- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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We continued this week to see more layers of possibility dropped on the Detroit Lions' path in the first round. Speculation about the knee injury of Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers added another possible player (and position) to the mix.
But for me, it will all come back to where we started: Cornerback. Sometimes we can overthink these things. If you're sitting at No. 13, with the depth chart the Lions have, and one of the draft's top cornerbacks is available, wouldn't the decision be easy?
In a mailbag plea, BWin of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was approaching apoplexy amid the possibility that the Lions could pass on Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara in favor of an offensive lineman or any other position: "OL is next year's need!"
There is nowhere close to a guarantee that Amukamara will be available at No. 13. But it's worth noting that in their most recent mock drafts, ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had Amukamara available at No. 13 and gave him to the Lions.
Barring a stunning slide of a top-5 player at another position, Amukamara should be a relatively easy decision for the Lions at No. 13. If he's off the board, they would be justified in considering other positions.
Easy? Yes, that's what I wrote. The Lions aren't just thin at cornerback. They really don't have a single established starter under contract. Chris Houston will probably be a free agent in some form when the lockout ends. Alphonso Smith showed some promise during a 10-game starting stint last season but can hardly be counted on at this point. The only other in-house option is veteran Nathan Vasher, who has four interceptions for three teams over the past four seasons.
As the chart shows, the Lions had one of the NFL's worst defenses last season when they used five defensive backs. We know their pass rush was pretty effective, so I think it's fair to question the depth and skill of their cover people during long stretches of last season.
I'm sure we'll touch on this topic again before the April 28 draft. But I agree with BWin. Unless there is something the Lions know about Amukamara that we don't, he seems their most logical choice.