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2013 NFL Draft primer: Detroit Lions

Central Michigan offensive linesman Eric Fisher waits for

Central Michigan offensive linesman Eric Fisher waits for the snap during the second half of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Western Kentucky at Ford Field. (Dec. 26, 2012) Credit: AP

The future stars of the NFL are almost here. The first round of the 2013 NFL draft kicks off on April 25, and every team will look to build for both the present and future. This is the fifth in a two-a-day, 30-part series that looks at each team leading up to the draft and which potential first-round picks would be a good fit for that team.


2012 record: 4-12

Key offseason acquisitions:

Reggie Bush, running back

Glover Quin, safety

Chris Houston, cornerback

Jason Jones, defensive end

C.J. Mosley, defensive tackle

Key offseason departures:

Jeff Backus, offensive tackle

Stephen Peterman, guard

Gosder Cherilus, offensive tackle

Cliff Avril, defensive end

Kyle Vanden Bosch, defensive end

Justin Durant, outside linebacker

Titus Young, wide receiver

Biggest holes in roster: Offensive line, defensive end, linebacker, cornerback

Normally, it'd be strange to say that an offense that ranked third in yards per game would need some help. Then again, not every team lost three-fifths of their starting offensive line during the offseason.

The Lions need help at both tackle spots after Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus left for the Indianapolis Colts. Luckily for them, this year's draft is chock full of good tackle prospects.

While the best one of the bunch - Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel -- will probably be off the board by this point, the Lions may have a nice consolation prize in Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. The 6-7 Fisher was the key contributor on a Chippewas offense that averaged 6.7 yards per play in 2012. He is a good pass protector and run blocker and could contribute right away in the Lions' high-flying offense.

If Fisher is already taken at this point, the Lions could fall back on Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson. The former Sooners tight end and JUCO quarterback isn't as sound technique-wise as Fisher, but he is more athletic and should continue to develop into his role on the blind side.

Conventional draft wisdom says that guards aren't worth top-five picks, but the Lions could make an exception and take Alabama's Chance Warmack. The 6-2, 317-pound Warmack paved the way for the likes of Crimson Tide running backs Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, and is a rare breed at an otherwise-unglamorous position. He's durable (started every game since his sophomore season) and has good size and movement along the interior line. He could be a sneaky pick that could pay huge dividends.

The Lions' offensive line wasn't the only unit that was depleted this offseason. With DEs Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch gone and OLB Justin Durant leaving for Dallas, the Lions could use some pass rushers on the outside to complement DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Depending on which position the Lions want to address first, they have numerous options here that could work. BYU defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and Florida State's Bjoern Werner (if he's still on the board) could be names to watch.

New York Sports