Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 2013 rebuild part I

After the NFL’s worst team ever went 0-16 in 2008 Matt Millen was replaced by Martin Mayhew who went on to hire Jim Schwartz as head coach. The largest rebuild of an NFL team ever had begun (that would be in my opinion anyway). Mayhew and company had a plan to rebuild the team and a large part of that plan was to build the team through the draft (as various other perennially competitive teams do such as the Green Bay Packers).

Total disclosure: after nearly every one of the drafts under Mayhew I was quite pleased with the results immediately after the draft, not all the picks, but most of them.

Anyway, the problem with building through the draft is you have to actually draft well. So let’s see how the Lions have done with their drafts under Mayhew and how much those players from those drafts have contributed in the highly anticipated 2012 season.

2009 with a total of 10 draft picks 5 are still on the team and 5 are helping in 2012:

1-1 #1 Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
1-20 #20 Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
2-1 #33 Louis Delmas DB Western Michigan
3-12 #76 DeAndre Levy LB Wisconsin
3-18 #82 Derrick Williams WR Penn State
4-15 #115 Sammie Lee Hill DT Stillman
6-19 #192 Aaron Brown RB Texas Christian
7-19 #228 Lydon Murtha T Nebraska
7-26 #235 Zack Follett LB California
7-46 #255 Dan Gronkowski TE Maryland

2010 with a total of 6 draft picks 5 are still on the team and 2 are helping in 2012:
1-2 #2 Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska
1-30 #30 Jahvid Best RB California
3-2 #66 Amari Spievey DB Iowa
4-30 #128 Jason Fox T Miami (FL)
7-6 #213 Willie Young DE North Carolina State
7-48 #255 Timothy Toone WR Weber State

2011 with a total of 5 draft picks 3 are still on the team and 2 are helping in 2012:
1-13 #13 Nick Fairley DT Auburn
2-12 #44 Titus Young WR Boise State
2-25 #57 Mikel Leshoure RB Illinois
5-26 #157 Douglas Hogue LB Syracuse
7-6 #209 Johnny Culbreath T South Carolina State

2012 with a total of 8 draft picks all are still on the team and well, some have helped here and there in 2012:
1-23 #23 Riley Reiff T Iowa
2-22 #54 Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma
3-22 #85 Dwight Bentley DB Louisiana-Lafayette
4-30 #125 Ronnell Lewis LB Oklahoma
5-3 #138 Tahir Whitehead LB Temple (traded 2013’s 4th to get)
5-13 #148 Chris Greenwood DB Albion
6-26 #196 Jonte Green DB New Mexico State
7-16 #223 Travis Lewis LB Oklahoma

Since none of the 2012 draft picks are starters or even heavy rotational players yet at this point, let’s look at just the first 3 years. 21 picks, 8 are starting and 1 is rotated in somewhat regularly. I’m not sure what the percentage needs to be to make building through the draft a viable plan, but one would think something closer to 60% or more would be helpful. At closer to 40% then 50% you kind of have to say there is room for improvement. A lot of room for improvement. One could even say that other then 2009 the draft have been somewhat of a rather large disappointment actually.

So step 1 in the Detroit Lions 2013 rebuild plan is to, in fact, draft better. All the great wheeling and dealing in the world doesn’t help if the selections keep failing in future years to add to your core team.

We already know it’s easy to do worse then Mayhew has done and equally hard to do better, but doing better is going to have to be a requirement to keep the job and improve the team.

For a complete list of the Lions drafts please visit http://www.drafthistory.com/index.php/teams/lions

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