Dennis Chase: The challenge starts Friday
For Detroit GM Martin Mayhew, the challenge begins Friday.
The Lions, in all likelihood, will draft Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the No. 2 pick tonight. That's been all but etched in stone since quarterback Sam Bradford decided to leave Oklahoma a year early.
Friday — rounds 2 and 3 — will define this draft class for Mayhew. That's where a team's scouting prowess comes into play. Detroit has glaring needs at running back, cornerback and linebacker that must be addressed this weekend — or through trade.
Fortunately for Detroit, this is considered a deep draft for defensive players. The Lions allowed 494 points last season, the worst in the NFL. It would not come as a surprise if Mayhew tries to trade down in the second or third rounds to obtain additional picks.
Mayhew did well in his first draft as GM. Can he duplicate it?
James Cook: Beneficial draft already
Before making a selection in the draft, Detroit's already netted four potential starters with picks from this year's process.
Lions GM Martin Mayhew snagged starting guard Rob Sims from Seattle and defensive tackle Corey Williams from Cleveland for fifth-round picks. He grabbed young, speedy cornerback Chris Houston from Atlanta for a sixth-rounder and last year acquired safety Ko Simpson from Buffalo for this year's seventh-round pick.
Sims, Williams and Houston are almost certain to start, while Simpson has a good shot in his position battle against oft-injured Daniel Bullocks.
So if the Lions can manage to snag starters with their first four picks — which isn't a stretch in a loaded draft — the team will have essentially had a haul of eight starting players from one draft, quite an accomplishment.
Then Detroit has four seventh-round picks to take some gambles.