The Detroit Lions enter the last day of the draft with five picks remaining. While they have had the chance to pick near the top of each round, that won’t happen to start things off today because the Lions traded their 2013 fourth round pick to the Minnesota Vikings during last year’s draft to gain a fifth round pick they used on Tahir Whitehead.
The Lions were able to regain a fourth round pick as compensation for losing Eric Wright via free agency and picked up another for losing Drew Stanton. Their picks look like this, at least to start the day:
While this draft is seen as light on elite talent at the top, there is no shortage of intriguing options in the middle rounds. We saw that in the third round selection of Larry Warford and there are a few areas where the Lions continue to find value picks to fill needs.
Martin Mayhew likes receivers. Martin Mayhew drafts receivers. It’s just what he does and it comes as at least a mild surprise he didn’t add on one on Friday night. The Lions have a legitimate need for a receiver to play on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson. Quinton Patton and Da’Rick Rogers could be options if the Lions look for a wide receiver early on day three. If the Lions are willing to take a very late chance on a receiver with baggage they could look at Marquess Wilson. He has good size and speed and looks the part of an NFL receiver but quit the Washington State football team mid-season. Given the team’s recent history with Titus Young it would seem highly unlikely they would welcome a potential headache but Wilson is a name to keep in mind nonetheless.
The Lions already have a defensive end in their 2013 draft class with first round pick Ziggy Ansah but it wouldn’t be a shock to see them add another considering the roster turnover at the position. Alex Okafor was a name a lot of Lions fans liked as a day two selection but he remains available. William Gholston is a local name but his production at the college level didn’t always match up with his physical gifts. Lavar Edwards has already seen former teammates Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery get drafted and he pushed them for playing time this past fall. The day three diamond in the rough could be Western Kentucky’s Quanterus Smith. While he put up big numbers playing against low-level competition, he did show well against Alabama. He may have been on his way to becoming a chic pick had it not been for an ACL injury.
I’m a big proponent of the Lions taking a safety in this draft even though they signed Glover Quin in free agency and were able to re-sign Louis Delmas. Those two look good as the starters on paper but Delmas is entering his fifth year in the league and has never been able to get through a season healthy. It is nice to have Delmas back but the Lions need to have a contingency plan in place.
Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Shamarko Thomas and Duke Williams would all add solid depth to the Lions safety unit to help ensure that John Wendling never has to play defense again.
With Sammie Hill signing with the Titans and Corey Williams still a free agent, the Lions have room for a fourth defensive tackle behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley. Because that fourth spot will get spot action but won’t be counted on for a heavy workload, the draft is the perfect place to fill the hole. Jesse Williams is the player whose availability is most surprising although it is more likely the Lions would wait until very late to select a developmental prospect. The most developmental of the bunch is Lawrence Okoye from Englad. He is a former rugby player and discus thrower who wowwed scouts at a regional combine with his combination of size, strength and speed. A more traditional developmental prospect is William Campbell who looked like a bust when he struggled at Michigan after arriving as a five star recruit. However, he started to blossom under the coaching of Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison and had a good showing at the East-West Shrine Game. If Campbell goes undrafted, the Lions should have him high on their list of priorities when signing undrafted free agents.
Drafting a punter? It is an area the Lions need to improve and finding a big leg through the draft is a good way to go about it. Jeff Locke, Quinn Sharp and Brad Wing are the three punters who have consistently received draftable grades according to scouting reports. One of these guys could also handle kick off duties.
Given the right fit and value based on their big board, the Lions could also look at players at other positions. A tight end or linebacker who falls down the draft board may be too enticing to pass up.