The Detroit Lions’ biggest needs heading into the 2015 draft
This position has become the key hole to fill on offense for this team. Dominic Raiola's release and likely retirement, along with the dearth of quality and experience at center, is a concern. Oregon's Hroniss Grasu, Auburn's Reese Dismukes and Andy Gallik from Boston College are all early-second round/mid-fourth round projections, all within the Lions' range.
Getty ImagesLeon Halip
As every Lions fan knows, the Miami Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh and the St. Louis Rams signed Nick Fairley. Detroit traded for former Ravens DT Haloti Ngata. A future Hall of Fame candidate, Ngata is a definite boon for GM Martin Mayhew, as was the acquisition of former Saints DT Tyrunn Walker. That said, it's still extremely important for this franchise to upgrade the vacuous hole left by the departure of not one, but two All-Pro DTs. The draft offers some potential with guys like Arik Armstead from Oregon, Jordan Phillips from Oklahoma and Eddie Goldman from Florida State, all three of whom could be available late in the first round when the Lions will select.
APJ Pat Carter
Duke's Laken Tomlinson, Florida State's Tre' Jackson, South Carolina's A.J. Cann and Alabama's Arie Kouandjio are the headliners of the 2015 NFL Draft's guard position, at which the Lions have a massive need. They're projected to go anywhere from the early second up to the mid to late third round. Some names the Lions could more realistically grab at guard based on their position within the draft: Florida State's Josue Matias, Utah's Jeremiah Poutasi or even Arizona State's Jamil Douglas.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY SportsBrett Davis
The Lions re-signed veteran CB Rashean Mathis to a two-year deal, but it's still a weaker part of the secondary than the safety position. Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo solidify the starting safety positions, but outside of young standout Darius Slay and newly extended veteran Mathis, the CB position lacks depth and the draft offers good third- or fourth-round options. Ohio State's Doran Grant, USC's Josh Shaw, Florida State's Ronald Darby and Utah's Eric Rowe are all available young CB prospects that could be in play for Detroit come draft weekend.
Joique Bell will bear a lot of the load in 2015. Luckily, the draft presents the team with some good options late, and free agency still could present Detroit with a bargain back. Should the club decide not to attack the backfield until draft weekend in Chicago, several RBs stand out in the fourth- to sixth-round range. USC's Buck Allen, Louisville's Dominique Brow, or even South Carolina's Mike Davis make sense for the Lions here.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsBruce Kluckhohn
Despite the talent in the Lions' tight end corps, it didn't really work out too well in 2014. Eric Ebron was underwhelming in his 2014 rookie campaign, Joseph Fauria has been mediocre and veteran Brandon Pettigrew can't be the only productive TE. Prospects like Florida State's Nick O'Leary, Notre Dame's Ben Koyack, Oklahoma's Blake Bell, Penn State's Jesse James, and South Alabama's Wes Saxton are all later-round picks at TE that could provide another infusion of talent in Detroit.