If there is a silver lining to the Detroit Lions' miserable 2012 season, it might be that last year's draft class cannot be blamed for the failure. No one can say any of them were bad picks because the Lions returned nearly every starter from the year before.
The rookies barely played.
Dwight Bentley was the only one to begin the season as a starter, and he was lost in Week 4 after injuring his shoulder. Riley Reiff and Ryan Broyles showed promise—but not consistently.
Following last year's draft, ESPN's draft guru Mel Kiper gave the Lions a B grade for their efforts. One could argue that should be downgraded now simply because none of their rookies had much of an impact at all.
In 2013, that will change. The Lions roster will be overhauled due to free agency. Starting spots will open up, and last year's rookies will have an opportunity to make an impact on Sundays.
Here are realistic expectations for the Lions' 2012 rookie class next season.