With free agency just about wrapped up fans and media have a little more clarity on where the Lions stand in terms of drafting a player with the number five pick.
Before we get into the candidates for the fifth pick in the 2013 NFL draft let’s take a look at the Lions’ offseason moves.
Additions: The Lions have addressed the safety position in re-signing Louis Delmas and signing a proven veteran leader in Glover Quin. The Lions also re-signed their best corner in Chris Houston and added a starter at defensive end in Jason Jones, who the Lions will look to to duplicate Cliff Avril‘s production from the last two seasons.
Losses: The Lions lost offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, guard Stephen Peterman and both starting defensive ends in Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril. On a side note it’s not looking great that linebacker Justin Durant, one of the Lions most productive tackles on the team, returns next season.
The Lions have really flipped their strengths on defense going from one of the top defensive line units in the NFL to one of the most questionable, while shoring up their secondary. Linebacker could be a position the Lions look to address with Jarvis Jones, but the most pressing needs look to be along the offensive line and defensive end positions. with that said let’s take a look at who the top candidates are right now for the Lions with the fifth pick.
5. Jarvis Jones – Jones may be the best pass rusher in the draft and is by far the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the 2013 class. He’s checked out medically and would be a huge impact player to have on defense. The problem with here is would the Lions take Jones with more pressing needs protecting Matthew Stafford and with two vacancies at defensive end?
4. Dion Jordan – Jordan is a monster at 6’6 248 lbs. and he would certainly fit the bill for the Lions as defensive end is one of their weakest positions right now. Jordan is my favorite defensive end in the class and his size and speed alone makes me drool, but he looks more suited to play a 3-4 defensive scheme. It would be great to pair Jordan with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but how effective would he be playing in a scheme that don’t necessarily fit his strengths? Speaking of strength, that is the one concern for Jordan. Yes he’s fast and nimble, but if he’s not able to add strength and weight this offseason he will be neutralized by veteran tackles.
3. Ziggy Ansah – Most mocks that have the Lions selecting a defensive end have them taking either Dion Jordan or Ziggy Ansah. Ziggy may not have the game tape Jordan does, but he has just as much potential and fits the team better schematically as a 4-3 pass rusher. What’s interesting about the defensive end position for the Lions is they already named Jason Jones the starting left defensive end. That would plug Ansah into the right defensive end position. Would Ansah, an inexperienced pass rusher excel against starting left tackles each and every Sunday?
2. Luke Joeckel – Joeckel is exactly what you want in a left tackle. He’s healthy, great size at 6’6, 308 lbs., nimble and strong, and he’s also played both tackle positions in college making him versatile. With that said, he’s a shoe in for the Cheifs with the number one pick, who will likely start him at right tackle for one season. He’s the ideal left tackle and if he fell to the Lions fans should be ecstatic.
1. Eric Fisher – As good and as solid as Joeckel is, Fisher just has too much upside to not make the number one spot on this list. He’s an inch taller than Joeckel, his arms are an inch longer, he’s just as strong as Joeckel (27 reps at the combine on bench), but he’s more athletic and a better athlete. Fisher may have a bit more risk with a knee injury in 2011 and lack of competition coming out of Central Michigan, but any questions about competing against top talent were answered at the Senior Bowl.