Detroit Lions: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft

1 of 6

Detroit Lions: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft

Lions
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

Last season the Lions suffered an epic collapse in the division. They had a lead in the division while the rival Bears and Packers had several key injuries and were struggling. Somehow, though, the Lions managed to give the division away in the waning weeks of the season and the Packers eventually represented the division in the NFC playoffs. A fundamental shift in attitudes is going to have to take place in Detroit in order for things to turn around.

By hiring Jeff Caldwell as their new head coach, the Lions took the first step toward shifting those attitudes. Caldwell isn't going to stand idly by as his team makes mental mistakes and takes cheap shots the way Jim Schwartz did. Part of the reason for that is that Schwartz had largely the same mentality that his players did. With Caldwell now at the helm, expect the Lions to be a more disciplined team on both sides of the ball.

Attitudes weren't the only reason for the collapse in Detroit, however. Decreased offensive production in the final third of the season raised serious questions about quarterback Matthew Stafford and his ability to win under pressure. In order to help him out, the team needs to add a couple more offensive weapons this offseason. Beyond that, they need to shore up a secondary that couldn't seem to stop anyone a season ago.

Filling the holes that this team has starts with the draft. They can compliment their draft picks with savvy free agent signings, but building sustained success is a result of good drafting. The Lions haven't been known to be the best drafting team, although they have hit on several defensive line picks in recent years. Defensive line isn't the problem in Detroit, just about the rest of the defense is though. The team will need to address that in the draft in order to be competitive in 2014. How well they can fill the holes on both sides of the ball during the draft this year could go a long way toward determining what type of season the Lions have in 2014.

Jacob Kornhauser is a writer for RantSports.com. "Like" him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your Google+ network.

2 of 6

WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (Round 1)

Evans
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

The Lions desperately need an offensive weapon to compliment all-pro Calvin Johnson. Due to receiving double coverage and safety shading, Megatron started to struggle toward the end of this past season. Taking Evans, who is another big-bodied playmaker, could do just that for the Lions. Once he established himself, he could start taking double teams away from Johnson and even when the double teams stayed on Johnson, he would be open to make plays in space.

3 of 6

CB Marcus Roberson, Florida (Round 2)

FLA
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The Lions desperately need help in the secondary and Roberson would give them that. He's a very talented defensive back if he slips to the Lions in the second round. His coverage skills are solid and would go a long way toward solidifying the struggling Detroit secondary going forward.

4 of 6

S Terrance Brooks, Florida State (Round 3)

FSU
Jeff Gammons - Getty Images

To go with their hard-nosed defensive mentality, the Lions could use hard-hitting safety Terrance Brooks. His coverage skills are there, but aren't elite. Flying into the gap and punishing opposing receivers is what he will do best and that's how he can impact the opposing passing game.

5 of 6

OLB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA (Round 4)

UCLA
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

While the Lions' linebacking corps was fairly solid a year ago, they could use some speed on the outside. Adding a speed-rusher on the outside would compliment the pass rush of their front four and limit the outside running game of opposing offenses. UCLA's Jordan Zumwalt fits that mold and could fall as low as the fourth round. If he's there, the Lions better take a look, because he could be a surprise in training camp.

6 of 6

TE Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State (Round 5)

TE
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

Adding playmakers on offense needs to be a priority this offseason to take pressure off of Calvin Johnson. They can do that by adding receivers and they can also do it by taking a play making tight end. Gilmore, out of Colorado State, could be a good option in the middle rounds of the draft. He's a big body that could be a dump down option for Stafford when plays break down and his other playmakers aren't open.


Around the Web

  • straw walker

    Evans will be a bust, big attitude, cannot find open space, and that was in college. How will he separate in the NFL..Likes to push-off and that’s a penalty in the NFL. No speed, doesn’t come back to the QB. Likes to stand and wait, Only knows 2 routes and doesn’t run them well.