April has arrived and with the spring season comes the latest look at the Detroit Lions plans for the upcoming NFL draft.
All the talk surrounding the Lions is about the recent marijuana charges involving both DT Nick Fairley and RB Mikel LeShoure.
However, these distractions do not take away from the fact that Detroit has more important issues at hand, namely filling out their roster to compete for the NFC North title this season.
Detroit has serious deficiencies in the secondary and along the offensive line. It will be interesting to see how the front office approaches these areas in the draft, especially after the relatively few new hires made in free agency.
Is there an exact science to predicting what pieces will be added to the Lions roster?
But there are players who fit the Lions' needs throughout the draft board.
So let's put on our proverbial GM suit and mock Detroit's upcoming draft.
Taking an offensive lineman in the first round may bother some Detroit fans as it is not the most exciting route for Lions management to go.
Add in the bust factor of taking a guy like Gosder Cherilus 17th overall back in the 2008 draft and you can understand the frustration.
But this is different management from back then and the offensive line is in desperate need of an overhaul.
Players like Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola have a limited number of snaps left in their bodies, and Stephen Peterman is little more than a pylon for defenders to go around.
Enter Cordy Glenn.
Glenn is a physically imposing monster of a guard at 345 lbs, and his 4.90 40-time at the combine showcased his deceptive athleticism.
This Georgia Bulldog could immediately make an impact along the offensive front and be a fixture on it for the next decade.
The Lions' secondary is clearly a work in progress.
The departure of CB Eric Wright was noteworthy but in the long run may not prove all that detrimental.
Wright is a solid depth player but he was not a viable option opposite Chris Houston in the starting lineup.
Jayron Hosley out of Virginia Tech is a player that could fill that role.
His talent dictates that he is a perfect fit as a nickelback but his aggression and athleticism show tons of room to grow.
Hosley has enough speed to keep up with elite receivers but also will not shy away from run support.
Obviously, one corner is not enough to perfect the secondary, but drafting a talent like Hosley is certainly a step in the right direction.
Ah, another secondary selection in the third round as Detroit grabs Markelle Martin from the clutches of the big board.
He is the top free safety in this draft class and has the type of ball skills that would nicely complement the more hit savvy nature of Lions safety Louis Delmas.
At 6'1", 207 lbs, Martin has the ideal size for the position and he is no slouch when it comes to delivering hits of his own.
Again, the more depth Detroit adds to the defensive backfield in this draft the better, and finding a third-round product that can contribute immediately is always a good thing.
Who is going to be the inevitable replacement for Jeff Backus at left tackle?
This is a question to which Detroit still has at least one season to find an answer, and perhaps the future of Matthew Stafford's blind side could be protected by Matt McCants.
A product of UAB, McCants is not a ready-made NFL prospect but he sure does ooze potential.
A scary word to be sure, but McCants has the type of size (6'6" 308 lbs) and athleticism to be a building block at the next level.
In Detroit he would not be asked to start right away at left tackle, but could dethrone the mediocre Gosder Cherilus along the right side rather quickly if he continues to improve.
McCants has tremendous footwork for his size and if nothing else should develop into a quality starter at the next level.
The Lions went from complete unrest amongst their linebacking corps to relative ease after Stephen Tulloch re-signed with the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
With the trio of DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant remaining intact, Detroit can now shift its focus away from finding a starting linebacker and ensure there is solid depth behind the starters.
A perfect role for potential fifth-round pick Emmanuel Acho.
Acho comes from the storied Texas Longhorns program and brings the kind of versatility and athleticism that would make him a seamless fit in the Lions' defense.
Acho is a solid open-field tackler with the right kind of character and work ethic.
Detroit could do far worse at this point in the draft.
Okay, so Drew Stanton is gone and at some point the Lions need to bring a third QB onto the roster.
Why not take a late-round waiver on Russell Wilson?
He is notably undersized at his listed 5'11", but his strong arm and accuracy are among the best in this draft class.
In fact, Wilson had the highest passing efficiency (191.78 QB rating) in the nation in 2011.
If the Wisconsin Badger remains on the board at pick No. 219 then there is no reason for the Lions to pass him up.
Another CB to go along with Jayron Hosley and FS Markelle Martin only highlights how much the Lions truly need to address the secondary.
Instead of utilizing any picks on some kind of versatile tailback, with their final pick I see Detroit making a statement in the defensive backfield.
Harris is an ideal kick/punt returner with the kind of solid cover corner skills that could serve him well in the NFL.
His character issues are well-known, but in the seventh round teams can afford to take on that risk in the name of exceptional talent.
Something Harris has no shortage of.