2011 NFL Mock Draft: What Are The Detroit Lions Top Needs?
The Detroit Lions appear to be decent for the first time in years half way through the 2010 season. Following several years of excellent drafting, in April 2011, the Lions can really address the last of their needs required before the playoffs seem realistic.
Over the last three drafts, Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril, Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, Louis Delmas, Ndamukong Suh, and Jahvid Best have all been brought in and have all contributed to the inclining success of the organization.
The secondary for Detroit has been brutal for the last couple of seasons.
Louis Delmas has been a great player, and Alphonso Smith has stepped up big, but an elite corner is needed to bolster the improved defense.
If available in the 1st Round, it would be assumed that either LSU's Patrick Peterson or Nebraska's Prince Amukamara would have to be the pick.
Both players would be great for Detroit because with Ndamukong Suh on the line, the run-defense will become elite and if either of these corners fall, the pass-defense could also become elite.
The Lions offensive line really has not been all that bad.
Ranking 16th in QB hits, and 7th in sacks allowed, some may disagree with improving the line being as high of a priority as listed.
However, when you invest your No.1 overall pick and $41.7 Million in garunteed money into a Quarterback and he gets injured in both of his first two seasons, clearly you need to find a player who can truly protect your QB.
The Lions should look to the Second Round at prospects such as Mike Pouncey of Florida or Stefen Wisniewski of Penn State to bolster up the line and protect Matthew Stafford.
After trading former 1st Round pick, Ernie Sims, to Philadelphia, the Line-backing core has not been a strong spot for the defense.
Julian Peterson is 32, and there will be a very large whole in the OLB slot. Second year player DeAndre Levy has been solid thus far in his career, but another starter will soon be a need.
With a Draft Class full of 2nd and 3rd Round LB prospects, this would be a great time for Detroit to snag a starter for the near future.
Michigan State's Greg Jones or Alabama's Dont'a Hightower would both be solid 2nd or 3rd Round picks, or perhaps if Texas A&M's Von Miller's stock continues to decline they could land him in the 2nd Round.
Good Pass-Rushing is a skill that no team in this league can have enough of.
Detroit brought in veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch who was a favorite of Coach Jim Schwartz during his time in Tennessee. Cliff Avril has also been a solid starter since being drafted in 2008.
However, if a skilled player such as Sam Acho from Texas drops to the late 3rd or early 4th Round, I would expect Detroit to select him.
Acho could be the replacement of Vanden Bosch, and also would be a steal if he fell this low.
Replacement Of Jason Hanson
Long time Lion, Jason Hanson is 40 years old, and it may be time for the Lions to consider finding his successor.
Hanson has still been kicking pretty well, but he can't be the kicker forever, and the Lions will have to eventually move on.
UCLA's Kai Forbath is the best prospect, and the Lions could snatch him with a 5th or 6th Round pick come April. Forbath would be excellent for Detroit for many years such as Hanson has been.