Tuesday, we discussed specific positions in which the Detroit Lions should absolutely avoid taking in the first round. Aside from the obvious quarterback and special teams positions, most—but not all—fans seemed to agree that skill positions would be a bit of a luxury pick in the first round. Fans were particularly averse to the idea of drafting a tight end, as suggested by SB Nation’s Dan Kadar earlier in the week.
Now let’s discuss the other side to the question. We have our opinions on what position the Lions should avoid, now let’s discuss positions that the Lions absolutely need to address in the first two days of the NFL Draft (Rounds 1-3).
What position do the Lions have to address in the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft?
My answer: Obviously a lot can change after free agency, but regardless of what happens the Lions absolutely need to invest at least one high draft pick in a defensive lineman. In the rundown of the Lions roster on Tuesday’s top 5 defensive needs article, it became clear to me just how desperate Detroit’s situation along the front four is. They only have two defensive tackles currently under contract for the 2017 season and one of those players is 33 years old.
The situation at defensive end isn’t any better, as the Lions are currently looking at starting Kerry Hyder opposite Ezekiel Ansah. Hyder had a breakout season in 2016, but many forget how quickly his production dropped off after a hot start. In the Lions’ final eight games, including their playoff game, Hyder only had a single sack.
Considering the heavy rotation the Lions use on the defensive line, Detroit not only needs players that can challenge for a starting role, but they need quite a few depth players, as well. I’m sure they will take care of some of that in free agency, but I would be shocked if the Lions didn’t draft at least two defensive linemen in April’s draft.