Three and out: Top five positions of need for the Lions

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.

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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?  

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.)

Best tweeted Monday: "Can’t wait to get to work with these rbs! #calgang."

He displayed breakaway speed while appearing in 21 games with the Lions after being a first-round pick in 2010.

However, Best hasn’t been able to get cleared by doctors to return since suffering a concussion in the sixth game of the 2011 season.