The first round of the NFL Draft gets most of the attention, but it’s the other rounds where playoff teams are built with sharp decisions.
The Lions, coming off a 4-12 season, could use some of those right now.
Day 2 of the draft begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the second and third rounds.
The Lions currently have the fourth pick of the second round (No. 36 overall) and third pick of the third round (No. 65).
Those are opportunities to add players to contribute immediately, probably even a starter or two if the right choices are made.
Here are some possible targets still available at several positions of need for the Lions, based on NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock’s top-100 prospect rankings:
With confirmation that Lawrence Jackson won’t return after reaching an agreement on a free-agent deal with Minnesota, don’t rule out the possibility of the Lions going after another defensive end, even after taking Ziggy Ansah in the first round. There’s still a need at a very important position.
Candidates: Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore (Mayock’s No. 33), SMU’s Margus Hunt (39) and Florida State’s Tank Carradine (56).
It remains to be seen whether the three cornerbacks drafted last year are the answer.
Candidates: Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks (No. 48), Boise State’s Jamar Taylor (51), Mississippi State’s Darius Slay (59), Connecticut’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson (66) and William & Mary’s B.W. Webb (67).
Safeties go down with injuries so often in the NFL, you can’t have too many, especially when Louis Delmas’ health seems to be an ongoing issue. Candidates: Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien (38) and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger (57).
The Lions drafted two linebackers last year, but still could use an athletic playmaker on the outside after losing Justin Durant in free agency.
Candidates: Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins (49), Georgia’s Cornelius Washington (54), Connecticut’s Sio Moore (64), Florida’s Jon Bostic (65) and Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene (69).
They’ve taken one in the second round each of the last two years but still have a need for a threat on the opposite side of the field from Calvin Johnson.
Candidates: Tennessee’s Justin Hunter (32); California’s Keenan Allen (37), Southern California’s Robert Woods (45), Baylor’s Terrance Williams (53) and Marshall’s Aaron Dobson (60).
Line was weak up the middle last year, which led to the release of Stephen Peterman.
Candidates: Kentucky’s Larry Warford (47) and Kent’s Brian Winters (70).
They didn’t get the elite one in the first round, but still could find a lesser talent. Candidates: Florida State’s Menelik Watson (31) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Terron Armstead (61).
P.S. Don’t sleep on Armstead. He’s from a small school, but is extremely athletic and has a very good upside.
They’re going to need a replacement for 12-year veteran Dominic Raiola soon.
Candidate: California’s Brian Schwenke (55).
The top tight ends, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, are entering the final year of their contracts.