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Kiper: Assessing the Lions' draft needs

4/22/2014

Despite signing free-agent safety James Ihedigbo and re-signing cornerback Rashean Mathis, the Detroit Lions still have plenty of holes in their secondary.

So says ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

In an ESPN Insider piece, Kiper identified the top needs for all 32 teams.

For the Lions, who hold the 10th overall pick in next month's draft, Kiper’s list looks like this:

  • Cornerback

  • Safety

  • Receiver

  • Outside linebacker

The Lions' defense ranked 25th in the league in passing yards allowed per game last season despite having one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. So, help on the back end of the defense remains a need.

"The Lions will hope to get some development out of young players Darius Slay and Bill Bentley, but that doesn't diminish the need here given their performance in 2013, when veteran Rashean Mathis was often the best corner on the field," Kiper wrote.

In his most recent mock draft, Kiper had the Lions taking the top safety in the draft -- Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

"James Ihedigbo has been added, but he was allowed to walk away by Baltimore, and the addition of high-level talent would be useful here," Kiper wrote. "A free safety at No. 10 shouldn't be out of the question. Anything the Lions can do to improve in coverage would be good."

The Lions also made a significant addition at receiver, signing free agent Golden Tate.

"But another target on the outside besides Kris Durham and a hopefully healthy Ryan Broyles would be useful," Kiper wrote.

As for outside linebacker, Kiper wrote: "Currently part-timer Ashlee Palmer is slotted as a potential starter, so the Lions could look to add help to go with Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy."