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There is no question that what the Lions do with their first pick, No. 2 overall, will have a lot to say about the overall success of their draft haul. But their second choice, No. 34, very well could be a starter and a key contributor. After all, Louis Delmas, their second-round pick a year ago, was the most consistent Lions rookie in 2009 — a player head coach Jim Schwartz thinks will be a leader for years to come.
By addressing several needs — defensive end, wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle — during the free-agency period, the team has made the choice easier in one way. Although Schwartz has said that "talent" remains their biggest need, the team won't feel compelled to reach for a certain player at a need position.
But if you're looking for a few directions in which the team could go at No. 34, some bigger needs remain at a few key spots. First, despite the additions of Jonathan Wade and Chris Houston at cornerback, the team still lacks a No. 1 shutdown option there. Running back also stands as a big hole with Kevin Smith coming off ACL surgery and few options behind him. And the offensive line, assuming the team can't find its man in free agency — UFA Chester Pitts left town without signing a deal — remains a sore spot.
Any of those positions could be addressed. The team also could go after another position if a player unexpectedly falls out of the first round. And that brings up an interesting wrinkle: With the new format of the draft, with only 32 picks on Day One, the Lions could field several calls overnight for what will be a very valuable pick early on Day Two. Although the Rams will pick ahead of them, the Lions could find a player still on the board when they pick who has little value to them but one who garners exceptional interest to another club — for example, Texas QB Colt McCoy in what appears to be a thin draft at that position.
Trading down remains a very intriguing option that could give the Lions more picks and perhaps allow them to capitalize on the depth of this year's draft crop.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.