From hot to not. That’s the best way to describe the Detroit Lions 2012 regular season, and with that total collapse, comes a bevy of questions regarding the team’s number one need in 2013.
To give a short idea here, this team was coached pretty well in 2012, but the players (not all of them) just simply failed to give their best through 16 games.
The Detroit Lions struggled on both defense and offense. But it’s on the defensive side of the ball that I believe we’ll find the team’s biggest 2013 need.
Every blogger, beat writer, Sunday scribe and “expert” is screaming corner, corner, corner! Well the truth is, that would be a waste of a first round pick, and here’s why.
The Lions rolled the dice by selecting Bill Bentley in the third round last season and up until Week 6, it had appeared to be paying off. In addition to Bentley going down, top cover man Chris Houston went down a few weeks later.
In addition to injuries at the corner spot, both top safeties Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas were often injured as well last season. Despite all the injuries to the secondary, however, the Detroit Lions finished 14th in total pass coverage.
They finished 16th against the run, and were burned frequently from the intermediate passing routes—two areas that ARE NOT the primary concern of a corner unless allocated within a particular scheme.
As far as I’m concerned, the Detroit Lions primary team need is at linebacker.
Both DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant are free agents this season and the Lions cannot afford to re-sign both. They also do not have any younger talent on their roster they can turn to—at corner, they do: Jonte Green.
I believe the Detroit Lions can find what they are looking for in Georgia’s Jarvis Jones.
Jones is the type of player who can play out of man or zone in coverage, as well as, help stymie the run and he is best known for his uncanny ability as an edge rusher.
This team would benefit greatly from a young franchise-type linebacker who can bolster this defense at the second level. Now a few people have him going early—possibly to Oakland—but I’m not seeing it. Oakland needs more of a true DT than an OLB.
And if the Detroit Lions and their fanbase are that worried about a corner, consider this scenario:
At number 5, the Detroit Lions may miss out on Dee Milliner who is currently the top rated corner in the draft, but they could certainly be right in line to stumble upon Mississippi’s Jon Banks, who is projected to go in the second round.
To be honest with you, there isn’t much difference between the two players other than the fact the Detroit Lions can kill two birds with one stone, and still receive first round talent at the CB and OLB position with Jones and Banks.
Let us know who you believe the Lions will target, and/or what you think their biggest need is. This concludes the NFC North portion of my coverage. Next up will be the NFC East starting Monday. Check below for expanded NFC North coverage.