Saturday, April 30, 2011

Well Played, Lions. Well Played Indeed.

I will give martin Mayhew and company this: They know how to keep me on my toes. They have made 3 picks, and all 3 picks have left me stumped. I already gave my thoughts on the Nick Fairley selection. I talked myself into liking it, assuming there was LB and CB help on the way. Instead, the Lions drafted a slot WR and gave up their 3rd and 4th rounders, and moved down in the 5th and 7th to draft a complimentary RB.


I didn't get it at first. I was bummed. If I haven't mentioned this before, I am a huge draft fan. I would rather watch the draft than the Super Bowl, World Series, Kentucky Derby,  Royal Wedding combined. It is literally my favorite sporting event in the world. I read sites like Walter Football and Mocking the Draft year round. I can't wait 'til the 2012 mock drafts start rolling in. If I was a Mormon, I would make the NFL draft my second wife. So when I say I was bummed, I truly mean bummed. It's like studying for a test for one whole year, and getting an F.

I waited patiently as players like Akeem Ayers, Bruce Carter, Ras-I Dowling, and Aaron Williams came off the board. Then, like the first round, Minnesota drafts an unlikely player (this time ND TE Kyle Rudolph, a player I can't stand. Why, you ask? Cam Gordon's backpedal, that's why.) setting Detroit up with a top-notch CB. This time it's Brandon Harris. Harris would fill two needs:

  1. He plays a position of need.
  2. He would allow me to say "Tha U" without the slightest bit of irony.
Then the hammer drops......again. Titus Young. WR. Boise State.

A third WR? What's wrong with Bryant Johnson? Or getting Stef Logan more involved? And why in the mother-scrumpling fuck is Derrick Williams higher on the depth chart than Tim Toone? And besides, a player from Boise State in the second round? Yeah, since that worked out so well last time. I know, I know. I can't hold Gerald Alexander against Titus Young. Says who? What are you, the grudge police? I don't trust players from Boise State. I want one thing from Idaho. Potatoes.

But just as I start rationalizing it to myself. I figure with Megatron, Burleson, and Young, that will spread the defense to create holes for Jahvid Best. And besides, there will be plenty of defensive help in the 3rd and 4th. You know, the normal steps to dealing with grief. A few more picks go by, and I'm cool. I'm ok.

"There has been a trade. The Lions are on the clock." Eeeeeeeeee!!! Brandon Harris! Finally! DA U!!!!! 

"The Lions select Mikel Leshoure. Running Back. Illinois."


I get the need for a RB to help Jahvid Best. I already covered it, in fact. I just assumed it would come after other needs were met. I am not one of the bloggers who pretends to know more than Martin Mayhew. I was excited when they drafted Ernie Sims, for crying out loud. But I have to question the lack of back seven help thus far. I know free agency was all funky this year, but man. Can Fairley play WLB?

But once again, I have talked myself into being kinda excited about it. Mikel Leshoure was rated as a top 3 RB almost unanimously. He weighs 230 lbs, and can be the "Thunder" to Best's "Lightning". Or whatever tired meme people come up with to call them. As long as Stafford can keep his ceramic shoulders intact, the Lions will have a pretty sick offense, right? Right? Sigh, I sure hope so... 

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Lions Draft Nick Fairley


As I watched the first round unfold, and saw guys like Christian Ponder (Lol Vikings) and Jake Locker (not lol, but a reach) I saw Prince Amukamara being available at 13. I thought he fit the mold as a high-character, high motor player at a position of need. The fact that he was Suh's teammate at Nebraska didn't hurt either.

Then I started to realize that guys like Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers were available and thought maybe Mayhew keeps to his BPA style and takes one of them. Then the Lions turned in their card after being on the clock for all of 13 seconds it seemed like, and I had "Prince!!!!!!!!!!" typed and ready to send on my blackberry. Then Goodell  uttered the most shocking words I had heard in months.

"With the 13th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions Select Nick Fairley. Defensive tackle. Auburn."

Wooo Prince Amuka......

Huh? Did they trade up to select Fairley? Are there two Nick Fairley's from Auburn in the draft? Did 5 teams miss their pick, and Detroit slid in front of them? Must sit down. Must sort thoughts.

At first, I was pissed. Another defensive tackle? A guy who took all those plays off in college? A guy who only had one big year? A guy who will be taking a pay cut to play in the NFL. (Yep, fuck you Auburn!) A guy at the deepest, most talented position on the team? Why?

