Despite last season, the Lions go into this season’s draft in a really positive position. That’s mainly due to the job GM Bob Quinn did in free agency, addressing the team’s major needs at pass rusher (Trey Flowers); pass catching tight end (Jesse James) and cornerback (Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin).
That means the team from Motor City has the luxury of being able to truly take the best player available, or by trading down for extra picks, which Quinn has indicated he is very open to doing. If the Lions stay at number 8 in the draft, any player they pick up is going to improve their roster, so they don’t need to reach in order to fill a positional need.
Whilst Detroit already added defensive tackle Damon Harrison in a midseason trade with the Giants, as well as the big ticket signing of Flowers from the Patriots, they could stand to add further talent in this department.
In the NFC North, the Lions are going to face pass happy offences in the form of the Bears and the Packers, whilst the Vikings offence will sink or swim with QB Kirk Cousins and the receiving tandem of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Being able to collapse the pocket, especially around Mitch Trubisky and Cousins, will help the Lions secondary to hold up against some of the elite receivers they will face.
If there is a rash of trades from teams further down the board desperate to move up and acquire a QB, either of Quinnen Williams or Ed Oliver could drop into the Lions’ lap. There’s no way head coach Matt Patricia would let Quinn pass up either of those prospects.
Despite the signings of Coleman and Melvin, the Lions could perhaps still stand to add some talent in the defensive backfield. There seems to be concern about third year player Teez Tabor and the fact he hasn’t locked down a starting position just yet. Whilst many would expect Melvin to be Darius Slay’s partner in the secondary, the former Raider didn’t quite reach the heights of his 2017 season with the Colts during his time in Oakland, settling for a one year contract in Detroit.
There is also an opening at free safety alongside Quandre Diggs, though there isn’t a safety rated highly enough who the Lions could justify taking with the 8th overall pick. If the Raiders and Giants both pass on taking a QB with their first round picks, Quinn could shop his to a team like the Bengals or the Broncos, and pick up a cornerback and/or safety later.