Ok, we have a hole at MLB. Assume we don't draft Curry #1.
We have two fast, versatile OLB's in Sims and Peterson. Management has indicated that they want primarily a run-stuffer in the middle. Rey Maualuga, USC, is likely the hardest-hitting best run-stuffing linebacker in this draft, Aaron Curry included. He may not have the coverage abilities and the versatility, but that's not what we need most from our Mike.
We need to make sure the flood of missed tackles we saw throughout 2008 does not happen again. That should be priority #1 in our defensive roster upgrades. It doesn't matter how good our secondary is if teams consistently beat us with the simplest of all game-plans--just run up the middle all day long.
Why not a Cornerback?
Detroit's defense had the fewest passes-against in the entire league last year. Why try passing against the Lions when you can consistently just run up the middle? It wouldn't matter much if we had Nnamdi & Deion glued to the opposing receivers all game long...if we allow 7 yards a carry, we're going to lose. I am exaggerating a little here, but you see my point--if teams don't need to throw against us, our cornerbacks' value is diminished, so why spend a high pick on them without fixing the run defense first?
Why not a Defensive Tackle?
I'd love to draft Raji, but there's no way he'll last past the top 12 (I'm predicting either JAX at #8, GB at #9, or DEN at #12).
I see a lot of mock drafts with the Lions taking somebody like Peria Jerry (Ole Miss, 6'2-290) or Ziggy Hood (Missouri, 6'4-296) in the draft.
We just drafted Andre Fluellen (Florida St, 6'2-296) with a third-round pick last year.
While Fluellen didn't receive as much playing time as we'd like to have seen last year, I think two factors outside of his potential could explain it:
1. Cory Redding already owned the starting UT spot
2. Our coaches last year, desperate for a win, insisted on playing veterans rather than giving young players a shot (I mean, a 290-pound Culpepper, off the street, starts five days out of retirement? seriously?).
Whatever the situation, I'm of the persuasion that when you spend a first- or second-round pick on a defender, he'd better be able to start sometime as a rookie.
When you spend a third-round pick on the guy (which is still a significant investment), and you sit him behind a veteran at his position for a year, and then the veteran departs leaving an opening, you give the guy the chance to start. You don't immediately spend a draft pick on somebody else with exactly the same size, position, and skill-set, who is a little bit more talented. In other words, don't draft guys you already have.
Why not Offensive Line?
The top-tier tackles will be gone by #20, and we shoudn't reach for a second-tier tackle like Britton or Beatty at #20 when we could probably get one of them at #33, or even trade down a little farther.
We still have Backus under contract, which gives us a lot of options. We don't need a LT immediately as long as we get one next year. We could take an elite LT at #1 and slide Backus to Guard, or take a Guard somewhere in round 2 or 3. We certainly have the draft picks to put together a trade that allows us to take somebody at the right value spot without even needing to reach. Somebody like Max Unger, who has the talent, versatility, and experience to play any position along the interior OL should be easy for us to target in the 2nd round.
We have the flexibility and the picks to go OL later and still get a good upgrade--let's get our immediate-impact defender right now.
Okay this post is getting longer than I thought...thanks for reading my rambling; I'll get right to the poll...thanks for any input!