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Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 Draft (Part 6) Day 3, Rounds 4 thru 7

In a draft that made my draft board look like most people’s March Madness brackets, the Lions did some pretty solid work, especially when you add up the trades. Of course, not everyone will agree with that statement (not the ‘brackets’ stuff, but the ‘solid work’ part). There are reasons for that. Part of it is because of missing or bad information and part of it is because some “household” names were not drafted or perceived needs were not filled (part of it may be for other reasons as well).

Now before I get into day 3, a little more on day 2. I apparently got some bad or missing information as well. (Not the first time, won’t be the last). Based on most non-pay sites and on both Mayhew’s and Amari Speavey’s interviews; Amari is in fact a very good tackler. (I had written last night that the word is he is lacking in the tackling department). Now my info came from guys on pay sites that actually review film, not just spread info they got from someone else. However, it would seem that the film reviewed on Amari was not indicative of his actual abilities. Well, that can happen. I’m sure most talent evaluators don’t take the time to watch dozens of games on each and every guy that could be drafted unless they are working for a team and even then they don’t have to review every single potential draftee. There simply isn’t enough time between the end of the season and the draft to do that. In the case of Amari, the film watched was less then flattering and the profiles were written.

That type of thing is going to happen, and that is one of the reasons why guys “slide” or are a “reach”. No one has all the information on all the players. Fans have even less information. We fans rely on the work of others. But we fans aren’t getting everything. All I can do is point out when I find out I got bad information and continue on from there.

Okay, day 1 the Lions get Suh, the purported best player in the draft. Also deemed to be a once in a decade defensive tackle. On top of that they got the fastest running back in the draft by trading up 4 spots (see the day 1 report below). On day 2 the Lions get Amari, a potential shutdown corner who isn’t afraid to stick his head in and tackle. All three will be starting and/or making a difference in 2010. Day 3 starts with round 4, the Lions have the 30th pick after trading down. They select left tackle Jason Fox. Jason could probably learn to play any spot on the offensive line in the NFL except center. However, he is not ready to be a starter. He will need time to learn whatever position he will be playing and he will need good coaching to get there. He is a project, which is typically what you draft in the later rounds (some years starting round 3, other years round 4). I assume that Jason is going to be learning LT as a backup to Jeff Backus.

The Lions did not have any round 5 or round 6 picks due to trades. They had 3 picks left in round 7, a round that draft picks find hard to make a roster. So, what happened to the linebacker that Gunther Cunningham was gushing about in a pre-draft interview? Well, the obvious answer is, he got drafted by some other team. One can assume that happened during round 4 but there is no way to know for sure. Perhaps it was round 3, perhaps round 6 or 7 (though not as likely).

In round 7 the Lions took defensive end Willie Young at 213. At 220 they traded the pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2011 sixth round pick. At 255 (Mr. Irrelevant) and last pick in the draft the Lions select Tim Toone, a wide receiver and kick returner.

Maybe one or both of the 7th rounders will make the team, the odds are not in their favor but if they work hard they may earn their way on. It’s all up to them, now.

So, in the words of BamBamFunkhouser over at Mlive “That’s all folks, [the] Lions Suhperbowl is officially over”.

This is what 2010 got them (including the trades, remember, that matters):

Note: Stole some of this from tntmischief

1st Suh DT

1st Best RB

3rd Spievey CB

4th Fox LT

5th Williams DT

5th Sims LG

5th Sheffler TE

6th Houston CB

7th Ko Simpson S

7th Willie Young DE

7th traded for a 2011 6th rounder from the Eagles

7th Tim Toone WR/KR

That's probably 7 starters, some depth, a possible kick returner, and an extra pick for next year. Not real bad for one draft... no, not bad at all.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 Draft (Part 5) Day 2, Rounds 2 and 3

Draft "day" 2 is in the books.

Since the Lions traded up 4 spots to get into round 1 pick 30 yesterday and took RB Jahvid Best they did not have a 2nd round pick. I along with everyone else watched players get picked by other teams all round two just to see who would still be there in round 3, and there were many surprises. However, nothing that affected the Lions much in my opinion.

