The Detroit Lions addressed three of their top needs in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. Defensive end and offensive line were both considered primary needs going into the draft, and the Lions addressed them by drafting Ezekiel Ansah in the first round and Larry Warford in the third round. Also, the Lions drafted Darius Slay in the second round, filling their top pre-draft secondary need, which was cornerback.
As we get ready for the final four rounds of the draft, what needs remain for the Lions? Let's re-rank our list from earlier this week based on what's happened so far.
Wide receiver - This is the only primary need that is left thanks to the Ansah and Warford picks. The Lions still could use a No. 2 type of wide receiver, and their best bet is probably to find one in the fourth round (either by using their compensatory pick or making a deal to get an additional, earlier fourth-rounder).
Defensive tackle - The Lions are in need of a fourth defensive tackle who can see time in the rotation while developing. I anticipate that one of the Lions' Day 3 picks will address this need.
Tight end - The Lions could use a third tight end whose primary attribute is blocking. They need someone to replace Will Heller and provide extra depth behind Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler.
Defensive end - Although the Lions already picked Ansah, I made this a secondary need since they could still use some extra depth. Ansah, Jason Jones and Willie Young figure to be the top three defensive ends, and the recently arrested Ronnell Lewis is currently set to be next on the depth chart. I'd like to see the Lions add additional depth to compete with Lewis and give them the option of keeping five defensive ends on the roster this year.
Punter - Especially if the Lions trade down and get extra picks, it's very possible they could draft a punter at some point. This is an area where the Lions really need to get better in 2013, and I don't think it would be wise to ignore this need simply because Blake Clingan is on the roster.
Center - The Lions are set at offensive guard thanks to the Warford pick, meaning guys like Bill Nagy and Rodney Austin should be able to focus on beating out Dominic Raiola at center. Even so, I still consider this a secondary need since there isn't a clear-cut option to replace Raiola, who is entering the final year of his contract. The Lions need to upgrade this position at some point, and drafting someone might be the way to go.
Offensive tackle - With the Lions taking Warford, Riley Reiff is staying at offensive tackle. He is expected to start at left tackle, and Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will likely compete at right tackle. At this point in the draft, you're probably not going to find a tackle who can come in and beat out any of those guys, but there could be some value in drafting a developmental tackle as extra depth.
Outside linebacker - Just as was the case coming into the draft, the Lions could use some extra depth at outside linebacker considering there is an opening in the starting lineup. This isn't a pressing need by any means, though, as the Lions have Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis ready to compete for that vacancy at the top of the depth chart.
Running back - If the Lions can find a speedy running back with the ability to return kicks and punts, it might be wise to draft him. If not, I don't see much of a need for a running back.
Safety - The Lions have more than enough bodies at safety, but perhaps they could use an upgrade in the talent department. That's the only reasoning I can see behind the idea of them drafting a safety on Saturday.
Kicker - David Akers and Havard Rugland will battle it out for the starting job (with Akers expected to win the competition).
Middle linebacker - Stephen Tulloch is the starter, and the Lions have a couple players on the roster who could shift inside if necessary (DeAndre Levy and Travis Lewis).
Cornerback - After drafting Slay in the second round, this position is more than set.
Quarterback - If the Lions had more picks, there could be value in drafting one of the quarterbacks who is sliding. The Lions aren't currently in that position, though, so I can't imagine they will even consider selecting a QB on Saturday.