Patricia: Fondness for OL, LBs won't divert draft needs

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Matt Patricia, right, greets Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder before a game in 2016.

Allen Park — Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia doesn’t want to lose focus of the big picture heading into the NFL Draft.

Patricia is aware of his affinity for the offensive line and linebackers and wants to make certain that doesn’t interfere with his overall understanding of his team’s needs.

“I actually have to be careful that I don’t go too far into that and remember that you have to keep the whole team in mind because it’s easy to dive into specifically those two positions and say, ‘Hey, you know I’ve seen that guy before in this,’” Patricia said.

“You know, when you were singularly focused in a specific position group and say, ‘Hey, we can really do something with that.’ But if you’re kind of ignoring the big-picture look, you might have a guy that might be a little bit more talented at another position that might be a little bit more of a need.”

More: Patricia impressed with Lions' 'focus' in offseason

Patricia’s background is along the offensive line, where he played in college. He continued to work with the position as a graduate assistant at Syracuse and early during his time in New England. But even he’ll tell you his heart is currently with linebackers after spending his formative years coaching the position in New England, working with guys like Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel.

At the league meetings last month, Patricia joked about how he anticipated gravitating toward the linebackers during practices.

“I mean, that's just kind of that's your comfort zone," he said. "That's where you tend to go, probably drive the position coaches a little bit crazy more than not.”

That’s not to say the Lions should avoid either position, even after adding three new linebackers in free agency. And the need at guard is even more obvious, and is a spot the team could address as early as the first round.