Everybody is well aware by now that the Detroit Lions have problems with their pass rush. Well, everybody that's been paying attention to the NFL offseason and cares about football that much, I suppose. But after already lacking a significant pass-rusher in 2012, Detroit is poised to be even worse in 2013.
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Not only did the Lions fail to get to the quarterback last season, but top pass-rusher Cliff Avril was not given the franchise tag like he was last season after registering only 8.5 sacks in 2012. Good numbers, but hardly the kind of production you would like to pay "average of the top five defensive ends" for. So, many expect that Avril will leave. Much like veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch did when the Lions released him, and that third-man-on-the-totem-pole Lawrence Jackson could be leaving too.
Given all that information, and given the importance of a good pass-rush in the NFL, many are projecting that Detroit will take a defensive end with the fifth overall pick in April. The person that Rob Rang of CBS Sports thinks that will be is Georgia OLB/DE Jarvis Jones in his latest mock draft:
Jones projects best at outside linebacker but his primary job in the NFL will be attacking the line of scrimmage, just as it was at Georgia. Only concerns about Jones' health (he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009) could push him out of the top five, as he proved to be the country's elite defensive playmaker in 2012, topping all defenders in tackles for loss (24.5), sacks (14.5) and forced fumbles (seven).
This year's draft is deep in defensive ends available, but none of them come without at least one question mark or "red flag." Jones is no different, but he also might be one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL during the prime of his career. Are the Lions going to be the team to bet on that?