Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew made no bones about it on Wednesday: He is not happy with how the team's defense played in 2012. While the defense was reliable at times during the season, it lacked a certain play-making ability. It wasn't a big threat to force turnovers, and it especially wasn't a threat to turn turnovers into points. This is why Mayhew stressed that he wants the Lions defense to have playmakers and not just guys who simply get the job done. From the Free Press:
"We need guys that can impact the game. We've got a lot of guys that are good guys. They line up right, they know what their job is, but they don't impact the game. We need interceptors. We need guys that sack the quarterback. We need guys that cause fumbles, guys that make plays on third down. Those are the kind of guys that can change the game for us."
Mayhew took his criticism of the defense a step further by saying that only Ndamukong Suh showed improvement in 2012 and that the rest of the team's defenders didn't meet his expectations, according to Anwar Richardson. I don't completely agree with that assessment given how well Nick Fairley played in 2012, but Mayhew is right. The defense has to be better, especially when it comes to making impact plays. The defensive ends can't disappear, just as the cornerbacks and safeties can't fall apart on third down.
Based on Mayhew's comments, I think it's safe to say the Lions will be looking at taking a defensive player with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. What's more, I think it's safe to say they will be looking at taking a pass-rusher. There are plenty of good ones that should be on the board when the Lions go on the clock, and considering Mayhew has put the defense's lack of play-making ability on notice, taking the best available pass-rusher would make a lot of sense.