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Lions' second draft pick extremely important

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Posted March 19, 2010 @ 2:50 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

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.

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