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2011 Mock Draft Primer: Detroit Lions

March 12th, 2011
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OT Tyron Smith

Since they dumped GM Matt Millen two years ago, the Lions have done a good job of adding young pieces to build for the future. Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh form the core of their team and they need to continue to add more pieces and playmakers to supplement those guys going forward.

They have several areas on their roster that need addressing, but I think they wind up shoring up their offensive line with a player like USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith with their top selection. But the Lions should have a variety of options to look at when the thirteenth pick rolls around.

The Lions may sniff around Alabama RB Mark Ingram. They used their top pick a year ago on Jahvid Best, so it’s doubtful they would do that two years in a row. But they do need a power-oriented back to split carries with him, and Ingram would be a good fit there.

Calvin Johnson is an outstanding No. 1 target, and if Julio Jones slips this far in the draft, he would be a great value and solid No. 2 behind him.

But the player the Lions likely truly covet is Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara. Given the success of his former teammate Ndamukong Suh this past year, and the Lions need to upgrade their cornerback play, Amukamara makes a great fit in Detroit. But it’s hard seeing him fall all the way to Pick No. 13. Instead if the Lions want corner help they might have to turn to Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris, and this pick seems to high for either player. So if they want to fix their issues at corner, they might have to trade up into the Top 10 to get Amukamara. That is quite possible for one of those teams looking to move down to be a more palatable position to take one of the second tier passers like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett. But in the case of both passers, No. 13 still seems a bit high for either.

The Lions do need help at linebacker, but Martez Wilson isn’t a great fit, and Akeem Ayers probably isn’t worth this high a pick.

That likely leaves the Lions looking at their pass rush if they go with a defensive pick. Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith makes sense and would bring the sort of pressure off the edge that could be a very good coupled with Suh and Corey Williams up the middle.

But the Lions also want to improve their offensive line. Gosder Cherilus improved this past year, but he’s far from a sure thing at right tackle. Adding someone like Tyron Smith makes a ton of sense because he can push Cherilus right away at right tackle. And the team is also looking for an heir apparent to Jeff Backus down the road, and Smith has the athleticism that he can make the switch to the left side when the time comes.

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