Three and out: Top five positions of need for the Lions
Here are the top five positions of need this year for the Detroit Lions, who have the 10th pick overall
The focus turns toward the NFL Draft (May 8-10) with the Senior Bowl being played this week in Mobile, Ala.
Andrew Weber / USA TODAY Sports
By Dave Dye
FIRST DOWN The focus turns toward the NFL Draft (May 8-10) with the Senior Bowl being played this week in Mobile, Ala.
Here are the top five positions of need this year for the Detroit Lions, who have the 10th pick overall:
1. Receiver: The Lions became the punch line of many jokes when they selected a receiver in the first round in 2003 (Charles Rogers), 2004 (Roy Williams), 2005 (Mike Williams) and 2007 (Calvin Johnson).
They need to seriously consider doing it again now to give the offense a threat opposite Johnson.
Nate Burleson, Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles (if healthy) are solid players, but quarterback Matthew Stafford needs another high-end weapon.
2. Cornerback: Detroit has drafted four of them in the last two years, including second-rounder Darius Slay in 2013, but the position hasn't been fixed. If there's no shutdown corner that's worth using that first-round pick on, it might be time to target one of the top unrestricted free agents available.
3. Safety: Louis Delmas surprised everybody by playing in all 16 games despite his chronic knee problems, but he didn't always play at a high level. Despite adding a top free agent last year in Glover Quin, the Lions need more help to solidify the secondary.
4. Center: As well as Dominic Raiola played this past season at age 34, he's going to be entering his 14th year in the NFL. The Lions need to start grooming someone to take over a crucial and underrated position.
5. Kicker: This will depend on what they decide to do with David Akers, who is a free agent. The Lions used a fifth-round pick on a punter a year ago. Akers is coming off a mediocre season, but would a rookie be more reliable?
SECOND DOWN Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, both projected first-round picks, won't be participating in the Senior Bowl week. Both chose not to risk an injury.
There are some local connections, however, to watch in Saturday's game (4 p.m. on NFL Network).
They include MSU safety Isaiah Lewis, Michigan offensive guard Michael Schofield and Saginaw Valley State receiver Jeff Janis.
The trio will be joined on the North team by tight end Jacob Pedersen, who played at Wisconsin but is from the Upper Peninsula (Menominee, Mich.)
THIRD DOWN Former Lions running back Jahvid Best plans to return to college this year at California to get his degree and serve as a student assistant coach, according to story on GoldenBearReport.com.
Can't wait to get to work with these rbs! #calgang