Team Needs: Detroit Lions
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. OT - 4.0
2. CB - 4.0
3. LB - 2.5
4. RB - 2.5
5. S - 2.5
6. WR - 2.0
7. OC - 2.0
8. OG - 1.5
9. K - 1.5
10. QB - 1.5
Quarterback - Stafford made major strides in his first healthy season. Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton are both free agents, and while Hill is the better of the pair, Stanton is four years younger and wants to test the market. Keeping at least one is a need given Stafford's durability concerns and should be fairly easy to do. NEED: 1.5
Running Back - Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure both missed most or all of the season due to injury. Kevin Smith had his moments down the stretch, but he's a free agent. They will definitely add some insurance here in case injuries continue to haunt them, preferably a veteran free agent. NEED: 2.5
Fullback - They've essentially phased this position out of their offensive due to their propensity to use two tight ends and spread the field with wide receivers. NEED: 0.0
Wide Receiver - Titus Young had his moments, but was not the consistent NO. 3 option they were hoping for. Burleson is a capable complementary No. 2, but they are looking for more playmakers here to make teams pay for doubling Megatron. Finding a young guy in the draft to groom to replace the soon to be 31-year old Burleson is the best option. NEED: 2.5
Tight End - Pettigrew and Scheffler are a solid pair, and Heller is a capable blocker. They are pretty solid here. NEED: 1.0
Offensive Tackle - Backus has been a much reviled, but serviceable starter over the years. But he's a free agent and will turn 35 in September. They want to bring him back, but expecting him to give them more than one year would be foolhardy. Jason Fox has flashed some development, but they aren't quite sure he'll be ready to start this year or next. They could potentially target a more sure bet with their top pick. Gosder Cherilus, once a liability on the right side has become serviceable over the past year. They could get better there, but it won't be a high priority given their issues on the left side. NEED: 4.0
Offensive Guard - Sims and Peterman are their two best blockers up front, and while neither is a household name they are more than capable of getting the job done. If there is any concern, it's adding depth. NEED: 1.5
Center - Dom Raiola is a steady veteran with two years left on his contract and is 33 years old. It's not a priority now, but they would like to add his heir apparent at some point in the next year or two. NEED: 2.0
Defensive Tackle - There has been talk that they might part ways with Corey Williams this off-season, but even if they do they should be relatively solid here. With Suh, Fairley, and Sammie Lee Hill, they have a solid young trio in their rotation. Andre Fluellen is a free agent and adds depth, but he's not an essential piece to re-sign. NEED: 1.0
Defensive End - The Lions seem set to slap the franchise tag on Cliff Avril, who has been productive on the left side. Kyle Vanden Bosch is a declining veteran on the right, but they like him and Lawrence Jackson rotating. They'll never shy away from a good pass rusher, but between those guys and Willie Young they are pretty set. NEED: 1.0
Linebacker - The additions of Tulloch and Durant were a major upgrade here, as DeAndre Levy continues to be a middling starter. Tulloch is a free agent and if they lose him, it would open a void in the middle. While Durant and Levy both have past experience playing the middle, neither were particularly good there. They'd likely add someone there if they lost him. Otherwise, they are pretty solid here for now. NEED: 2.5
Cornerback - They want to bring back free agent Eric Wright, but they also want to upgrade this spot. Ideally they can add a big-time No. 1 corner here that can move Wright to the nickel, since neither he nor Chris Houston are reliable enough to go against premier receivers. They are also looking to deal Alphonso Smith who struggled in the shootout vs. the Packers in the finale. NEED: 4.0
Safety - Louis Delmas is an up and coming free safety that has struggled to stay on the field. Amari Spievey's first full year at safety was lack luster. He is better off playing on the bench, but they seem content to give him another year to find his feet. Adding a good backup that can fill in for Delmas when he gets hurt and/or push Spievey is their need here. NEED: 2.5
Kicker - Jason Hanson lacks the range of yesteryear, but still is pretty money inside 40-45 yards. He'll be 42 in June, and likely will play out the final year of his deal. But one can definitely expect them to bring in some competition to push him. NEED: 1.5
Punter - Ben Graham ended the year as their punter after Ryan Donahue went on IR. Graham, a free agent, was better but Donahue was fairly effective for a rookie and the job will be his going forward. NEED: 0.0
Return Specialist - Like most returners in 2011, Stefan Logan's production dropped off, but he's still one of the better dual threats around the league. He'll be 31 in June and is entering the final year of his deal, so they might bring in some competition. NEED: 1.0
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