Detroit Lions 2012 Draft Preview
A series of outstanding drafts has built the up-and-coming Lions to the point where the 2011 playoff participants can now use the early rounds to focus on fixing specific weaknesses, and there are two areas that stand out as potential deficiencies on an otherwise well-stocked roster. The most glaring hole is at cornerback, as Detroit's pass defense collapsed down the stretch of last season and veteran starter Eric Wright left via free agency, and the team may not hesitate to take Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick or South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore if either is still around at the No. 23 overall pick. The Lions will also have an eye on an offensive tackle, with longtime left-side starter Jeff Backus having shown signs of breaking down and former first-round choice Gosder Cherilus entering the last year of his contract. Outside linebackers Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy are also set to hit free agency after this season, so future replacements may also be sought after there at some point of this draft, and there's still some concern at running back despite the recent high selections of Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure. Best has been plagued by concussions throughout his brief pro career, while Leshoure missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles.
2011 Record: 10-6
Top Needs: CB, OT, OLB
First Three Picks: No. 23, No. 54, No. 85
Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn); 2010 - Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska), Jahvid Best (RB, California); 2009 - Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia), Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State); 2008 - Gosder Cherilus (OT, Boston College); 2007 - Calvin Johnson (WR, Georgia Tech); 2006 - Ernie Sims (LB, Florida State); 2005 - Mike Williams (WR, USC); 2004 - Roy Williams (WR, Texas), Kevin Jones (RB, Virginia Tech); 2003 - Charles Rogers (WR, Michigan State).