With the 54th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft the Lions select Oklahoma Wide Receiver Ryan Broyles.
And the crowd goes wild. Not because everyone wanted Ryan Broyles. Not because everyone wanted a wide receiver. But because everyone expected something else, anything else or should I say, anyone else... no, that's not it, any defensive position. Some were bracing themselves just in case the Lions went running back, or better yet, guard or center but most expected some kind of defensive help. Instead the Lions stayed true to their board and drafted the injured Oklahoma wide receiver.
I had him ranked 107th. Probable 4th rounder. But, truth to tell, almost all the teams drafted waaayyyyy outside the rankings this year. At one point early in the 3rd round I watched as 5 guys, in a row, were drafted, that I had ranked as undrafted free agents or at most, 7th rounders (none of those 5 were to the Lions). One scout had Broyles ranked at 48, that was the highest I saw him ranked. The Lions had him ranked as the best player at that point in the draft. Probably due to his versatility (wideout and returner). One profile compares him to Wes Welker in as far as the type of player he is. If you think of him as just the 4th Wide Receiver on the team replacing Rashied Davis then he's not exactly worthy of a 2nd round pick. If you think of him as the eventual replacement for Burleson (in a few years) he still wouldn't be worthy of a 2nd round pick this year. If you think of him as a punt returner and possibly replacing Logan this year or next, he still isn't worthy of a 2nd round pick. If you think of him as all of these added together, he just might be worthy of a 2nd round pick. Throw in just one injury to any of the other wide receivers and he becomes very critical for 2012 (and for those who believe in the Madden curse, this year depth is going to be needed big time!).
Ryan Broyles is one of the top collegiate receivers of all time production-wise. He did for Oklahoma what Calvin Johnson did for the Lions last year, holding the record for catches, yards and touchdowns. He's apparently a very good route runner and good at YACs (Yards after the catch). Not afraid to and pretty efficient at playing slot. Tore his left ACL November 11, 2011 and is just now starting to get back into practicing. NFL conditioning and rehab will probably bring him back the rest of the way before camp starts. Had he not injured his ACL his draft stock would've been upper 2nd round easily. So, in one reality, he was not a reach, he was not a bad choice, he just wasn't the expected choice... especially considering who was still on the board (other people's boards, not the Lions board) at that point in time. Many of those supposedly better players went in round 3 not 2 and some still aren't drafted as I type this.
So, some links:
#12 WR: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AstbiM26zqkmdEV5OWxkNDJEc2Rsa0RTcHdheXlBb2c&gid=3
6th best WR here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar0S-ku6SFH7dEtXWndkcVg2YzNmS29kR1Uxc29XRlE&gid=0
Confession time. I didn't see this pick coming. Wasn't happy at the time of the pick either. But, like most of the Lions player moves, it's growing on me. I think I would've still drafted Vinny Curry but they didn't ask me so we'll see how this works out.
With the 85th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft the Lions select Louisiana-Lafayette Cornerback Dwight (Bill) Bentley.
Immediately after this selection I was thinking I had never heard of this guy. Who is Dwight Bentley? Part of that was that he goes by the name of Bill... Bill Bentley. Part of it was I wasn't paying attention to my board because once again I was expecting a different pick by the Lions. I had 3 cornerbacks on my board that were on the list of Lions contacts and I was expecting one of those to be picked. One was ranked 51, one was at 70, and the other was at 99. I never noticed the guy sitting at 93... one Dwight aka Bill Bentley.
The Huddle Report had him at 67, Sideline Scouting at 78 and NFP at 117 just to name a few. I have no doubt he was also the top dude on the Lions draft board at this point in the draft, though I'm not sure why he was ahead of players such as RB Jamal Miller and the like, but all the other teams are passing on these guys too, so there must be a valid reason even if I'm unaware of what that reason is.
Dwight's contact with the team was pretty much his Senior Bowl film. He showed skills that were mostly never used in college and impressed the Lions greatly. His 4.43 speed is impressive. His ballhawking skills are fairly well developed though he does need to control his angle of attack a bit better. He needs coaching but the potential and the speed is there. This is probably a better pick then it seemed at first... no, I'm quite sure this is a better pick then it seemed... now it's up to Gunther and company to get him NFL ready... the guy has a very high ceiling.
Now for some links:
11th CB: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AstbiM26zqkmdEV5OWxkNDJEc2Rsa0RTcHdheXlBb2c&gid=17
One more confession. Wasn't expecting this pick but not upset with it either, especially after reading the above links (plus others I can not post a link to). Since I have enough players on my board remaining to fill the entire 4th round with picks without taking a player ranked 4th round (in other words, I have almost 32 second and third rounders on my board left to be drafted) this draft is turning out to be one of the most confusing ones ever. Lions still need or might end up with a defensive end, running back, clipboard holder (ie: 3rd QB), and maybe a linebacker... along with some more OLine help. Look for guys who are versatile, can play special teams or multiple positions, because so far, ALL the Lions picks are one or the other!