The “best available player” versus “needs-based” drafting debate will probably rage on until the 2012 NFL draft begins tonight with the first pick in the first round.
The “best available player” approach might put the Lions in the position of drafting a defensive end instead of a cornerback with the No. 23 pick in the first round. My favorite candidate is Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, though Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw may slide down and be available for selection by the Lions. If Detroit trades down to a lower draft pick in the first round, defensive end Nick Perry of USC could end up in a Honolulu blue uniform.
If you prefer the “needs-based” drafting approach, Detroit has to select a cornerback with their first round pick. Since I believe the draft experts are never entirely right, I can see Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick sliding down and being available for selection with the No. 23 pick. Otherwise, the Lions have to trade down and go after a cornerback like North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins or Ron Brooks of LSU.
Look for my predictions on who the Lions will pick with their second and third round picks after they select either a defensive end or cornerback in the NFL draft tonight.