Then it became time for the Lions to draft at 66, and surprise, they did not trade down. They drafted Amari Spievey CB from Iowa. I wanted them to go with Brandon Ghee CB of Wake Forest who was actually still available. Spievey is nearly identical in height and weight to Ghee, so that part was not an issue. The knock on Spievey is his lack of run support, or tackling, or special teams play. He's a fast, man coverage, type of corner. Which is great, if all you are asked to do is cover. I just don't see that with the Lions. I therefor have to assume the Lions plan to teach Spievey to tackle. In that past, that kind of thing hasn't always worked out. Will it this time? I do not know.

Now, to be fair, there were similar knocks on Ghee, at least in the tackling department. Why the Lions had Spievey ranked so much higher then the others still available I do not know. Even why they had Spievey ranked higher then Ghee I do not know. I surely did not. So the wait to see who was right begins.

Getting a cover corner in round 3 is a good thing, I'm not saying it is not. But getting a defensive player who doesn't like to tackle is the easy way to get into Gunther's doghouse, right Mr. Buchanan? Mr. Foote? Mr. everyone else that is no longer a lion after only one year? That's not to say they never tackled anyone, it's if they tackle on a regular basis, perhaps even love to do it.

Let's all hope, lions fans, that they made the right pick here in round 3. I truly wish to never once have to post "I told you so" here in the years to come.

Now, at 10am tomorrow morning the NFL will finish the rest of the draft. The Lions will finish their picks. I will finish my draft blog. And the rest of the off season can begin.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 Draft (Part 4)

Wow! What a round 1 that was. As expected the Rams drafted Sam Bradford, Quarterback. Also, as expected, the Lions drafted Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle. From there as a Lion fan I had expected to watch the rest of the draft only to see who the Lions wouldn't be getting at 34 (2nd pick, round 2 on day 2). But Mayhew being Mayhew, he dialed up a move to ensure he got one of the other top tier guys on their board.

As the picks were taken in the late twenties the guys the Lions were likely hoping would make it to pick 34 started disappearing. Before long, there was the one left (I am assuming here), with little hope of him falling to pick 34. So in the most unlikely of moves, the Lions traded with the Minnesota Vikings to get Jahvid Best, running back. Now the reason that's so unusual is that they are a divisional rival. Divisional rivals agree to trades about as often as crop circles are admitted to be hoaxes (so perhaps they are not, huh?). Anyway, the Lions move up 4 spots to pick #30 in round 1 and give up to the Vikings the 214th pick in round 7 and agree to swap picks in the 4th round. In all likelihood, the cornerbacks that the Lions wanted were also wanted by the Vikings, so they weren't probably happy with what was left either. Still, you just don't normally trade with your division rivals.

So, the Lions lose a number of spots in round 4 but still have a round 4 pick (big whoop) and lose one of their 5 seventh round picks (another big whoop) to ensure they got their best player available while he is still available. Had Best made it to the end of round 1 (which isn't all that likely) there was likely to be a ton of offers for teams to move up to 33 tomorrow night to get him or someone else, and who that other team would want would not be known. The cost to the Lions to move up to 33 might easily have been more then the move to 30. It was a calculated and shrewd move. One I can agree with totally, even though I wanted the Lions to trade down in the 2nd round and take someone else. (That someone else may be there later, depending on how the draft goes from here.)

The Lions now have a true homerun threat at RB to platoon with the other running backs and the best defensive player in the draft (some say the decade) in Suh, and they have only started their work in the 2010 draft.

Makes me want tomorrow night to hurry up and get here.

Oh, and the best part of the picks, various individuals on various forums were so set against the Lions drafting anyone on offense that they will hate this pick, possibly forever, and yours truly gets to pick on them, forever. SWEEET!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 Draft (Part 3)

The Lions have traded Ernie Sims to the Eagles, they gave a 5th rounder to Denver who then gave the TE Scheffler and a 7th round draft pick to the Lions. Because of this I can remove my prediction that the Lions will draft a TE after round 4. Of course, now the LB prediction is even more solid, which is good, since I've reviewed every single one of the players the Lions invited to Allen Park, or went to their pro-day, etc and only one of them was a middle Linebacker. When I realized that, I was concerned I had made the LB prediction, but now the odds of them taking either an outside or inside linebacker have gone up, I'm just no longer sure the LB will be in the first 4 picks. Still, they may find a player like Levy last year so I will hold on to my gut feeling of DT, RB, CB, and LB in the first 4 picks.

