Lions tried to swing deal for Patrick Peterson
Each time the Detroit Lions went on the clock during the draft last week, you waited to hear the name of what cornerback they were adding.
And as each pick came and went, the Lions didn’t draft a single cornerback to bolster a secondary that was positively awful at points last season.
It wasn’t without trying. At least once. NFL.com reported that the Lions tried to move up from No. 13 in the first round to No. 5 in an effort to snare LSU’s Patrick Peterson. They offered the No. 13 pick along with second- and fourth-round picks. Understandably, that wasn’t enough for the Lions to climb eight spots and get the player some considered the best in the draft.
The rest of the way, the Lions stuck to their draft board. It will either be viewed as a shrewd move that provided them with terrific players or the act of mad men who ignored one of the biggest positional needs across the entire league. Detroit must significantly upgrade its secondary – and it could use more help at linebacker.
The idea might be that if opposing quarterbacks have less (or no) time to throw with the addition of tackle Nick Fairley in the first round, that will make the secondary better. The Lions then traded up in the second round to choose Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure. Then, with those pressing defensive needs still there, they went with Boise State wide receiver Titus Young in the third round.
“It was a big move for us,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said about moving up for Leshoure, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We feel good about this guy. He's one of the top guys on our board. He was the second running back on our board. He was right there with (first-round pick Mark) Ingram, and we feel great about him.”
As Birkett points out, heading into free agency Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith top the depth chart at cornerback. Houston will be a free agent, though, and both players are coming off free agency. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he expects the team to compete this season but the defense still needs some significant work in the back seven. Let’s not overstate the value of Houston either.
In a year or two, we’ll be able to see if passing on the chance to add cornerbacks was a wise move.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune