The Lions are no longer the doormat of the NFL like they were ten years ago. In fact, they have been in the playoff race with regularity over the last several years. Now they are bringing in a new coaching staff they believe can take this franchise to the next level. We’ve seen how fast a team can make that jump as recently as this past season, and with a strong off-season the Lions could be a legitimate contender next year. However, they have to nail their first round pick and get another potential star player. Here are five guys they’ll be considering come draft day.

1. Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

The Lions have a desperate need for a pass rusher. Well it just so happens that Harold Landry is probably the best pure pass rusher in this draft. He’s a 3-4 outside linebacker who can also put his hand in the dirt and play as a defensive end in a 4-3. That’s the kind of versatility that new Lions coach Matt Patricia — who will likely want to run multiple fronts — will love to see from a potential star pass rusher.

2. Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA

Marcus Davenport is a good fit in Detroit for many of the same reasons Landry is. However, Davenport is a very different type of pass rusher. Where Landry is a speed rusher with great bend, Davenport is more of a physical, violent rusher who wants to run through offensive tackles. He is still more an athlete than a pass rusher at this point, but if the Detroit coaching staff can help him develop some moves to get off blocks, he should be a very good player at the next level.

3. Vita Vea, DT, Washington

I’m sure I don’t have to tell Lions fans about how valuable a dominating defensive tackle can be. That’s what Detroit would be getting here. You can count one one hand the number of guys at Vita Vea’s size that move as well as he does. This pick would give the Lions a ton of options. He can be that space eating 3-4 nose tackle who’ll be the anchor of the defense, or he can play as a pass rushing three technique. This kind of natural physical talent is rare, but there is a good chance Vea will be available due to the position he plays.

4. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

This pick is a bit of a pipe dream, but with the way running backs are often undervalued in the NFL Draft, there is an outside chance Derrius Guice is still around when the Lions pick. This would be the most talented ball carrier in Detroit since Barry Sanders. Guice is a physical, imposing runner who is very difficult to bring down one-on-one. He also has a natural feel for the game, which allows him to find the crease and make the most out of what’s there. This would be the kind of draft steal that would make me not only respect this Lions offense, but actually fear it.

5. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Lions already have one of the best cornerbacks in the game with Darius Slay, along with one of the better safeties in the league in Glover Quin. The addition of a guy like Denzel Ward to be the number two CB would give Detroit one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Ward is a little small, but that doesn’t stop him from getting in the heart of the action. He is so quick and skilled he absolutely blankets opposing receivers.

About The Author J.T. Olson

J.T. is a Michigan native who's always been better at watching football than playing it. J.T. is a Buccaneers writer at Cover32.com and also covers Fantasy Football for CleatGeeks.com. He is a long time NFL Draft enthusiast who will cover the Buccaneers for Breaking Football.