5 Reach Picks the Detroit Lions Absolutely Must Avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft

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5 Reach Picks the Detroit Lions Absolutely Must Avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Talent over immediate team needs.

That is the Detroit Lions' draft mantra, as it has been since 2009. The idea behind it is that it's a bad idea to pass over a superior player for an inferior player in an area where the roster happens to be thin.

It's a philosophy that makes sense. People like to get "instant impact starters" out of their drafts, but the reality is the vast majority of players—even first-rounders—won't be very good in their first years. It is rare to find the quality rookie starter, and even they won't be maximally effective until their third or fourth year in the league.

In that sense, then, why draft for need? To fill a starting spot, the answer is not to use a draft pick, which will inevitably take years to get up to speed anyway. By the time those draft picks are fully-developed, consistent starters, the team will have a bunch of new needs.

To illustrate this point, consider: Very few people were calling for the Detroit Lions to take a defensive lineman in 2011. In fact, the defensive line appeared pretty well set from top to bottom. Two years later, the Lions have a massive hole at defensive end, and the only defensive tackles left on the team were they ones they drafted in 2010 and 2011.

And I seem to remember a lot of people in 2011 saying the Lions didn't need a DT. Having an extra DE on the roster from that time wouldn't have hurt anything, either.

So as the Lions draft this year, remember that they're not drafting for this year. They're drafting to fill the spots they may need filled years from now. And as such, here are the players they can't afford to reach for, whether to fill a need or for whatever reason they may be on the board.

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