Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/13/12
1. Season Summary
One of the preseason darlings going into last season, the Lions lived up to the hype by making their first playoff appearance since 1999. Matthew Stafford showed what he's capable of when healthy, passing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns; while Calvin Johnson led the aerial attack with 16 touchdowns receptions. They lacked consistency in the running game after Jahvid Best was lost for the season due to injury, and the secondary was their obvious Achilles heel. 

2. 2011 Record
10-7; Lost Playoff Wild Card Round (vs Saints 28-45)

3. Positions Of Need
As I wrote about in my NFC needs column, the Lions have four positions they really need to zero in on. First and foremost, the secondary. Aaron Berry was embarrassed in their lone playoff game, and it's not like they have help behind him. Taking into consideration the sharp incline this team is on, they should opt to bring in young talent through the draft as opposed to signing expensive free agents. Moving on, no matter what happens with Stephen Tulloch, they need linebacker help, preferably athletic LB's that can clean up anything their Front 4 somehow misses. Lastly, the Lions needs to target OL depth, their success will always hinge on whether Matthew Stafford is healthy or not.  

4. First Round Target(s)
There are two players that could fall to Detroit that would make them much better immediately. I want to start with saying that Janoris Jenkins may very well fall to them, but I wouldn't touch him. He has raw talent, but he still lacks some skills needed in the zone scheme and that's nothing compared to the headache he may be off the field. Instead, let's hope that Dre Kirkpatrick falls to Detroit at 23. While some scouts go back and forth debating if he can stick at CB or will have to eventually move to Safety, there's no doubting his talent. Detroit needs secondary help, period. Kirkpatrick would provide that immediately. If Kirkpatrick is off the board, or should they choose to address the secondary later, they should take a hard look at Cordy Glenn, OL out of Georgia. Glenn would be able to step in and compete for playing time right away. As I said, whatever they have to do to keep Stafford upright, they need to do. Other Possibilities: Stephen Gilmore, Dont'a Hightower

5. Vultures
Yes, there a few teams that could nab the CB's before Detroit is on the clock. If I were in the Lions war room, I would be most worried about the Bengals at 17 & 21, not only will they look to target secondary help, but they'll also be in the market for OL depth, the two areas Detroit will look to upgrade. Also, they need to keep an eye on the Steelers. Yes, they are slated to pick behind them, but if there is a top CB or OL sitting there, expect them to make a trade and move ahead of Detroit, as they have similar needs and those new rookie contracts look pretty good to a team in their financial situation.

6. Trade Winds
I like where Detroit is picking, but if I were to look into a trade, my first call would be to Mike Tannenbaum of the New York Jets. As of now, they are slated to pick at 16, right in front of the Bengals first selection. I mentioned it before, I'm nervous about the Bengals. They have very similar needs and will grab the top talent at each of the areas with their two picks. Let's say the Lions are able to swing a deal and move to 16, not only can you grab the CB you want (outside of Claiborne), but you may be able to take David DeCastro. DeCastro would step in and start right away, not bad for a mid first-round pick. 

7. Draft History
2011: 1.13 - Nick Fairley, DT (Auburn)
2010: 1.02 - Ndamukong Suh, DT (Nebraska); 1.30 - Jahvid Best, RB (California)
2009: 1.01 - Matthew Stafford, QB (Georgia); 1.20 - Brandon Pettigrew, TE (Oklahoma State)
2008: 1.17 - Gosder Cherilus, OT (Boston College)
2007: 1.02 - Calvin Johnson, WR (Georgia Tech)

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