Detroit Lions Roster Moves Change 2013 NFL Draft Priorities

By Chris Katje
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the three days since Super Bowl XLVII, the Detroit Lions have released three players to trim their salary cap for the 2013 NFL season.

On Monday, the Lions cut troubled wide receiver Titus Young in an unsurprising move. The Lions have depth at the receiver position with Calvin Johnson and the return of Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson from injuries. Two other positions now need more work in the 2013 NFL Draft after cuts made Tuesday.

With the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch, which angered some Lions players, the Lions are now relatively thin at the defensive end position. Cliff Avril remains a free agent for the team and the team has only one player signed at the DE position. I listed Demontre Moore, from Texas A&M, as a possibility at the number five overall pick. Bjoern Werner, from Florida State, has also moved into several mock drafts for the Lions.

One player I highlighted was Ezekiel Ansah, from smaller BYU. Ansah is a defensive end that has moved up draft boards with his performance in the Senior Bowl. The Lions, as coaches in the annual game, got a chance to see Ansah up close.

The Lions also released offensive guard Stephen Peterman. In the last three seasons, Peterman started all 48 games for the Lions. His departure creates a huge void on the offensive line. The Lions also have several free agents at the offensive tackle position. The Lions could take an offensive lineman with the fifth pick.

Luke Joeckel is expected to go in the first five picks of the 2013 draft. If the offensive tackle from Texas A&M is available at #5, the Lions should pounce on him. If Joeckel is gone as expected, the team could settle on Central Michigan University offensive lineman Eric Fisher. By settle, I mean take an amazing tackle who has been moving up draft boards and could easily be a top ten pick. I profiled Fisher in my Senior Bowl article.

In my original NFL Mock Draft, I had the Lions taking cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama. Cornerback remains a priority for the Lions. However, these two cuts create higher priorities for the Lions fifth overall pick. I expect the Lions to take a DE or OL with their fifth pick.

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