I truly believe Bradford will be a Ram and then Suh will be a Lion.

Round 2 I expect the Lions to trade down, unless certain players are there at 34. Some names (that I fully expect will be taken in round 1) are Kareem Jackson CB Alabama, Ryan Matthews RB Fresno State, Patrick Robinson CB FSU, or Jahvid Best RB California.

If they trade down I look for the Lions to take one of these players: Dexter McCluster RB Mississippi, Brandon Ghee CB Wake Forest, or Toby Gerhart RB Stanford.

I can see the Lions trading down from pick 66 as well, or maybe one of the above names will drop to 66. Some names to watch later in round 3 are: Ben Tate RB Auburn, Taylor Price WR, Major Wright S Florida, Jerome Murphy CB USF, Joe McKnight RB USC, or Jermaine Cunningham DE Florida.

Round 4 names to keep an eye on: Javier Arenas CB Alabama, Greg Hardy DE Mississippi, Perrish Cox CB OSU, Amari Spievey CB Iowa, Arthur Jones DT Syracuse, Linval Joseph DT East Carolina, Kam Chancelor S Va Tech, Patrick Angerer OLB or Zane Beadles OT/OG Utah.

They currently have no round 5 or 6 picks, but those trades may get them some if they happen. The Lions do have four 7th round picks so I do expect movement especially with Mayhews deal making abilities.

My choices? Suh at #2, trade down in round 2 a little and take Ghee, trade down just a little in round 3 and take Gerhart, and in round 4 take Angerer. DT, CB, RB, and LB.

That's it for part 3 of the 2010 draft. I'll be back after round 1 is done with part 4.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 Draft (Part 2)

One of the things I've been doing for years is making my own estimated depth chart to get a visual image of the Lions needs. This year I hadn't had the time to do so prior to free agency but I have completed it in time for my pre-draft edition.

You can find the worksheet at http://www.thenetrat.com/depthchart.html

If you don't have the ability to open an excel file and you do have fast internet access you can download a totally free office suite from http://www.openoffice.org

One change from my previous Draft entry (part 1). Now that I've visually seen the depth chart and now that the Lions re-signed Jared DeVries, I'm going to alter one prediction. The first 4 picks will include a DT, a RB, a CB, and a LB (instead of DE). The need for depth at LB now exceeds the need for depth at DE (if only slightly). In addition, I can see that even if the Lions draft a CB they will need one more in free agency still. I think Lito would be my choice over PacMan in this case, you?

I am now finishing work on my draft board. Expect Part 3 of my 2010 draft blog soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Draft 2010 Part 1

Time to get back to work (on the blog). Since I finally have a night off (as well as an entire weekend... the first since mid-January) it's time for some draft blogging... I even have an entire 6 days to go before the draft starts. Okay, so it's a little late, so sue me.

First, some predictions so that I may eat crow later. (I've been googling crow recipes online, there really aren't that many of them).

The Rams will draft QB Bradford... for pretty much the same reasons the Lions did last year (when they took Stafford).

The Lions will take DT Suh or DT McCoy. I'd say Suh 100% but for the agent factor. Signability does have a minor role in guys who are nearly rated the same, so the pick could be McCoy. I'm 90% Suh, 10% McCoy... most of the day... the rest of the day I'm 50/50.

The Safety named Berry will not be picked before number 7 in the draft.

The Lions will only take a tackle in round one if they trade away Backus in some kind of draft day trade... if they do so, then my DT prediction is null and void.

The Lions will draft a RB, a DT, a DE and a CB with the first 4 picks (in no particular order)... unless they trade away any players from their roster on draft day.

The Lions will not draft an Offensive Lineman with the first 4 picks unless they make a trade of a player already on the roster. (yes, this one goes with the last one, but I want to be right twice).

The Lions will draft a TE or FB or a guy who can play both after the first 4 picks.

One of the players the Lions draft will be someone that no one has heard of.

Finally, the Lions will be very active in the UDFA market (after the draft) and there are some on the current roster who should be getting nervous.

Okay, that's enough work for tonight. I'll try to do more work over the weekend.