Detroit Lions: Keys to Rebuilding

Zac HerrContributor IJanuary 21, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 27:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers passes for a touchdown past Dewayne White #99 of the Detroit Lions during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 27, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Lions are quite possibly the worst football team of the modern era. They have not won a playoff game since the early '90s and currently have lost 20 straight games on the road. They had the historic season in 2008, when they went 0-16, the first time an NFL team had pulled off this illusive feat.

The road to rebuilding the Lions is a long and winding one, but not impossible to navigate. They have one of the premier wideouts already in Calvin Johnson and have a solid core developing around young QB Matthew Stafford. If Stafford can learn to keep the interceptions down and manage games better, the team will benefit tremendously.

There are still many problems with the Lions, and there is no clear way to fix them. Detroit needs a clear plan and the will to execute it. They seem to finally have a coach in Jim Schwartz who understands the importance of defense.

The best way to start the Lions' recovery is through the draft. With the No. 2 overall pick this spring, they are in position for a strong draft. They clearly need to address the defense and fill the gaping holes on both the offensive and defensive lines.

The best situation possible for the Lions is to have Ndamukong Suh fall to them. This isn't out of the realm of possibility because the Rams have a glaring hole at QB and their are numerous skilled players (Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy) that play the position.

If this situation isn't possible, then the Lions should attempt to trade the pick away. Detroit needs a lot of young skilled players rather than one dominant one. If they could trade their first pick for one later in the round and an early second round pick, they could potentially pick up an offensive lineman and defensive lineman. 

Obviously the draft will not help the Lions at all if they decide to waste the draft with Matt Millen-like picks. They need another running back to compliment Kevin Smith and a better offensive line. They don't need to draft another WR such as Dez Bryant, or another tight end.

If the Lions manage the draft well they should be able to add four to five wins next year. But if they screw it up...well they are looking at another year as the joke of the pro sports world.

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