When you’re picking midway through the first round, a good philosophy is to take the best player that funnels down to you. Someone will inevitably fall, and the Lions will be happy to scoop that guy up. Sean Yuille from Pride of Detroit elaborates in our Lions draft preview:
1. I heard a rumor that the Lions might consider A.J. Green or Julio Jones if either were to drop. There’s no way this team drafts another wide receiver early, right?
The Detroit Lions’ draft philosophy these days is to draft the best player available. Obviously they take needs into consideration with this strategy, but if A.J. Green or Julio Jones were available, I would not be surprised if they picked one of them. Wide receiver isn’t exactly at the top of the list for needs, but the Lions could use an extra weapon at the position to go along with Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. Now, if one of the top players at a position where there is more of a need for help (i.e. cornerback) is available, I wouldn’t expect them to draft a receiver. But if the top players at cornerback, linebacker, defensive end, etc. are gone, I’d personally prefer someone like A.J. Green or Julio Jones over an offensive tackle.
2. Detroit still has quite a few needs on defense, but that offensive line could use some work. What’s the biggest position of need?
Playing off my answer to the first question, I would put cornerback at the top of the list right now. The Lions improved the position quite a bit last year, but there is still a need to add a starter and some depth, especially since it’s unknown if Chris Houston will be an unrestricted or a restricted free agent this offseason. Once the CBA is settled the Lions will find out, but if he’s unrestricted it’s possible he could opt to leave Detroit for a new team. That would leave them with Alphonso Smith as their top corner. Smith was pretty good for much of last season, but the Lions would be in trouble if he was their top returning corner. That is why I would put the need to find a starting-caliber cornerback at the top of the list of draft priorities.
3. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to use a first rounder on a corner. Which position do you want them to focus on with that 13th pick?
The Lions could really go in a number of different directions with the 13th overall pick. If Prince Amukamara is available, I’d expect him to be the pick to fill the need at cornerback. If he’s gone, however, I’d expect the Lions to think about drafting one of the top offensive tackles or making the defensive line even better with one of the number of talented defensive ends in this year’s draft. I can’t really see them drafting a player at another position, although I suppose taking a running back wouldn’t completely shock me, nor would it be surprising if they went with a wide receiver if Green or Jones is available. Personally I want them to get a cornerback, but only if Amukamara is there. If not, I’d rather see them just take the best player available (i.e. someone like Tyron Smith or Da’Quan Bowers if he drops).
4. Is there a specific player you have in mind?
Amukamara. It’s unlikely any other cornerbacks worth taking with the 13th pick will be available, so the hope is that Amukamara will be available when the Lions go on the clock. If he’s not, then I’m not quite sure who the Lions will take. I did throw Tyron Smith’s name out there as a possibility if the Lions decide to build for the future with an offensive tackle, but he could be off the board to a team like the Cowboys. If that were to happen, I’d bet on the Lions going with one of the defensive ends (Cameron Jordan, Robert Quinn, Da’Quan Bowers), making their defensive line one of the best in football.