The Detroit Lions went 9-7 in 2016 and made the playoffs via a wild card birth. The main news surrounding the Lions this offseason revolved around the offensive line. Riley Reiff and Larry Warford are headed to new teams while the Lions brought in Ricky Wagner to become the new right tackle. Can the Detroit Lions find some key pieces in the 2017 NFL Draft so they can return to the postseason?
With the 21st overall pick, the Lions could target the secondary. Outside of Darrius Slay, the Lions secondary is a complete mess. The Lions could stay the local route and take Michigan product Jabrill Peppers to plug in at safety. Peppers can also play linebacker and nickel cornerback to help with matchup problems. In a division with the Packers and Vikings, Peppers could be the answer. Both Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson will become free agents next season.
If Detroit wants to go with more of the free safety mold, Obi Melifonwu could be the pick instead. If Miles Killebrew can develop as that in the box safety, Melifonwu could be the better fit. The former UConn product had one of the more freakish combines in recent memory and has been flying up draft boards. Melifonwu is a raw player but could really develop into one of the best safeties in the NFL with elite measurables.
In round 2, the Lions might look to upgrade the defensive tackle position. Former Lions draft picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly are missed so let’s find a suitable replacement. Another former Michigan player Chris Wormley figures to be a nice fit. Wormley would immediately be slotted next to Haloti Ngata and gives the Lions interior line pressure that has been lacking in recent years. Wormley really looked solid at the Senior Bowl and could really shine in those 3rd down rush situations.
The 3rd round could be a place where the Lions look to help out Matthew Stafford more. Eric Ebron is an adequate tight end but has largely disappointed as a former top 10 selection. Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech could be the perfect fit. Hodges is more known as a pass catching tight end that is a blocking liability, to say the least. While Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are nice weapons, Hodges would be that big bodied middle of the field target. Hodges was one of the best combine performers at his respective position posting a 4.57 – 40 time, and incredible jumping numbers (39″ vertical – 134″ broad jump).