Through recent years, the Detroit Lions have achieved their success with obvious picks like wide receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. In this upcoming draft, the Lions will be selecting with the No. 5 pick. However, with a weak draft class and numerous holes in the roster, their 2013 selection won't be so obvious this time around.
General manager Martin Mayhew expressed his interest in adding defensive playmakers in early January. The Lions will keep their best available draft theory, but look for Detroit to address a need with their first selection.
Mayhew should be on the hot seat this year after a less than impressive draft record. Here are the top five players on the Detroit's draft board in order.
Odds are slim on the Lions bringing free agent Gosder Cherilus back at right tackle. Veteran left tackle Jeff Backus turns 36 in September and could be a cap casualty this offseason. Young tackle Riley Reiff will compete to start on either side, but the Lions could use another tackle in the mix.
Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan was rated as a top-10 player until he decided to return for his senior season in early January. With Lewan returning to school, monster tackle Eric Fisher will shoot up the draft boards.
Luke Joeckel is the top rated tackle on many draft boards, and for good reason. Joeckel created a great name for himself providing superb protection for former Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
Joeckel could be gone by the time Detroit picks. The Philadephia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs all need help at tackle and will take a long look at Joeckel. If he's available at No. 5, however, Detroit will be forced to consider drafting him.
Cornerback free agent Chris Houston is entering free agency this offseason, rookies Bill Bentley and Chris Greenwood are recovering from season-ending injuries and Jonte Green is not a full-time starter. The Lions still need help in their secondary.
Alabama's Dee Milliner could help answer that problem. The All-American is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 rated cornerback, and is physically gifted at 6'2", 200 pounds.
The Lions need a corner who doesn't constantly get lost in coverage. Milliner isn't an interception specialist after only picking off two passes this season, but he's physical at the line and quick enough to match up with receivers.
After releasing veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch, plus possibly losing free agent Cliff Avril this summer, the Lions will be in the hunt for new pass-rushers.
Defensive end Damontre Moore has experience as a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end. Moore racked up 12.5 sacks, 85 tackles and 21 for loss last season. These junior year numbers earned him second-team All-American honors.
Moore's versatility as an edge rusher helps him stand out. He's got great speed and power off the line. Lions tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley draw extra attention on a regular basis. A talent like Moore can take advantage of one-on-one battles with offensive tackles.
The most fitting option for the Lions' first-round pick is defensive end Bjoern Werner. The Florida State standout is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end with an intense motor.
Werner totaled 13 sacks in his final season as a Seminole. He's played both sides of the line as a defensive end. Werner is a decent athlete with good speed and quality size to create havoc for NFL quarterbacks.
Werner has many similarities to former Lion Kyle Vanden Bosch. Both are relentless edge rushers who excel against the pass as well as the run. If Werner continues to polish his technique off the line, he'll give the Lions' defensive line the boost they certainly need.