The Lions ended the season on an eight game losing streak. That’s the longest losing streak in the NFL and the longest losing streak since the Lions finished the 2009 season on a six game losing streak. The Lions were a product of injuries this season to both sides of the ball, but it is obvious the Lions need to get better in a lot of areas and quick. He is a rough list of needs for the team during the off-season.
1. Improve the secondary
2. Find a replacement for Jahvid Best
3. Revamp the defensive line
4. Re-sign linebackers or replace them
5. Add depth at receiver
6. Re-sign Chris Houston
There’s a lot on the Lions’ plate this off-season, especially with 24 unrestricted free agents and decisions must be made on Louis Delmas and Cliff Avril as both should eat up what little cap-space the Lions have. It’s also probably time to move on from Kyle Vanden-Bosch who’s due to count $10.6 million against the salary cap next season and is due a two million dollar roster bonus after the seventh day of 2013. Cutting Vanden Bosch would save the Lions money for free agency where they are going to have to pay top dollar to sign a starting caliber safety or corner. They also need to sign Chris Houston and or Louis Delmas, and Potentially Cliff Avril, on top re-signing linebackers Deandre Levy and Justin Durant. Bottom line is there isn’t enough money to go around which leads us to the question, What should the Lions do with the fifth pick?
Mel Kiper doesn’t believe there is a corner in this draft that warrants a top five pick, the 2013 NFL draft is loaded with solid pass rushers, and taking Manti Te’0 at five would be a reach unless he off the charts at the combine. Bottom line the Lions don’t have the funds to fill all their needs in free agency and drafting at five probably wouldn’t more then likely wouldn’t fill a top need for the Lions. That leaves the Lions with one option to improve multiple positions on the team with high quality talent, trade down.
If the Lions could acquire another late first round pick or another second round pick they could fill a lot of needs in the first three rounds and potentially still draft a player like Manti Te’o or Bjoern Werner, or more realistically add a player like Dee Milliner in the middle of the first round and still have the opportunity of upgrading the defensive line and safety position with three picks in the first two rounds, giving the Lions opportunities to draft play makers, while saving cap space for their own free agents and a few new additions to the roster.
It’s too early in the scouting process to predict where players will end up going as some players draft stocks will rise and fall drastically as we approach April, but the Lions can improve faster by trading down in the draft and acquiring more young talent in the first three rounds, and save money to resign their own free agents, as well as a few potential upgrades.