If ever there were a team that needed to coach the Senior Bowl, the Detroit Lions fit the bill. The Lions, named to coach the South team on Thursday, have many decisions to make in free agency with DE Cliff Avril, FS Louis Delmas, CB Chris Houston, OLBs DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant, PK Jason Hanson, DE Corey Williams and ORT Gosder Cherilus all able to test the market. Also, GM Martin Mayhew has reportedly said he’s not planning on using the franchise tag as he did a season ago when Detroit retained Avril.
The looming free-agent decisions alone could further stress the Lions’ roster depth, which could stand to be bolstered as it is. The Lions’ picks in Round Two and beyond in 2013 could be key parts of the puzzle as Detroit tries to rebound — and prospects selected with those picks are precisely the sort of talent that plays at the Senior Bowl. The very best seniors sometimes skip the game, and juniors are usually not invited. The Lions’ second-half slide leaves them picking No. 5 overall, which gives them a chance to add a key, talented core player for as many as five years at a much more team-friendly rate of compensation than when they last picked in the top five (2010, when DT Ndamukong Suh was selected No. 2 overall)