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Detroit Lions 2013 Draft Preview

11:06 AM, Apr 15, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - A dismal 4-12 season has the Detroit Lions in all too familiar territory, mulling a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft.

The Lions thought they put this kind of thing behind them after a 2011 playoff appearance but things went off the rails pretty quickly last year and it's imperative head coach Jim Schwartz turns things around quickly.

Cleaning up the mental mistakes and all the pre-snap penalties would go a long way in curing the woes of Detroit's talented offense, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, and All-World receiver Calvin Johnson, the second selection in the '07 draft.

Add in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the second pick in the 2010 draft, from the other side of the ball and you see Detroit has far too much experience picking in the top 10 and way too much talent to be doing so again.

This time around the Lions are in the fifth slot and looking at some familiar needs, specifically the offensive line and the secondary.

The team badly needs to solve its tackle situation since right tackle Gosder Cherilus left for Indianapolis in free agency and veteran left tackle Jeff Backus called it quits after a solid 12-year career.

With 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff better suited for the right side it's more than likely the Lions would jump on Central Michigan's Eric Fisher if he lasted to the fifth overall selection. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, although probably not worthy of being picked at No. 5, has also been moving up most draft boards and could be in play. Also don't rule out Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who some consider the best overall player in this draft.

The secondary, even with the return of corner Chris Houston and oft-injured safety Louis Delmas, needs plenty of help and general manager Martin Mayhew is reportedly enamored with Warmack's teammate at Alabama, corner Dee Milliner.

Other needs for Detroit include running back despite ex-Dolphins playmaker Reggie Bush relocating to the Motor City, and wide receiver behind Johnson because Titus Young burned his bridge out of town and both Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson are coming off injuries.

Defensive end is yet another need after left end Cliff Avril relocated to Seattle and veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch was released in February.

2012 Record: 4-12

Top Needs: OT, DE, CB

First Three Picks: No. 5, No. 36, No. 65

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7)

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2012 - Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa); 2011 - Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn); 2010 - Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska), Jahvid Best (RB, California); 2009 - Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia), Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State); 2008 - Gosder Cherilus (OT, Boston College); 2007 - Calvin Johnson (WR, Georgia Tech); 2006 - Ernie Sims (LB, Florida State); 2005 - Mike Williams (WR, USC); 2004 - Roy Williams (WR, Texas), Kevin Jones (RB, Virginia Tech); 2003 - Charles Rogers (WR, Michigan State).

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