The Detroit Lions 2012-13 season is one more Sunday away from closing. With only four wins and 11 losses, Detroit has put together another season to forget with not much to look forward to.
Except of course, the NFL draft.
The Lions' front office will have tough decisions to make with 29 free agents and a small cap space, making next year's draft that much bigger. Detroit could lose a big number of players on defense this offseason as well as a hole at right tackle. Considering injuries and age as well, the Lions have other holes in the secondary, defensive line and wide receiver.
General manager Martin Mayhew has had his success with trades and free agency, but hasn't had the best draft history. The roster didn't improve much after the 2011 draft, and the Lions have failed to land or breed late-round gems.
The Lions are currently positioned to draft at No. 5. However, a win next week could move them out the top five, and another loss could move them up the order.
If this team wants to take a step back in the right direction, this upcoming draft is the perfect place to start. Here's a seven-round mock draft for Detroit in 2013.
The Lions will continue to draft the best player available no matter who is in charge. If they choose wisely in the first round, they can address a big need with a special talent.
Detroit needs a consistent, game-wrecking defensive end to complement tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch isn't getting any younger, and Cliff Avril could leave Detroit in search of a better contract.
Athletic and relentless edge rushers like Aldon Smith and J.J. Watt are becoming the staple of a strong defense. The Lions have a chance to land their own game-breaker with their first pick.
Florida State Seminole Bjoern Werner is a perfect fit for Detroit. The 6'4" 255-pounder has been a nightmare for opponents with 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Werner also has active hands in breaking up passes at the line of scrimmage. He's a fairly decent athlete, but excels with his high motor to the quarterback and against the run.
The Lions can land an instant upgrade on the edge with Werner in the lineup. If the defensive line is going to be what keeps this unit strong, Werner can be that anchor Detroit needs.
Throughout all the injuries in the secondary, the Lions surprisingly received decent play from backup safeties Erik Coleman, Don Carey and Ricardo Silva. Even with their contributions, Detroit can use a stable upgrade.
Energetic leader Louis Delmas is listed as a free agent this offseason, but should be brought back on a franchise tag. If Delmas manages to stay healthy, he'll need a counterpart at safety to help boost the secondary.
LSU's Eric Reid is a ballhawk on the field with the ability to lay a big hit as well. Reid was named to the Associated Press All-American Second Team, totaling 81 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up.
It's time for the Detroit Lions to stop neglecting the secondary with inexperienced cornerbacks. General manager needs to add surefire defensive backs who will immediately boost the secondary.
Veteran Chris Houston is set to become a free agent this year, and just about every other defensive back of the Lions has dealt with injuries.
Sixth-round pick Jonte Green has been the only healthy rookie in the Lions secondary, and he's struggled. Fifth-rounder Chris Greenwood missed the entire season with a torn abdominal muscle and third-rounder Bill Bentley's season ended with multiple shoulder injuries.
Washington's Desmond Trufant has been one of the best cornerbacks in the Pac-12. He doesn't have a high number of interceptions, but he plays the pass as well as anybody. Trufant might not become a shutdown player, but he can be a quality nickelback next to Houston.
The Lions' fourth-round pick belongs to the Minnesota Vikings after trading up to draft linebacker Tahir Whitehead last year, and traded their fifth-round pick to Jacksonville for receiver Mike Thomas.
After spending three valuable picks on defense, the Lions can use some help along the offensive line. With former Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus becoming a free agent, a vacancy is created at right tackle. Cherilus hasn't played well enough to earn a new contract and is likely playing his final games a Detroit Lion.
With one former Eagle potentially leaving, another could be walking through the door. Tackle John Wetzel could be a filler on the right side. At 6'8", 302 pounds, Wetzel could be a great plug on the Lions offensive line.
Detroit still seems to be grooming rookie Riley Reiff to take over for Jeff Backus at left tackle. If that pans out to be true, the youth movement along the offensive line should progress with Wetzel in the lineup.
It's been a painful sight watching the Lions scrape to the bottom of the barrel for wide receivers like Brian Robiskie and Kris Durham. That's unfortunately the hand Detroit has been dealt as veteran Nate Burleson (leg) and rookie Ryan Broyles (knee) are away due to injury. The Lions will also more than likely cut ties with distraction Titus Young staying in and out of trouble.
Even as he puts up record numbers, the Lions can't live on force-feeding the ball to superstar Calvin Johnson. Receiver Emory Blake can become another eraser for this Lions' offense.
Instead of always spending high-value picks on receivers, the Lions need to start breeding a Marques Colston or Antonio Brown-type receiver. Blake already has some ability and could be a big boost for quarterback Matthew Stafford if he gradually gets better.