The Detroit Lions gave Cliff Avril the franchise tag last season and he came up with a respectable 9.5 sacks. That's good but it might not be enough to guarantee Avril another franchise tag, even if Detroit desperately needs a better pass-rushing attack and has already cut veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch. With Lawrence Jackson also hitting free agency, what will the Lions do to improve the pass rush?
For more on the Lions free agency and draft news, check out Pride of Detroit
Their biggest play during the offseason will likely come during April's NFL Draft, where the Lions hold the fifth overall pick after a disappointing 4-12 season under Jim Schwartz. While Schwartz has managed to keep his job, he probably won't hold that position if Detroit doesn't get back to .500 next season. That's going to depend a lot on finding better players on the defense, and that player could be LSU OLB/DE Barkevious Mingo. Rob Rang mocked Mingo to the Lions in his latest draft projection:
The Lions could do the same this year but would still have depth concerns with backup Lawrence Jackson also entering free agency and 34-year old Kyle Vanden Bosch coming off the least productive season of his career. Mingo, 6-4, 240, lacks polish but possesses jaw-dropping athleticism. Considering the NFC North's passing attacks, the defensive tackle talent already on the roster, and the fact that Detroit's home games at Ford Field are on turf, Mingo's speed off the edge could translate into turnovers.
Even if Mingo isn't the pick, the Lions have plenty of options at that position in this years draft pool. Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore, Mingo, Jarvis Jones, and Alec Ogletree are just a few names at the top of perhaps the most talented positional group in the 2013 draft.
This Lion might have a really big Bark... evious.