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    The Upside

    No one can deny that Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick is a solid athlete. If drafted by Detroit, he'd probably be the team's best defensive back instantly.

    His 40-time isn't amazing—it's around a 4.5—but he's still speedy enough to keep up with most NFL receivers.

    Where he really excels is in run defense. He is probably one of the top run-stopping defensive backs in the NFL draft.

    His instincts are stellar as well. He has a nose for the football and can see the entire field really well.


    The Downside

    It seems as though Kirkpatrick associates himself with some bad dudes. He's already had run-ins with the law for drug possession. This has caused many teams to pass on him, as without his troubled history he may be a top-10 draft pick.

    On the field, he can be beat by receivers, especially on deep routes. His lack of speed may be a reason for this.


    The Outlook

    If Detroit had Kirkpatrick fall to them, they'd have a tough time passing him up. On a defense filled with swagger, Dre would fit in quite nicely.

    However, there's a decent chance he'll be picked up by Cincinnati, a team that seemingly does not mind picking up players who have questionable character issues.

Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

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    The Upside

    Dont'a Hightower is one of the better athletes in the draft. Like Kirkpatrick, he was one of the biggest reasons for the success of 'Bama's defense in 2011. At 260 pounds, Hightower still runs a 40 around 4.65 seconds. 

    Hightower is a very aggressive player, something that the Lions could use to complement their defensive line. He plays the game in a very intelligent way and is excellent at shedding blocks from offensive lineman.


    The Downside

    You cannot overlook his knee injury in 2009. While that's hardly a history of injuries, it is something to consider when drafting an inside linebacker, especially since players at that position use a lot of power in the lower half of the body.

    His combine performance will go a long way in determining where he'll end up. If not for the injury, Hightower would probably be a top-10 pick. Because of the knee injury though, he could slide down to Detroit.


    The Outlook

    While Detroit's biggest need is not at linebacker, if Hightower is available when Detroit is up to pick, the Lions would have a hard time passing up such a talent.

Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

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    The Upside

    At 6'8" and 320 pounds, Ohio State's Mike Adams definitely passes the eye test as far as being a top-tier offensive tackle.

    As far as his play itself, Adams has excellent footwork for a guy his size. This allows him to play either side of the offensive line and strengthens his ability to run-block well.

    He has an excellent frame that allows him to provide great pass-blocking, making him an ideal candidate for a left tackle position.


    The Downside

    Ever hear the story about the whole tattoo thing at OSU? Adams was a part of that. This might cause him to slip down the draft boards a bit, although this slide might be unearned. 

    The fact is, Adams is still a kid. Every kid makes mistakes, and his were just nationally publicized.

    Sometimes he struggles with keeping up with the defensive end pass-rush and occasionally loses his assignments.


    The Outlook

    Adams would be an excellent upgrade on the offensive line for Detroit. Jeff Backus is well past his prime, and inserting Adams would allow Backus to move to right tackle.

Janoris Jenkins, DB, North Alabama

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    The Upside

    There's little doubt that Janoris Jenkins is a first-round talent.

    Jenkins makes up for his smaller stature by being very quick, and he has a great eye for the football. His speed is above average, and he's probably the quickest defensive player in the draft.

    Jenkins is extremely aggressive when the ball is in the air, which masks his smaller stature a bit.

    Although he is a high-risk/high-reward player, Jenkins could have the most potential of any defensive back in the draft.


    The Downside

    Jenkins' biggest problems are off the field. He's been arrested on multiple occasions, leading to his dismissal from the University of Florida.

    The character flaws are something that Detroit needs to consider. With a team that already has one big questionable character (see: Suh), the last thing Detroit would want is a player like Adam "Pacman" Jones, who had his share of legal troubles.

    On the field, his only real flaw is his press coverage. Because of his size, he's not the best at defending in man coverage, especially against a larger receiver.


    The Outlook

    Detroit drafting Janoris Jenkins would be a huge risk for the team. While he has the potential to be one of the better corners in the league, he also has the potential to fizzle out like Jones did.

    While Jenkins has the highest ceiling of anyone on this list, he also has the chance to be one of the biggest busts.

Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

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    The Upside

    Georgia's Cordy Glenn is basically a tackle that can play guard really well. He's a giant, so his presence in the middle of the O-line would be great for a running game that should include Mikel Leshoure next season.

    If you watched SEC football last season, you'd probably know that Glenn can overpower anyone at the college level. He's not the prototypical guard that many NFL teams are looking for now—someone who is smaller and fast—but he definitely provides a lot of size to the offensive line.


    The Downside

    As mentioned before, Glenn overpowered players at the college level.

    He won't be able to do that in the NFL. Because he never had to really worry about his mechanics, they're going to be pretty rusty going into his rookie season. His footwork is something that will definitely need to be worked on.

    Although he's probably the second-best guard in the draft, he'll slip a little because of the value (or lack thereof) placed on interior linemen.


    The Outlook

    Detroit's offensive line would see an instant improvement with the addition of Glenn, especially in the running game. However, his lack of speed and quickness could do some harm for a pass-blocking squad that already isn't all that great.