After completing a 10-6 season in 2011 and earning a long awaited spot in the NFL Playoffs, the Detroit Lions slumped in 2012. The team started the season 4-4 and then lost eight straight games to post a horrid 4-12 record, good for last place in the NFC North.
The Lions reward for finishing with a 4-12 record is the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. After making several changes to the team’s coaching personnel, the key figures of the 2012 seasons will stick around with the team. Those key team officials should plan a place to meet on Monday to watch the Discover BCS National Championship Game.
On Monday, number one ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish takes on the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The game features a load of players that will be taken in next year’s draft. In fact, in my December mock draft, I had a total of seven players from these two teams projected to go in the first round of 2013. Of particular note, I listed two of the players in this game as possibilities at number five for the Lions.
One player the Lions could draft is Manti Te’o. The linebacker from Notre Dame finished as the runner-up in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. While at Notre Dame, Te’o led the team in tackles several seasons and now ranks in the top ten on the school’s all time list. Te’o was a Butkus Trophy winner in high school and college. The Lions should watch the intensity of Te’o during the game and they will be able to see how quickly he reads the opposing team’s quarterback and is able to get to the ball.
My favorite pick for the Lions in 2013 is cornerback Dee Milliner. The Crimson Tide defender is one of the best at his position in the game. The Lions saw several injuries at this position during the 2012 season. The team has also passed over capable corners in the first round of every draft. The position is a need and should be at the top of the Lions off-season plans. Some analysts have questioned whether any corner is worth a top ten pick this year. The Lions should judge for themselves and see how Milliner stacks up against the Notre Dame offense.