Lets take a look at the Lions draft visits to see if we can determine what they are looking for in this draft. We can use this information to build a Board by Round, and also see what they are looking for in their prospects at each position.
DE(7 Players): Whitney Mercilus(Projected Round: 1), Andre Branch(R1-2):, Vinny Curry(R:2-3), Tyrone Crawford(R:2-3), Josh Kaddu(R:3-4), Braylon Broughton(R:6-7), Kaelin Burnett(R:7-FA).
Why DE: Only KVB is under contract for next year.
Common Theme: Quick and fast with pass rush ability. These players all ran in the 4.6 range except Crawford, and are all much better at getting to the QB than playing the run.
Why this theme: The Lions scheme only asks the line to rush the passer. How many times did we see KVB blow passed an inside hand off last year? Because they play the wide 9 technique, the ability to gain the edge quickly is very important.
CB(5): Dre Kirkpatrick(R:1), Josh Norman(R:3-5), Keith Tandy(R:4-5), Conroy Black(R:6-FA), Isaiah Frey(R:7-FA)
Why CB: Only starting spot on defense that would appear to be open. Clear upgrade is needed after getting torched late in the year.
Common Theme: Press man coverage is their strength. They also excel at tackling and playing the run.
Why this Theme: The Lions want their CB's to play close to the line. This requires good press coverage skills. Because the wide 9 can open up some big running lanes, the CB's need to help fill those holes and bring down RB's.
OL(7): Mike Adams(R:1-2), Amini Silatolu(R:2), Kelechi Osemele(R:2-3), Brandon Brooks(R:2-3), Dennis Kelly(R:7-FA), J.C. Oram(R:FA), Kevin Murphy(R:FA).
Why OL: This group is aging, and the teams actions indicate they are trying to upgrade the RG spot.
Common Theme: The guards are all mean strong road grating run blockers, who may eventually play tackle. Adams is the only player who seems to translate to T right away, but with his nasty run blocking demeanor could the Lions see him as a RG who could develop?
Why this Theme: It appears clear that the Lions are looking for someone to push Peterman and maybe Cherilus. They are clearly looking to improve the run blocking along the line.
RB(4): Lamar Miller(R:2-3), LaMichael James(R:2-3), Bryce Brown(R:7-FA), Derrick Coleman(R:FA) NOTE: They also spent a lot of time at the senior bowl with: Doug Martin(R:1-2), Isaiah Pead(R:2-3), and Chris Polk(R:2-3).
Why RB: No clear healthy starter at this time.
Common Theme: These backs all have good receiving skills, with the speed to go the distance.
Why this Theme: Lions will continue to be a pass first team needing a RB who can catch, block, and create mismatches.
WR(3): A.J. Jenkins(R:2-3), Rishard Matthews(R:3-4), David Douglas(R:FA),
Why WR: No clear 4th WR on roster. Could use a player to help with returns and be an effective slot receiver.
Common Theme: None with these 3, but if you Devon Wylie(R:6-7) whom Lions WR coach worked out for his pro day, it seems like they are looking for a prototypical slot WR. A WR with enough quickness to get separation on underneath routes.
Why this Theme: The Lions would like to be able to go to more 4 wideout sets, but lack a reliable slot WR. How much more dangerous could they become with a Wes Welker playing in the slot?
Board by Round:
Round 1: Whitney Mercilus, Andre Branch, Dre Kirkpatrick, Mike Adams, Doug Martin.
Round 2: Vinny Curry, Tyrone Crawford, Amini Silatolu, Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Brooks, Lamar Miller.
Round 3-4: LaMichael James, Isaiah Pead, Chris Polk, AJ Jenkins, Rishard Matthews, Josh Norman, Keith Tandy, Josh Kaddu.
Round 5-7: Brandon Broughton, Kaelin Burnett, Conroy Black, Isaiah Frey, Dennis Kelly, Devon Wylie, Bryce Brown.