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Ranking the Lions’ biggest needs heading into Day 2 of the draft

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The Lions have checked the box at tight end, but still have plenty of holes to address on Friday night.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions put an emphatic checkmark on their roster with the selection of Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eight overall pick on Thursday night. There’s no reason to think they have any need to focus on tight ends for the rest of the draft, and there are other positions waiting to be bolstered as we head into Day 2. Here’s how they stack up:

1. Cornerback

A lot of people have overlooked the position, but the Lions are desperate for help at cornerback, They’re a Darius Slay injury away from having a disastrous secondary.

Rashaan Melvin was signed to presumably take over the CB2 spot, but as our own Mansur Shaheen found when reviewing the film, there’s not enough reason to trust him given his inconsistent play and proven unreliability. That leaves Justin Coleman, who has spent the last several years playing in the slot for Seattle and hasn’t regularly played outside corner since 2016 with the Patriots.

Luckily for the Lions, the cornerbacks in this year’s draft just about all slid on Day 1 and the Lions could even trade down in the second round, get more picks, and still get their guy if they went corner that early. Guys like Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye, Michigan State’s Justin Layne, and Michigan’s David Long are all press man corners who the Lions should give serious consideration to.

2. Guard

With TJ Lang’s retirement came a gaping hole at right guard, already exposed due to Lang’s frequent injuries. His replacement, Kenny Wiggins, was solid in pass protection but ended up liable for a blown-up backfield almost every time the Lions ran the ball. While free agent signee Oday Aboushi should be a step up from Wiggins, his skill profile is much the same and doesn’t match the identity the Lions are clearly trying to establish as a power running team.

The Atlanta Falcons reached for the best guard in the draft in Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom with the 14th overall pick on Thursday night. On Day 2, the names to watch include Wisconsin’s Michael Deiter and Texas’s Erik McCoy. Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford slid out of the first round and may be a prime candidate for conversion to guard.

I am a bit worried that Lions brass is content with Aboushi starting at guard and won’t address the position as much as they should. The next 48 hours will tell us whether or not that’s the case.

3. Wide Receiver

I wrote earlier this week about the Lions’ need to draft a slot receiver, and even in spite of their drafting T.J. Hockenson on Thursday I think a wide receiver is firmly in the mix for their Day 2 picks.

Darrell Bevell’s offenses typically distribute target shares in order of WR1, WR2, and TE1. As it stands, Marvin Jones Jr. or Kenny Golladay will take WR1, potentially two as well, and Hockenson will inevitably be TE1. If the offensive staff wants to slide a slot receiver in the WR2 role, they’ll need to nab one in the draft. There’s no guarantee that the 33-year-old Danny Amendola will rebound this year, and even if he does, the depth at the position is an eye sore.

Names to look for on Day 2 include South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, and Ole Miss’ AJ Brown and D.K. Metcalf.

Fortunately for the Lions, all three of their biggest needs are stacked with options that will last well into Day 2, so perhaps a trade down in the second round to get extra picks could end up with them checking boxes for all three positions on Friday.