Future Lions? Berry, Spiller Worth a Look

Although the consensus is that they'll draft one of April's premier defensive tackles, don't completely discount the chances of Detroit bucking conservative wisdom in favor of two standout playmakers.

Although the consensus is that they'll draft one of April's premier defensive tackles, don't completely discount the chances of Detroit bucking conservative wisdom in favor of two standout playmakers.

One of those players available at the No. 2 pick in the draft should be Tennessee's Eric Berry, whom Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber calls a "once in a decade type of defender."

If the Lions follow the logic in selecting the Best Player Available, rather than filling a need on the defensive line, the hard-hitting, explosive safety from Tennessee could be sporting honolulu blue and silver in the 2010 season.

"He has a chance to be taken with the second pick by the Detroit Lions, which would make him the second safety in the history of the draft to be selected with the No. 2 pick," according to Steuber. "The worst case scenario for Berry ... is that he falls to No. 3, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be happy to install him in their secondary."

The last time Detroit selected a safety that high in the draft was in 1988 when they picked the memorable and ferocious Bennie Blades third overall.

The Lions need secondary help, but primarily at the cornerback position. Scouts are divided on whether or not Berry can play corner in the NFL, but there's no debating the deadly combination of a Berry-Louis Delmas secondary in the Motor City.

FOR MORE ON ERIC BERRY, CHECK OUT CHRIS STEUBER'S COMPLETE DRAFT PROFILE.

If Matt Millen were still perched atop the Lions draft landscape, this might be a no-brainer. While Detroit is in desperate need of an upgrade to its defense, the offense could use an athlete like Clemson's C.J. Spiller.

Granted, Spiller is barely a top 15 selection, so Detroit would never consider spending its top pick on the standout running back. However, if Martin Mayhew has proven anything thus far into his short tenure as team GM, it's that he is willing to wheel and deal in effort to secure valuable picks.


If the price is right, the Lions wouldn't mind adding Spiller to the backfield.
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Fact is, even before his knee injury, incumbent starting RB Kevin Smith had not convinced anyone in Detroit that he was a long-term solution in the team's backfield. And with the team's future success tied to stud quarterback Matthew Stafford, the entire organization is aware that a durable and effective running game isn't only beneficial, but absolutely essential.

It's something Spiller could provide.

"(He allows) blockers to set up in front of him, quickly recognizes a crease and displays a burst that ultimately leads to big gains," according to Steuber, who has Spiller rated as his top running back, and a top 15 selection. "He's shifty in the open field and is tough to tackle in space. He's a polished receiver out of the backfield and provides the quarterback with a reliable target who can take it the distance."

Obtaining Spiller would require Mayhew to shuffle the team's draft board for the second year in a row. However, should Detroit obtain a pick in the middle of the first-round, don't be surprised if the team goes offense for the second consecutive April.

FOR MORE ON C.J. SPILLER, CHECK OUT CHRIS STEUBER'S COMPLETE DRAFT PROFILE.


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