I understand the thinking behind the best player available philosophy. At least I think I do. You saw how the Vikings dominated with the "Williams Wall". You take the best player available and work them into the rotation. You have potentially the most dominant young DT tandem ever. You make every OL coach on your schedule contemplate early retirement. You take a guy like Fairley who is a top 5 talent. Ok. I can get behind this.

Obviously, this is all predicated on finding linebackers and corners later in the draft, or free-agency (whenever that starts) because this was a luxury pick, plain and simple. This was taking a guy Jim Schwartz wanted that he didn't think would be available at #13.

So I will be watching the 2nd and 3rd round picks this evening, and will withhold my final grade until I see what they are able to do tonight. But in a vacuum, I give this pick an A.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Player to Trade Up For

The Lions are in an interesting position this year. There isn't a ten item list of needs to be addressed through the draft. I would list their "needs" as:

Offensive Line-An upgrade at RG is needed. Stephen Peterman should be bagging groceries at Hiller's. Upgrades would be nice everywhere, but Backus-Sims-Raiola-???-Cherilous is servicable. Their stats weren't that horrible last year, giving up the 6th least amount of sacks in the NFL. Of course the Lions had the 10th worst rushing attack, but that can be attributed to Jahvid Best's injuries, and having Maurice Morris as your back-up. I fear I am underestimating the importance Martin Mayhew is placing on replacing Backus.

Backup RB. The aforementioned Maurice Morris teamed with Kevin Smith to fail miserably at replacing Jahvid Best. A larger, between the tackles runner to team with Best is a pretty high priority, IMO.

Developmental QB-I won't beat around the bush here: Matthew Stafford can't stay healthy. I know, I know, shocking news. Shaun Hill is a serviceable backup, and performed well replacing Stafford last season. But the third stringer is still a sore spot. Drew Stanton also played well, but the organization obviously has no faith in him or his abilities. They started Shaun Hill over Stanton when Hill had a BROKEN ARM!!! Grabbing a guy in the 7th round to sit for a few years is the best approach. The QBs available that late will have glaring holes in their game, but they can be worked on over time. And if they don't pan out? Cut him and grab another one next year. 3rd string quarterbacks are disposable.

Linebackers-Notice the s. They have none. Well, they have DeAndre Levy. That's about it. Julian Peterson was cut. Ashlee Palmer and Landon Johnson are nice depth pieces, and Bobby Carpenter played well after he joined the rotation, but that's it. Unfortunately, there won't be a LB worth drafting at #13. Look for multiple LBs to be drafted between the 2nd-5th rounds.

Defensive Backfield help-Chris Houston might be gone. Alphonso Smith was as inconsistent as Vegas buffet seafood. Those are the best corners on the roster. Safety is ok with Delmas and Erik Coleman. This is the point of my post, in a nutshell.

I want the Lions to trade up for Patrick Peterson. Trade up to #5 with Arizona and draft Peterson. Give up your 2nd rounder, 3rd rounder, next year's 1st rounder, whatever. I want to see Peterson in Honolulu Blue and Silver. He could team with Houston to give Detroit one of the best CB tandems in the NFL. Find linebackers in free agency. Or find them in Canada. It worked for the Dolphins.

The point is, Peterson is better than the sum of the players they can draft with the picks they will have to give up. I like Amukamara, and if I knew for certain he would be there at #13, I would not advocate this strategy. There are 3 guys in this draft I would be happy to trade up for. Peterson, Dareus, and AJ Green. If Detroit could land one of them, I wouldn't care what it costs.

So with all this said, prepare to see Tyron Smith or Anthony Castonzo in a Lions jersey in the future.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Look at the 13th Pick

Barring a trade, the Detroit Lions will select a player with the 13th overall draft pick on Thursday night. The 13th pick has had some successes and disappointments. Let's hope they end up with the former. Here is a look at the 13th pick dating back 20 years.


