Sep 28, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies safety Jimmie Ward (15) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Northern Illinois won 55-24. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Needs: Detroit Lions


Is the 2014 NFL Draft here already? Sorry, we’re just a few days away but in the meantime I’ll help you navigate which draft needs rivals of the Chicago Bears, our NFC North friends. Put down your selfish Bears caps for a few minutes, take a look at what the opponent will be aiming for in the draft.

Detroit Lions: The Lions had high hopes for the 2013 season, but couldn’t keep it together coming down the stretch as they finished just one game behind the Bears last season. Since the NFC North is such a tight division, a few key draft selections could be what it takes for the Lions to edge ahead the competition.

CORNERBACK. In order to continue to stay competitive in the NFC North, every team has to be able to defend the sidelines and limit the talented wide receivers in the division. Sitting at the No. 10 overall selection, it’s likely the Lions will have the choice of any defensive back prospect. I say, this is where you take your cornerback and take Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert. It’s tenacious, extremely quick, and overall good size for what you’d like in your cornerback. You’re not going to win the division with Darius Slay as your main cornerback.

OFFENSIVE GUARD. In 2013, quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for just one interception LESS than his rookie season which was his career high of 20. Clearly, Stafford is no rookie, so it’s time to get him some support upfront. I think that 1st-round pick needs to be address the defensive backfield. So aim for an offensive guard in the 3rd-round for a guy like Colorado State’s Weston Richburg.

WIDE RECEIVER. The Lions did themselves a favor and picked up wide receiver Golden Tate fresh off his Super Bowl victory to be the number two guy. I’m not convinced that Megatron and Golden Tate, along with tight end Brandon Pettigrew, will be enough to lift them far into the playoffs. Sure with Tate it becomes a fearsome depth chart, but I see the Lions adding another wide receiver in this draft to help with the playoff push. South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington is a great, under valued prospect that the Lions could grab in the third round.

SAFETY. With that No. 10 overall pick, I could see them even taking Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I would say safety is lower on the priority list because they do have Glover Quin who is a solid starter, but no one reliable at strong safety. But, since they have Quin it might be wise to address this position in the second round. Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward would be ideal here, if not grab Washington State’s Deone Bucannon. Ward is extremely versatile as he can line up with the slot, roll back deep and even help against the run. He’s a risk taker, but yet there are questions going from NIU to the NFL.

For the Bears fans:

-No matter what, the Lions will add a superior talent at their No. 8 spot. Whoever that person is, the Bears will need to pay attention to especially if it’s the roudy cornerback Justin Gilbert. He’s a disrupter and a play-maker.

-NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport recently reported that the Detroit Lions expressed some interest in moving in up the top 5. Why? Sammy Watkins. Yikes. Granted the Lions would have to give up at least one of their total 8 draft picks, which isn’t a lot of picks as it is.

My take: The 2014 NFL Draft is just as big for the Detroit Lions as it is for the Chicago Bears. A few key players may just be it for them, just like us so they’re pretty important. I wouldn’t shocked in the slightest if the Lions also tried to grab a defensive tackle in the 3rd-round because of some looming questions regarding Nick Fairly and Ndamukong Suh. I’m going to be closely paying attention to their first three picks.

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Tags: Calvin Johnson Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Draft Needs Golden Tate Jimmie Ward Justin Gilbert NFC North Sammy Watkins Weston Richburg