We’ve looked at potential players the Detroit Lions may target in the first round of the NFL draft, making a partial draft board based on the likely players available when they pick at No. 23.
The Lions own pick No. 22 in the second round – 55 overall – and will have the opportunity to add a contributing player.
Based on players likely to be available when the Lions are on the clock in the second round, let’s take a look at what their draft board may look like.
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Curry is projected to be off the board before the Lions select in the second round, however, this draft is deep with defensive end talent which increases the likelihood one slides.
If Curry gets close enough to the Lions, they may pull the trigger on a trade.
The team brought Curry in for a pre-deft visit and their interest in him most likely begins with his speed.
The Lions prefer to generate most of their pass rush from the defensive line and Curry is a proven commodity when it comes to quickly reaching the quarterback. Once his solid repertoire of moves is factored in, he seems to fit exactly what the Lions want at the position.
The biggest obstacle for the Lions in acquiring Curry is that he is currently projected to go somewhere in-between their first and second picks. So a trade up or an unexpected slide would be a prerequisite to - this selection – although, both are possible.
Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
This pick has the potential to surprise many, as the Lions are widely expected to go secondary, defensive end or offensive lineman in the early rounds. However, if the Lions deviate from those positions, Brown will be the reason.
Brown possesses outstanding speed and athleticism and the Lions see short-term depth as well as special teams help and long-term starting material in him (remember, DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant both have contracts that expire at the end of the season).
Equally important to consider is that the Lions lost No. 4 linebacker Bobby Carpenter to free agency. The coaching staff publicly referred to Carpenter as their best coverage linebacker last season, and Brown excels in that area.
This pick isn’t as immediately intuitive as some others but the more you consider it, the more logical it becomes.
Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
If the Lions fail to secure a pass rusher in the first round, it will be high on their wish list in the next two rounds.
Crawford is a raw talent that may not be immediately ready to have an impact on the NFL but he does possess the skills and talents to be an eventual starter.
The Lions are deep on the defensive line and their interest in the position may be based on the reality that several of their defensive ends are slated to become free agents in the next couple of seasons. For that reason, it is likely the Lions would be comfortable with Crawford taking some time to develop.
Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State
The Lions may elect to go offensive line with this selection and Osemele offers some of the characteristics that may intrigue them.
Osemele is projected as a guard in the NFL but also has the potential to play tackle. The Lions are open advocates of versatility amongst their depth offensive linemen, which may elevate him on the Lions draft board.
The biggest knock on Osemele is his sloppy technique, which is a bit curious since he was a four-year start at Iowa State. Many of his flaws may be correctable through coaching, however, interested teams will need to make that determination.
At 6-foot-6 and 333 pounds, Osemele has the size and strength to succeed. If the Lions select him, it will be with the understanding that he will need to be coached to be truly effective at the next level.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
There are a lot of concerns surrounding the Lions backfield heading into 2012, putting them in a position to potentially draft a running back in the first few rounds of this year’s draft.
This is most likely not a desirable position for the Lions, after they have committed a first round pick (2010) and a second round pick (2011) to the position in the last two seasons.
James would provide the Lions with the speed that they covet at the position.
It is unlikely that he would represent an every-down back for them as he lacks true power and could not be counted on consistently in pass protection. However, even with his short comings, James’ home-run ability would be a welcomed insurance policy to the team’s only other speed back, Jahvid Best.
Summary / Expectation
The Lions are most likely hoping for a scenario where they are able to acquire a cornerback in the first round and a pass rusher in the second.
If the Lions fail to secure the secondary help they are seeking in the first, I do not believe they are happy enough with the talent available at the bottom of the second round to pull the trigger.
Defensive end makes the most sense with this pick, unless Brown slips to them – in which case I don’t think they’d hesitate to pull the trigger.
Offensive line and running back are also both options, however, I would expect the Lions to take a deeper look at those positions beginning in round three.