Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback
Detroit has a lot of theoretical talent at corner, but little or nothing on which to hang its hat. LCB Chris Houston was benched down the stretch of 2013. Second-round pick Darius Slay lost his starting job to 33-year-old Rashean Mathis, who is now a free agent. Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood, and Jonte Green all saw extensive playing time but failed to reliably nail down jobs. New Lions DC Teryl Austin has a Baltimore background, where he coached defensive backs.
First day option: Jason Verrett, TCU - Expect Slay to play press man on one side of the field, similar to Jimmy Smith in Baltimore. The Lions then need their Lardarius Webb, which is not easy. Enter Jason Verrett, who is sub 5’10 like Webb but can press, play off, or play in the slot. Verrett might be the best corner in this class in terms of gaining backfield vision, closing, and attacking the catch point. Too often people want to select a big corner with length, when really Verrett can match up in contested situations better than taller prospects.
Second day possibility: Bashaud Breeland, Clemson - Breeland is another prospect who locates the ball and can attack receivers at the highest point. He has speed and length to trail and catch up, but Breeland is obviously not perfect. He will likely draw a second-round selection.
Third day flier: Antone Exum, Virginia Tech - Exum had a throwaway senior season, but his junior season was very good. Some suggest he can play safety or corner, likely stemming from a good amount of zone coverage, but that versatility can only help his cause.
Video: Norris on Detroit's top need
No. 2 Team Need: Wide Receiver
The Lions' signing of Golden Tate (five years, $31 million) was a step in the right direction, but Detroit should still be seeking ways to move Kris Durham down the depth chart. Durham is an inefficient drop machine. Kevin Ogletree is a journeyman, while Ryan Broyles can't be trusted after double ACL tears and a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Coach Jim Caldwell likes to play three-wide offense. A homerun-hitting deep threat would complement Tate and Calvin Johnson well.
First day option: Mike Evans, Texas A&M - Evan noted a vertical target/deep threat for the Lions. Watkins will certainly be gone and the team might trade back for Odell Beckham Jr., but this is the sweet spot for Evans. Vertical targets are frequently linked with speed, but winning at the catch point over trailing corners or with deep safeties is also very important. Evans can absolutely do this.
Second day possibility: Martavis Bryant, Clemson - At this point, Bryant is purely a downfield target. His game progressed rapidly in the later portions of 2013. He has not maxed out his high pointing ability outside of alley-oop targets, but he oozes “upside.”
Third day flier: Shaq Evans, UCLA - Evans stole the show in Matt Waldman’s WR roundtable, specifically his understanding of shedding press, setting up routes and keeping defensive backs off balance. If only he could catch consistently.
No. 3 Team Need: Quarterback
Lions GM Martin Mayhew has quietly done an impressive job of constructing his roster despite limited on-field success. This is a team that should enter May's draft selecting best players available instead of drafting for need. The Lions lost Shaun Hill in free agency, leaving only limp-armed Kellen Moore behind $76.5 million starter Matthew Stafford. Detroit can afford to draft a mid- to late-round quarterback to groom as Stafford's long-term backup.
First day option: This will not happen.
Second day possibility: Not to repeat myself, but I doubt the Lions spend one of their top three picks on a quarterback.
Third day flier: Aaron Murray, Georgia - You know what you are going to get with Murray. He seemed to progress in terms of firing in the face of pressure and displayed some quality pocket movement while firing in tight spaces. He can be good in the short to intermediate levels of the field as well. He is what teams look for in reliable backup quarterbacks.
Lions 2014 Draft Picks (8)
First Round (No. 10)
Second Round (No. 45)
Third Round (No. 76)
Fourth Round (No. 111)
Fourth Round (No. 133)
Fourth Round (No. 136)
Sixth Round (No. 189)
Seventh Round (No. 227)
Current Lions First-Team Offense
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Reggie Bush
WR: Calvin Johnson
WR: Golden Tate
TE: Brandon Pettigrew
TE: Joseph Fauria
LT: Riley Reiff
LG: Rob Sims
C: Dominic Raiola
RG: Larry Warford
RT: LaAdrian Waddle
Current Lions First-Team Defense
RE: Ziggy Ansah
LE: Jason Jones
DT: Ndamukong Suh
DT: Nick Fairley
MLB: Stephen Tulloch
WLB: DeAndre Levy
SLB: Ashlee Palmer
LCB: Chris Houston
RCB: Darius Slay
FS: Glover Quin
SS: James Ihedigbo