Overview: You have to turn back the clock to 1992 to find the last time the Lions were drafting this late in Round One. Detroit, which holds the No. 23 overall pick, has most of its starting spots locked up, as a vast majority of players from last year’s wild-card entrant are slated to return. The pass defense, which fell apart late in the season, is the most pressing concern for Jim Schwartz’s club. The Lions' depth, while exceptional along the defensive line and solid overall, figures to be bolstered with a few members of this draft class, too. Overall, Detroit has seven picks, having forfeited a sixth-round pick as part of a penalty for tampering with a Chiefs player in February 2010 and having picked up a seventh-round pick from Seattle in the 2010 trade of OT Tyler Polumbus.
Need No. 1: Cornerback
The secondary was a concern even before CB Eric Wright signed with Tampa Bay. The Lions are set at one of the CB spots, as Chris Houston is a solid starter. But uncertainty reigns at the other spot. Aaron Berry, ex-Colt Jacob Lacey and Alphonso Smith are among the veteran options to replace Wright. However, this is a position where a rookie could come in and challenge for playing time right off the bat.
Need No. 2: Offensive tackle
The Lions have their starters for 2012 in the fold, with stalwart Jeff Backus on the left side and 2008 first-rounder Gosder Cherilus manning the right side. However, Backus is coming off a torn biceps and turns 35 years old in September. Also. Cherilus is entering the final year of his contract. A young tackle, one capable of backing up on both sides and potentially having the ability to play some guard, too, would be a nice addition to the depth chart.
Need No. 3: Running back
The Lions are a pass-first offense, but more RB depth would not be a bad idea with Jahvid Best (concussion) and Mikel Leshoure (Achilles) coming off injury-shortened seasons. Best and Leshoure figure to be the top two backs if healthy, and veteran Kevin Smith also stands a chance to be a contributor after a productive stint in 2011. The Lions don’t necessarily need to add a back early, what with other needs more pressing, but the more capable ballcarriers in Detroit, the better, considering last year’s injury woes.