While the first overall pick of every NFL draft is practically a given by the time we reach draft weekend, the fifth overall pick is anything but—especially when the Detroit Lions are holding on to it.
So, if you find yourself joining the pigskin pundits in an effort to uncover the Lions’ future selection with that No. 5 pick, I have two words for you: good luck.
As it stands, GM Martin Mayhew and Co. simply have too many personnel decisions left to make before they’ll have an exact idea of what position, or even side of the ball, will become priority No. 1 on draft day. Even after free agency, the NFL Combine, pro days and everything in between helps eliminate some of the uncertainty, they likely won’t know for sure. We surely won’t.
Not only that, there are four atrocious teams ahead of Detroit and I have a gut feeling they’ll all be just as confused as to who they should take until the moment they’re on the clock. This isn’t 2012 when we already knew Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were locks to go No. 1 and No. 2 (in no particular order) months before commissioner Roger Goodell actually took the stage at Radio City Music Hall.
As with any team that selects in the Top Five of the first round these days, the Lions do know one thing: unless they try really hard to fail here, they’ll likely be landing a sure-fire starter from day one with their pick. Detroit could use a few of those, but gets only one. The Lions could use a Chance Warmack (Alabama) to replace the recently released Stephen Peterman at right guard. How about a Dee Milliner (Alabama) to come in and take over one of the cornerback spots. There are at least three defensive ends who currently seem worthy of the No. 5 pick that could fill the void left by Kyle Vanden Bosch or even Cliff Avril should the free agent head elsewhere this spring.
And, the list goes on. There are so many potential choices, and any one of them playing a position outside of quarterback could be used to immediately improve this roster. You won’t come across many 4-12 teams as talented as the Lions, but they still have a bag full of question marks heading into the 2013 season.
As unfortunate as it may be, Detroit has a roster littered with players that are entering free agency (Avril, Gosder Cherilus and Chris Houston to name a couple), have legitimate age and/or durability concerns (Jahvid Best, Jeff Backus, Dominic Raiola) or even both (Louis Delmas).
Unless they just come right out and say it, the odds of predicting who the Detroit Lions will be selecting at No. 5 are slim-to-none. And they won’t be doing that (for obvious reasons), especially considering there’s a solid chance one of the four teams ahead of them will be eyeing whatever prospect tops Detroit’s draft board come April.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a blast trying, because it always is. Just don’t expect to get this one right, I know won’t.