In the first round, the Lions took full advantage of a top prospect falling to them by drafting offensive tackle Riley Reiff from Iowa. However, this is just the start of the drafting process, and the Lions need to also nail day two of the draft if they want this to be another great draft for Martin Mayhew.
The Lions still have some needs to address, like their defensive secondary, the right guard spot and defensive end. However, there are still plenty of talented players at those positions, so the odds remain good that Detroit will continue to add difference makers today.
Here we go, a trade. The Lions did not do any trading in the first round after a bunch of talented offensive linemen fell to them, but they will be looking to add more picks on day two. Therefore, without a whole lot of value likely to fall to them in the second round, they will look to move backwards.
One team who is likely to want to move up is the Miami Dolphins. They have two early third round picks, but with plenty of team needs like a top wide receiver for Ryan Tannehill to throw to, and some pieces for their new 4-3 defense, they need to get more high picks. Given the quality of defensive end talent still on the table, the Dolphins will probably wait on a wide receiver, but when Alshon Jeffery, Reuben Randle, Stephen Hill or Mohamed Sanu falls to the second half of the second round, the Dolphins will be looking to trade up.
The Lions would be willing to move down, and so in return for the Dolphins two third round picks (No. 9 and 10, respectively), Detroit would give up their second rounder and a third rounder from next year.
While moving back, the Lions will still be able to take the second best cornerback left. Jamell Fleming has not drawn much interest from NFL teams because of his poor 40-yard dash and lack of real name appeal, but he is a solid player who should be able to start in some form during his rookie season. He is very fluid, has good burst to the ball when it is in the air and his instincts in zone are top notch. He is also a good tackler with developing press skills. However, his technique is unpolished and he lacks the deep speed to really wow teams. These flaws will keep him out of the second round, but are generally fixable.
While Fleming is not on the level of the first round cornerbacks, he does have the skills to develop into a starter sooner rather than later. He is an underrated player, and in the third round should be one of the steals of the draft.
With the second pick that the Lions traded for, they will select another sleeper, Brandon Brooks. I was not sure if he would make it out of the second round, but after David DeCastro fell all the way to the 24th pick of the draft, it was obvious that teams are not giving the position a great deal of importance. However, with Stephen Peterman the incumbent at right guard, the Lions need to get a long-term solution in this draft.
Brooks was not even at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he had one of the most impressive workouts of anyone at his pro day. At 340 lbs, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds, bench pressed 225 lbs 33 times and was as good as Dontari Poe in every major category. He also showed his stuff at the East-West Shrine game, where he was by far the best player on the field.
Brooks is a massive guard who can overpower opponents in the run game and create huge lanes for his running back. Also, he is surprisingly agile in pass protection, and together with his bulk this makes him a very hard man to beat to the quarterback. He needs more refinement to his technique, but his athleticism and potential makes this a great pick.
Although the Lions will want to replace Peterman sooner rather than later, Brooks may not be ready in his rookie season. However, he will certainly be able to start in his second season, and be a dominant guard in the mold of Carl Nicks early in his career.
With the Lions natural third round pick, they will look to improve depth at defensive end. Kyle Vanden Bosch is on his last legs, and the future of Cliff Avril in Detroit is looking shaky. Therefore, a developmental player like Crawford is a perfect pick for the future in a very important position.
Crawford is an elite run defender who can contain with his long arms, seal the edge and drive offensive tackles backwards with his power. While he is a very raw player when it comes to rushing the passer, he has the athleticism to become a eight sack guy at the next level who can beat offensive tackles inside and outside, especially once he develops some strong pass-rush moves.
Crawford will not play much in his rookie season because of his lack of experience, but could have a role as a specialist run stopper to spell players like Willie Young. However, from his second season on I would expect him to play a major role in the Lions defensive line rotation from both defensive end positions.