Pre-Draft Team Needs: Detroit Lions

It's year three of the Rod Marinelli era. We'll take a look at what needs to be done in the draft so the team can take the next step -- hopefully to the playoffs.

Players Added

Michael Gaines/TE - He's a huge tight end who blocks well but isn't a strong pass catcher.

Chuck Darby/DT - He'll be expected to start next to Cory Redding.

Gilbert Gardner/LB - The former third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts will vie for playing time as a backup.

Leigh Bodden/CB - He's one of many veteran cornerbacks on the team that will be competing for one of the two starting positions.

Brian Kelly/CB - He'll compete for one of the starting jobs at cornerback and he's played well in the Cover-2 defensive scheme when healthy.

Dwight Smith/S - He'll be a short-term solution at strong safety.

Kalvin Pearson/S - He's an upside safety who fits well in head coach Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme.

Players Lost

T.J. O'Sullivan/QB - He signed on to handle the third quarterback role with the San Francisco 49ers.

Kevin Jones/RB - He was a surprising cut recently and has yet to find a job.

Blaine Saipaia/OL - He got a job with the Lions because of Mike Martz who is now with the San Francisco 49ers.

T.J. Duckett/RB - The power back will handle a short-yardage role with the Seattle Seahawks.

Troy Walters/WR/PR - He'll likely find a job as a punt returner as we get closer to the start of training camps.

Damien Woody/OL - He signed a big free agent deal with the New York Jets to play right tackle.

Barry Stokes/OL - The journeyman backup offensive lineman is still without a contract.

Shaun Rogers/DT - He was traded to the Cleveland Browns where he'll get another shot to prove his worth.

Teddy Lehman/MLB - The oft-injured but talented player will back up Barrett Ruud in Tampa Bay.

Boss Bailey/SLB - He'll join his brother, Champ, in Denver.

Kalimba Edwards/DE - He was deemed an underachiever and was released but Edwards found a new home in Oakland.

Kenoy Kennedy/S - Dwight Smith was signed to replace him who is yet another Rod Marinelli favorite.

Idrees Bashir/S - He was brought in to provide but he only played in nine games last season due to injury.

Fernando Bryant/CB - The team released him and brought in two veteran cornerbacks to vie for a starting position.

Pre-Draft Team Needs

1) Running Back - The team surprisingly cut RB Kevin Jones so the starting job remains open. Tatum Bell is best used in a change of pace role, not as a starter.

2) Defensive End - Since the team decided to release DE Kalimba Edwards, they only have one true pass rushing end in Dwayne White. They'll give Ikaika Alama-Francis a shot and while the coaches remain high on him, he hardly played last season.

3) Right Tackle - With the loss of RT Damien Woody in free agency, his replacement comes down to Jonathan Scott, who has mostly been a backup, and George Foster who was benched last season.

4) Strong-Side Linebacker - The team signed two discarded players (Gilbert Gardner and Alfred Fincher) from other teams to provide depth. But the coaches will look for someone to challenge veteran LB Alex Lewis for the starting job at this position.

5) Defensive Tackle - With the trade of Shaun Rogers, that leaves the recently signed Chuck Darby as his replacement. Darby played for head coach Rod Marinelli when the two were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but Darby turns 33 in October and is seen more as a rotational player.

6) Tight End - They have depth at the position but not a pass catcher.

Other Issues to Address

Offensive Line Depth

Linebacker Depth

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