Kevin C. Cox
Most expect Detroit to draft a defensive end with their first pick, but is there a chance they go another route?
The Detroit Lions have already released Kyle Vanden Bosch, while leading sack-getter Cliff Avril is an unrestricted free agent. This has left many people to speculate that the Lions will use the number five overall selection on a pass-rushing defensive end like Bjoern Werner or Jarvis Jones. However, nothing like that is set in stone, and there is still a chance that Avril is given the franchise tag and/or is re-signed.
In any case, Detroit has more holes than just getting to the quarterback, one of which is finding adequate help at the corner position. No player for the Lions had more than two interceptions in 2012, and Chris Houston was the only player to record at double-digit pass deflections. A number of players found themselves getting starts at CB, but it might be time for the Lions to find a player that can start there and play at a high level for the next ten years. That player could be Dee Milliner out of Alabama. Josh Norris of Rotoworld.com thinks that it's a reasonable projection in his latest mock draft:
The Lions could use a pass rusher, and in fact I usually side with the defensive end in situations where they have equal grades as corners. For some reason, possibly due to ex-GM Scott Pioli’s junior rankings, I get a feeling Milliner will be more highly coveted than many pass rushers that are generally considered to be in his talent range.
Milliner is the top-rated player at his position in this draft class (though some still prefer Xavier Rhodes) and there's still a lock of jockeying left to do this year with the combine and pro days left ahead. Perhaps a pass-rusher will separate himself from the crowd before April, but we know for certain that whether it's a corner or a defensive end, the 4-12 Lions could use him.