Heading into round three of the NFL Draft at 10 a.m. today, the Lions still need a running back, a defensive end, and a cornerback. Additionally, Detroit may look to add a defensive tackle and a true middle linebacker to fully fill all of their needs.
Just based on speculation alone, I would expect Detroit to select a running back with their first third-round pick (66th overall). They swapped third-rounders with Kansas City when they moved down in the first-round, and this will put them on the clock early on in day two. The top ten running backs still available according to Scouts, Inc. are:
- Jamaal Charles (Texas)
- Kevin Smith (Central Florida)
- Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech)
- Chauncey Washington (Southern Cal)
- Steve Slaton (West Virginia)
- Mike Hart (Michigan)
- Thomas Brown (Georgia)
- Justin Forsett (Cal)
- Anthony Alridge (Houston)
- Cory Boyd (South Carolina)
Detroit could wait until their second third-rounder (87th overall and hope someone from 3-6 is still left, but I wouldn't take that chance. Jamaal Charles would be a solid pick, and Kevin Smith wouldn't be too shabby either. After that, though, it's really a crap shoot, especially since Detroit has to wait for 21 more picks until they are back on the clock.
The other needs that will be addressed today are at defensive end, defensive tackle, and cornerback. Again Detroit could and probably will add another linebacker, but I really don't think it'll be too early on day two. Regardless of that, below are the top five available players at the first three positions mentioned, again according to Scouts, Inc.
- Cliff Avril (Purdue)
- Jeremy Thompson (Wake Forest)
- Chris Ellis (Virginia Tech)
- Kendall Langford (Hampton)
- Darrell Robertson (Georgia Tech)
- Marcus Harrison (Arkansas)
- Pat Sims (Auburn)
- Andre Fluellen (Florida State)
- Dre Moore (Maryland)
- Red Bryant (Texas A&M)
- Justin King (Penn State)
- Charles Godfrey (Iowa)
- Reggie Smith (Oklahoma)
- Tyvon Branch (Connecticut)
- Chevis Jackson (LSU)
Keep these names in mind when you watch the draft tomorrow as I imagine a couple will end up being drafted by the Lions. There will undoubtedly be more surprises and obviously more trades, but for Detroit, they just need to find players that can make this team better. Although the first two rounds are about the well known and high-profile players, the final five are where teams win games. Anybody other than Matt Millen can draft a well known player and have it work out well, but very few can scout talent and find sleepers and hidden gems. Detroit has never been very good at finding late-round studs in the past, but hopefully that'll change this year.