Round 5: OLB Tahir Whitehead (Temple), CB Chris Greenwood (Albion)
Round 6: CB Jonte Green (New Mexico State)
Round 7: OLB Travis Lewis (Oklahoma)
The Detroit Lions do a good job staying true to their board, but this year they did so in a way that addresses their top five needs without straying from good value.
Reiff is an excellent tackle and will make Jeff Backus' age a non-factor moving forward. Ryan Broyles is a very good slot receiver who will draw safeties up in the box and off Calvin Johnson. Dwight Bentley may be a small-school guy, but he has great potential to jump up and be a starter.
Pick by pick, the Lions made great calls in every round.
Free agency: The Lions stood pat in free agency, allowing CB Eric Wright to walk and relying on the draft to retool.
Draft: Detroit addressed a weakness at tackle, drafting Iowa's Riley Reiff 23rd overall. You'll be seeing him on the field soon. Second-round pick Ryan Broyles was a bit of a shocker, as most analysts had him going a round (or two) later, not to mention this team has more pressing needs. Detroit fortified its back seven, which was expected, spending no less than six picks on linebackers and defensive backs. Third-round CB Dwight Bentley is the best of the bunch and could be pressed into starting duties as a rookie.
Holes to fill: Trading up in the second round to get a quality defensive back would've been logical, considering the Lions' secondary got demolished down the stretch last season. The Lions sorely need a playmaker at corner. Sure, they snagged up Bentley in the third, but why not address the position in the second round, too? Because they didn't use free agency to help in said area, Louis Delmasmust stay healthy in 2012 and the kids better be ready to play. At linebacker, Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy need to be better than serviceable for the Lions to become real contenders. It's understandable why GM Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz didn't invest a high pick on a running back after doing so in each of the prior two drafts. That said, Jahvid Best and Mikel LeShoure are unproven commodities at this point because of injuries.
Despite the fact that the Lions "retooled" in free agency, I just don't see how they really improved that much. They certainly out drafted us, or, to put it more kindly, had more picks with which to use. But they did not go out in free agency to fill holes that needed addressed, and as a result, they're left with a bunch of talented players who, outside of Riley Reiff, Ryan Broyles, and/or Dwight Bentley, probably won't change a lot of the team's dynamics. Reiff has to adjust to playing LT in the NFL, as well as Bently and Broyles having to make their adjustments as well.
I still fully expect Detroit's defense to be tattooed again this season due to a lackluster secondary.