Lions have gotten done what they wanted to so far

The Detroit Lions started the offseason with a checklist of

goals to stay successful.

So far, so good.

All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had his contract extended;

standout defensive Cliff Avril was retained; veteran linebacker

Stephen Tulloch and offensive tackle Jeff Backus were

re-signed.

The only significant player missing from last year’s playoff

team is cornerback Eric Wright, who left as a free agent to sign

with Tampa Bay.

”The things that we felt like were critical, that we had to get

done, we got those things done,” Lions general manager Martin

Mayhew said Thursday. ”It would have been nice to add a guy here

or there. We haven’t done that in free agency – yet.”

The franchise, which became the NFL’s first 0-16 team in 2008,

that has been reshaped into a winner by Mayhew still has room for

improvement.

Finding a starting cornerback to play opposite Chris Houston and

replace Wright seems to be the No. 1 priority.

Mayhew, though, insists he’s sticking to his

best-player-available philosophy when the team picks 23rd overall

in next Thursday’s draft – unless he’s a quarterback.

”It’s about not reaching for a particular position,” Mayhew

said.

He would acknowledge there are ”four to seven” players on the

team’s draft board identified as ideal fits for its selection

toward the end of the first round, but refused to talk about any

player at his news conference a week before the draft.

Later in the draft, taking a No. 3 quarterback to develop behind

Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill is a possibility.

”If we’re on the clock in a particular round and we’ve got a

quarterback that’s a value for us there, we would consider taking

that player,” Mayhew said. ”By the same token, we’re not going to

try to make that happen. If it doesn’t happen that way, we’ll go

out in free agency and we’ll get a third quarterback that

way.”

Mayhew had good news for the team to share and lamented having

to talk about some bad.

NFL rules wouldn’t allow him to witness voluntary workouts this

week, but he did see running Jahvid Best at a team meeting and has

gotten good reports about a player who missed much of last year

because of concussions.

”From what I understand, he’s doing everything as far as

conditioning and working out with everybody,” Mayhew said.

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz addressed the importance of making

good choices off the field during Monday’s team meeting, a topic

prompted by the marijuana possession charges facing defensive

tackle Nick Fairley and running back Mikel Leshoure after recent

traffic stops. Mayhew met with the players with a message of his

own.

”The point I tried to make to both of those guys was that when

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson get back, they have to answer

questions about your behavior,” Mayhew recalled. ”That’s

something that those guys should understand. That we’re standing

here talking, not about the draft, not about our plans going

forward and our bright future and what we’re going to do. We’re

talking about those guys’ behavior off the field.”

Mayhew, though, said what Fairley and Leshoure did would not

rule out any potential draft picks with documented histories with

marijuana.

”We’re going to look at each individual situation,” he said.

”We did a lot of homework on those guys last year. We’re doing as

much homework or more on guys this year, but I think every

individual situation has to be evaluated that way.”

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage