Reviewing the draft: Detroit Lions

Entering their second season under head coach Steve Mariucci, the Detroit Lions are a team that needs youth and talent on both sides of the ball. With a top ten selection Detroit figured to add at least one great player to its' roster but following a timely the Lions found themselves with three picks in the top forty and an opportunity to select players that would leave a lasting impact on the franchise.

Detroit began the day by dealing backwards from the number six spot and were able to make themselves the beneficiary of the days most lopsided trade.  After flip-flopping positions with the Cleveland Browns and receiving an early pick in round two for moving down one slot, the Lions then used their initial selection to add Roy Williams to the roster.  Williams, along with Charles Rogers, gives the team a talented pair of young wide receivers that could blossom into the league's top duo in a few years.  Williams should excel as the teams number two receiver and the competition he will face from Tai Streets throughout training camp will make him a better player. As the end of round one approached Detroit surprised many observers by trading up to the thirtieth pick where they selected running back Kevin Jones.  Jones fell during the draft due to concerns about his speed but he is a complete back that should fit nicely into Steve Mariucci's offensive system.  Great value at the end of the first frame, Jones immediately fills a need for the Lions offense.  Teddy Lehman, drafted at the top of the second round, was the third player selected by the Lions.  Lehman will likely man the outside linebacker spot vacated by Barrett Green. Lehman is a fast, aggressive defender who must work improve his cover skills but should start for the team early on and could be an impact linebacker for a long time. The Lions again came away with great value with the choice of Keith Smith in round three.  Smith is a physical cornerback with solid man coverage skills.  While he never faced the best competition in college he was impressive at the Senior Bowl and should win the nickel job in training camp.  Unlikely to start as a rookie, Smith should be a steady corner for the team by his second year in the league. Alex Lewis gives Detroit a developmental linebacker that could eventually start on the weak side.  Should he make the team as a rookie, the smallish Lewis will likely do so as a special teams performer, where we expect him to excel.  Kelly Butler nicely finished a very impressive draft for the Detroit Lions and was yet another value pick for the franchise.  In time Butler could be a big, dominant right tackle for the Lions and should open up holes for Kevin Jones for many years to come.

Detroit came into the draft with only little fan fare yet left with the best two days of any team.  The additions of Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, and Kelly Butler provide both talent at skill positions and good potential along the offensive line.  The defensive players selected by the team should compete for starting positions early in their careers.  While the Lions are likely not yet a playoff team, this draft should provide a solid base for the franchise to build around in the near future.

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