With the first round completed of the NFL draft, there has certainly been a Lion's share of surprises. With guys like D.J. Hayden going in the top 15, and Travis Frederick making the first round, some formerly very promising first-round talents have fallen to Day 2.
Therefore, this article will outline the five best options for Detroit as they look to make their second-round pick.
After taking Ezekiel Ansah with their first-rounder, they are unlikely to be looking for a defensive end with their second-round selection, especially since there are no true studs who have dropped out of the first round. Although they should add another defensive end, the second round is not the place to do it. So, without further ado, I will list the five guys who I think should be on top of the Lions big board going into Day 2 of the 2013 NFL draft.
1. Terron Armstead (OT): Arkansas Pine Bluff
Armstead is the only viable left tackle left in the draft, and for this reason I think he is the best available player when looking at team needs, positional value and talent. Coming from a small school, Armstead is obviously not very battle tested, but he showed at the Senior Bowl that he had the stuff to play in the NFL sooner rather than later.
I do not think that he will be a starter as a rookie, but his insane quickness, upper body strength and length projects perfectly as a pass-protecting left tackle. While he needs to build his overall strength and technique to compete in the NFL, there is no doubt that if he fulfills his potential he will be just as good as Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson.
Armstead would technically be a better fit in a zone-blocking scheme, but in the second round he presents an upside and positional value that rarely make it that far down in the draft. To me, he is the dream pick. Better still is the realization that all the teams picking above the Lions either took an offensive tackle in the first round or have two current tackles locked up long term.
Unless there is a trade, Armstead will be there when the Lions are on the clock.
2. Arthur Brown (LB): Kansas State
Arthur Brown is a player I was sure would be a first-round selection.
While he is short for a linebacker, he showed throughout his college career to be a first-rate playmaker. He has the speed, strength, run-stopping ability and coverage skills to play middle linebacker or outside linebacker in Detroit's 4-3 defense, and he also diagnoses plays better than any other linebacker in the draft.
To me, he is the best traditional linebacker available.
Brown also fills a need as the Lions simply must improve the linebacker position. While Stephen Tulloch was great in 2011, his game regressed last year. Also, the Lions have no established starters at outside linebacker. (I do not see Levy as a good NFL starter.) The only concern I have is whether Brown will struggle in trying to shed blocks from offensive linemen, since this is what the Wide-9 defense requires.
This concern is why he is ranked below Armstead.
3. Quinton Patton (WR): Louisiana Tech
Patton is such a solid wide receiver prospect, and he would really excel beside Calvin Johnson as a secondary wide receiver. While he will not be the sort of game-breaking talent that Justin Hunter or Keenan Allen could turn into, he has the dependability and consistency that a secondary receiver needs.
Patton is a solid athlete who has good quickness, burst off the line and leaping ability. He is not a burner, but he is a very safe prospect. He has excellent hands and can win jump balls or catch passes in traffic. He is a very good route-runner who can get open deep, and he is also a good blocker.
However, the one feature of his game that is very exciting his top-notch ability to beat press coverage. Wherever Megatron lines up, teams are likely to shade their safeties towards him. This means that Patton would often see one-on-one coverage, a lot of press coverage. If he can beat this consistently, he will be able to put up some numbers.
The one challenge with Patton is whether he will fall to the Lions. While I do not think the Philadelphia Eagles will look closely at him, both the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars could target him. However, if he falls, he would be a great addition to the Lions roster.
4. Larry Warford (OG): Kentucky
Warford may look slow and out of shape, but his extra padding is deceptive. While he is not fast covering 40-yards, he has the short-area quickness required to be a guard and the overpowering strength and length to maul in the run game.
Warford is also a solid pass protector. He has long arms to keep pass-rushers at bay, a good technical grounding and the anchor to take away the bull rush. Quick 3-techniques can give him trouble, but on the whole he should not be much worse than Warmack in a power-running scheme.
The Lions also have a need to get better at guard after losing Stephen Peterman in the offseason. While Peterman was never a great guard, he could be counted on to keep his quarterback clean in the pocket. Adding Warford would help ensure that there wouldn't be too much of a drop-off in pass protection while adding more punch to the running game.
5. Jonathan Cyprien (S): Florida International
Cyprien has climbed draft boards since the end of last season, but unlike most players who do this on their ability to run around in underpants, Cyprien has just made people aware of how solid his game tape was.
Cyprien is a modern safety—equally at home coming down to lay hits on ball-carriers and playing deep in a variety of zone looks. He is not blessed with elite speed, but his instincts are great, and they allow him to cover sideline to sideline. Cyprien also is long and quick enough to cover tight ends man to man. He is also a fundamental tackler who hits hard but wraps up, and he can shed blocks to get to the ball.
He is a playmaker similar to Louis Delmas, but without the injury history.
The only reason I have Cyprien at five on this list is because the Lions already have Glover Quin and Delmas signed to play safety for the next two seasons. It would be hard to put one of them on the bench. Fortunately (or not), this dilemma may never come to fruition, since the Kansas City Chiefs, Jaguars and Eagles could all be looking to add him.
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