The Detroit Lions had a spectacular 2013 draft, receiving contributors for numerous positions. Detroit still fell short though, collapsing from 6-3 to 7-9. The Lions have talent, but are still some players away from improving and making the playoffs. If the Lions can have another draft like the previous one, they’ll be in body-building shape.
Here are some positions the Lions should look to upgrade in the 2014 draft:
1. Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, also known as “Megatron,” needs a side dish to compliment his five-star stature. Johnson’s a workhorse Detroit relies heavily on; someone needs to alleviate his pressure. Johnson often missed practices because of sore muscles; bringing in another receiver would limit the damage he endures during games. Even when he’s not thrown to, defenses zoom in on him out of fear of his incredible ability. Guys like Kris Durham and Jeremy Ross are nice slot receivers; Detroit needs a legitimate number two weapon. Matthew Stafford and Johnson are peanut butter and jelly, lacking that fresh cup of milk.
2. Safety: If anyone’s expecting Louis Delmas to turn into a Troy Polamalu, keep waiting; it’s not happening. Delmas is a liability in the secondary, taking bad angles and arriving late to passing-plays. He overestimates his size, thinking he can maul a running back twice his size, instead of just wrapping them up for a safe tackle. Fellow safety Glover Quin has exceptional ball skills; it’s vital that Detroit acquires a nice partner for him. Delmas also has health issues, struggling to stay healthy enough to practice. 2013 was his first full season as a Lion. The secondary needs better play at the safety position; the corners would look improved.
3. Linebacker: Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy were anchors at the linebacker position, allowing the unit to gain respect. The Lions need another linebacker, someone more than Ashlee Palmer. It’s more than just someone with talent, rather a big playmaker that can shove fear into opposing offenses’ throats. A player like a Lance Briggs or Luke Kuechly would be ideal. Tulloch is a solid tackler, being just that. Levy had a great season; expecting it again is unlikely. The Lions’ defense needs that ferocious linebacker that is always accounted for and controls a section of the field.
4. Cornerback: This may not be a huge need, but it still would be nice for Detroit to snag a young stud somewhere in this draft — preferably in the earlier rounds. Darius Slay has potential to be an amazing defender, but it’d still be nice to draft someone who can be there for extra support. Veteran cornerback Chris Houston played terribly this season; Detroit can look to replace him while allowing Slay to start opposite of him.
5. Running Back: This isn’t a glaring need, but it can be considered. Reggie Bush cannot pound the rock consistently, without wearing down easily. Joique Bell is a free agent, who will more than likely return. The Lions do have Theo Riddick and Mikel Leshoure, but nobody can speak with confidence about them. Leshoure has regressed, and Riddick seems similar to Bush. It wouldn’t hurt Detroit to have a more durable back who could carry the football for tough yardage. It’d help to keep Bush fresh in a different role, also limiting Bell’s duties (if resigned).
The Lions need to have a draft like last year, only this time gain that same contribution for other positions that are thin. Detroit has much to build off of; another fine draft and they’ll be heading towards a golden path. If the Lions can solidify certain positions, especially on defense, they’ll make a great case for the NFC North Division.