Detroit’s secondary struggled in a season-ending loss to the Packers and a postseason-ending loss to the Saints, and if the Lions want to take the next step and beat good passing teams like the Packers and Saints next season, secondary is a position they’d like to upgrade tonight in the first round of the NFL draft. And the Lions might just be desperate enough for secondary help that they’ll trade up to get a player they’re confident can start from Day One.
Four players in this year’s draft look like they could step in and start immediately and provide an upgrade in the Lions’ secondary: Cornerbacks Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick, and safety Mark Barron. There’s virtually no chance of the Lions landing Claiborne, but there has been some discussion that the Lions might try to move up to secure Gilmore or Kirkpatrick, and ESPN’s John Clayton reported this morning that Detroit would love to be able to move up to get Barron.
Getting Barron, however, would be costly. When I wrote yesterday that I didn’t buy the mock drafts having the Eagles drafting Barron at No. 15, Adam Schefter wrote back that not only would the Eagles not get a chance at 15, the Cowboys wouldn’t get a chance at him at 14, either. Moving up for Barron would require a jump up at least 10 spots for the Lions, who have the 23rd pick in the first round, and that may be a bigger jump than the Lions can afford to take.
Gilmore is likely to be gone within the first dozen picks, too, and that means the Lions likely won’t get him either. That leaves Kirkpatrick, whose stock seems to be dropping as reporters get more information from teams about where they rank him, and that means the Lions may have a shot at him. Kirkpatrick thinks the Lions would be a perfect fit for him, and if the Lions agree, they may decide to move up a few spots to ensure it can happen.