2015 NFL Draft crucial to fill position vacancies
By Austin Vicars
Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell’s first season at the helm could be considered by many fans as a success. The Lions saw their 2014 season end on a more positive note, posting an 11 – 5 record and making the postseason for only the second time since 1999.
Detroit is looking to build on last year’s successful campaign despite losing key defenders Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to free agency this offseason. The teams management have already made several noteworthy offseason acquisitions, including trading for Ravens star nose tackle Haloti Ngata. While this is a step in the positive direction for the Lions, the team however will need to make strong moves in April’s draft to take the team to the next level.
The Lions have many Draft needs, but it’s been speculated the Lions will take South Carolina guard A.J. Cann. At 6’ 3” and 313 pounds, Cann is a strong candidate for the Lions first round pick. Cann was a captain at South Carolina for two years and was named first team All-American by ESPN, Sporting News and CBS Sports. Cann would be a durable and reliable option for the Lions, missing only one game to his 51 starts as a Gamecock. Playing in the powerhouse SEC, Cann is battle tested and could make a great addition to the Lions.
Another possible option the Lions are eyeing is Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown. Even with acquiring Ngata, the Lions are still in need of interior defensive lineman. Brown could fill this hole with his large 6’ 2” 319 pound frame. Brown was a two-year starter at Texas and was a consensus All-American last season as a junior. Scouts have praised Brown for his quickness off the ball and his hard working attitude. Brown is a coachable, high character player who would be a good fit for the Lions at a much-needed defensive tackle position.
But the Lions have more holes than just offensive lines and defensive tackles. The team have glaring needs at both running back and corner back. Detroit has been eyeing Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who is considered the best running back in the draft but is coming off ACL surgery from a knee injury he suffered in late November. Gurley would be a risky pick but could be worth the risk if the Lions were willing to take a gamble. At corner back the Lions have several options including Oregon State’s Steven Nelson, TCU’s Kevin White and Florida State’s P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby. While Michigan State standout Trae Waynes is widely considered the best corner in the draft, it is unlikely the Lions will have the opportunity to draft him with the twenty-third pick.
The Lions will have lots of options for the 2015 draft. Entering Caldwell’s second season the team will look to build on last year’s success. Despite losing star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Lions still look to turn the corner from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender. As to who the Lions will draft? Only time will tell.