Year
Team
Player
Position
School
Boom/Bust
2010
Philadelphia Eagles
Brandon Graham
DE
Michigan
Inc.
2009
Washington Redskins
Brian Orakpo
DE
Texas
Boom
2008
Carolina Panthers
Jonathan Stewart
RB
Oregon
Boom
2007
St. Louis Rams
Adam Carriker
DE
Nebraska
Bust
2006
Cleveland Browns
Kamerion Wimbley
DE
Florida St.
Boom
2005
New Orleans Saints
Jamaal Brown
OT
Oklahoma
Boom
2004
Buffalo Bills
Lee Evans
WR
Wisconsin
Boom
2003
New England Patriots
Ty Warren
DE
Texas A & M
Boom
2002
New Orleans Saints
Donte Stallworth
WR
Tennessee
Boom
2001
Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcus Stroud
DT
Georgia
Boom
2000
New York Jets
John Abraham
DE
South Carolina
Boom
1999
Pittsburgh Steelers
Troy Edwards
WR
Louisiana Tech
Bust
1998
Cincinatti Bengals
Takeo Spikes
LB
Auburn
Boom
1997
Kansas City Chiefs
Tony Gonzalez
TE
Cal
Boom
1996
Chicago Bears
Walt Harris
CB
Mississippi St.
Boom
1995
New Orleans Saints
Mark Fields
LB
Washington St.
Boom
1994
New Orleans Saints
Joe Johnson
DE
Louisville
Boom
1993
Houston Oilers
Brad Hopkins
OT
Illinois
Boom
1992
New England Patriots
Eugene Chung
OT
Virginia Tech
Boom
1991
Atlanta Falcons
Mike Pritchard
WR
Colorado
Bust


Overall, I graded the picks as 16 good picks, 3 bad picks, and 1 incomplete. I gave Brandon Graham an incomplete because he only played in 13 games as a rookie before he tore his ACL. I would have given the 2009 and 2008 picks an incomplete had they not been so good. 

A few if the "Boom" grades were given to players that made the Pro Bowl, even though their entire career wasn't a total success. The bust picks were mainly relative to their draft position.

Overall, it gives me hope that the Lions will get a good player at 13. Of course, this means they will trade out of this pick.


EDIT-I changed Kamerion Wimbley from Bust to Boom. I didn't really check his production, which is pretty damned good. 35.5 sacks in 5 years. I had him confused with someone else, I guess.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft Version 2

      It’s been a few weeks since my last attempt. Player’s stocks have risen and fallen. Here’s how it see it as of this morning. I will again post a few observations after the chart.

Pick
Team
Player
Position
School
1
Carolina
Cam Newton
QB
Auburn
2
Denver
Marcell Dareus
DT
Alabama
3
Buffalo
Von Miller
OLB
Texas A&M
4
Cincinnati
A.J. Green
WR
Georgia
5
Arizona
Patrick Peterson
CB
LSU
6
Cleveland
Julio Jones
WR
Alabama
7
San Francisco
Robert Quinn
DE
UNC
8
Tennessee
Blaine Gabbert
QB
Missouri
9
Dallas
Tyron Smith
OT
USC
10
Washington
J.J. Watt
DE
Wisconsin
11
Houston
Nick Fairley
DT
Auburn
12
Minnesota
Jake Locker
QB
Washington
13
Detroit
Prince Amukamara
CB
Nebraska
14
St. Louis
Aldon Smith
DE
Missouri
15
Miami
Da'Quan Bowers
DE
Clemson
16
Jacksonville
Ryan Kerrigan
DE
Purdue
17
New England
Anthony Castonzo
OT
BostonCollege
18
San Diego
Cameron Heyward
DL
Ohio State
19
New York Giants
Gabe Carimi
OT
Wisconsin
20
Tampa Bay
Cameron Jordan
DL
California
21
Kansas City
Nate Solder
OT
Colorado
22
Indianapolis
Derek Sherrod
OT
Mississippi St.
23
Philadelphia
Adrian Clayborn
DE
Iowa
24
New Orleans
Muhammed Wilkerson
DT
Temple
25
Seattle
Jimmy Smith
CB
Colorado
26
Baltimore
Justin Houston
OLB
Georgia
27
Atlanta
Kyle Rudolph
TE
Notre Dame
28
New England
Akeem Ayers
OLB
UCLA
29
Chicago
Mike Pouncey
OG
Florida
30
New York Jets
Phil Taylor
DT
Baylor
31
Pittsburgh
Brandon Harris
CB
Miami (FL)
32
Green Bay
Corey Liuget
DT
Illinois


This scenario works out well for the Lions as they have their choice of Amukamara and Bowers. I would be happy with either despite Bowers’ knee concerns. The only way I would be happier is if they somehow traded up to get Patrick Peterson.
I thought about jumping on the 5 QB in the first round band wagon, but I think it will involve trading which I won’t try to predict.
Mark Ingram is free falling, but I think he will get taken in the first. He would offer great value late in the first if some team is willing to take the risk with his health.
There is still tremendous talent available, so keep an eye on New England to trade its 2nd round pick. Some team will want a QB, and the Pats love to acquire more draft picks.