Sunday, April 21, 2013

Detroit Lions 2013 pre-NFL Draft Blog Part II

Many months of work by many people went into preparing for this blog entry. Not in writing it, but in obtaining and organizing the information it contains.

Thousands of hours of work were performed by many people who create NFL Draft Big Boards. These individuals watch film on many players, detailing their pro's and con's, write profiles, give players grades and otherwise rank players. Some are former front office personnel who now do it for various websites or news outlets, some are trained in scouting by the same schools that employed scouts went to, others do it for themselves with no formal training. If I left anyone out I apologize. The end result is, after many hundreds of hours of film study multiple people have rankings of players entering the draft. These are not mock drafts, but big boards, similar to what real NFL front offices create. Some are, of course, better at it then others, and you will find a very wide range of opinions on various players, but in the end many players names end up near the top of the lists and many others closer to the bottom. Some of these boards are free to look at it and others charge for access. I pay for some and visit/read many of the free versions. I do not have formal scout training nor do I study film the way these people do. What I do is take a number of these big boards and average out the rankings of every player creating my own big board... the sites I use are random, I do not pay them for the use of their information nor do I steal it and call it my own.

This year I used the information from 11 sites (kind of like hiring 11 scouts for my front office) and compiled the names and numbers into one big board then sorted it by the average rank of each player. Unlike real NFL front offices with real paid scouts who rank players based on scheme fit and other important factors specific to each team, my information is more generic out of necessity. It took a rather large number of hours to compile this information as well but I'm not complaining, it does however give me a great appreciation for the man hours involved for the 32 front offices in the NFL to prepare for the upcoming draft. My board is not for sale and the entire list of 487 names are for my own personal use during the draft, I have however posted the first 160 names on my website at (equivalent to the first 5 rounds) should you wish to see the results.

At the same time that would be scouts are creating their draft boards a member of my forum that goes by the name of LionHawk scours the internet, radio and press for news and photos of the Lions meeting with various draft prospects. The easy ones, the 30 visits to Allen Park are included, as are any combine interviews, proday interviews, and other major (versus minor) contact the Lions may have had with various players. After many months and hundreds of hours he creates a contact list. In the past, there were drafts where every draft pick the Lions made were on the list. There were a couple years when the Lions were a bit more secretive and got a few prospects that were drafted who were not on the list, but for the most part, every Lions draft pick this year is likely to be somewhere on the LionHawk list, as well as most if not all the undrafted guys they pick up after the draft.

When you go to my website link above and view the top 160 names on my big board you will notice that some of the names are in bold. Those are the players on the LionHawk list. That doesn't mean those not in bold won't be drafted by the Lions, but the odds do favor those that are in bold. The rest of my blog entry here will be using the information from the compiled lists I have made mention of, hopefully it's as accurate as I think it is, it's certainly as accurate as I can possibly make it.

The first thing I notice when studying the combined lists is that even though the Lions have the 5th pick in round 1 they have made contact with a lot of players who ranked between 11 and 24. That tells me they are very hopeful of trading down to the upper middle of round 1. Most fans I have talked with also hope the Lions will trade down in this draft which is obviously the direct opposite of what Mel Kiper recently said the Lions should do. I'm good with that.

So if I combine what I stated in my blog entry Part I with the information above I end up saying that if the Lions don't trade down they will likely select at pick #5 in the draft one of the following players if they are still there:

LT Luke Joeckel
LT Eric Fisher
DE Bjoern Werner (a late addition due to being a late visit to the Lions)
DE Ezekiel Ansah
G Chance Warmack

Now guards very rarely get drafted in the top 15 but it could happen, not the salary cap nor any other factor prevents them from doing so, it's just less likely. I left off the list CB Dee Milliner because as I stated in Part I it is in my opinion that the Lions won't be drafting a CB at all this draft. I also left off Dion Jordan because he does not exactly fit the profile for a 4/3 DE and the Lions don't need a 3/4 OLB. Could they draft him in the hopes he can add 2o pounds without losing speed and play a 4/3 DE? Sure. The odds are against it but they could.

Now if the Lions do trade down a little ways in round 1 a number of names can be added to the prospect list, assuming for a moment that both Ansah and Warmack drop if the Lions don't make them their pick, and assuming the Lions don't trade down too far, the list now looks like this (also keeping in mind my 3 positions from part one of this blog entry; WR, DE, OLine):

DE Bjoern Werner
DE Ezekiel Ansah
G Chance Warmack
DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo
G Jonathan Cooper
T Lane Johnson
WR Cordarelle Patterson
WR Tavon Austin

Out of this list I think Mingo is a long shot for the same reasons as Dion Jordan. I also think Tavon Austin isn't exactly the tall powerful bookend type WR they are looking for to play opposite Calvin Johnson. I didn't even mention S Kenny Vaccaro, OLB Jarvis Jones, TE Tyler Eifert for the reasons given before. When all is said and done, it appears to me that the Lions will be drafting DE Ansah, one of 3 offensive tackles, or one of 2 guards for their first pick, and it may or may not require a trade down to do it. The long shot being WR Cordarelle Patterson.

By now you can see my line of thinking so to quicken up the pace a little, my Lions 2nd pick in the draft comes down to these players:

DE Cornellius (Tank) Carradine
WR Robert Woods
WR Justin Hunter

Or possibly one of the players I mentioned for the first pick if they slide down. They could also trade down, or as has been their M.O. in most Mayhew drafts, trade up, to take another player. The options for their 2nd round pick do appear limited, so either they have someone ranked higher then I do, have other plans then sitting still, or plan to take a position that goes against my thinking (as I said in Part I of this draft blog). It's also obviously possible they had made contact with a player that escaped LionHawk's list, I wouldn't count on that though.

The 3rd draft pick might be made from this list:

C Travis Frederick
WR Aaron Dobson
G/RT Brian Winters
DE/OLB Cornelius Washington
DE William Gholston
DE Devin Taylor

I think I shall wait to see who they do take in round 1 and if they trade down before making any more predictions for the last day of the draft, or perhaps just a day or two to see what feedback I get from this blog entry. I will make up one more list right now though, well three actually, which of these three draft results do you prefer (assuming no trades)?

Draft Results #1: LT Fisher, DE Tank Carradine, WR Aaron Dobson
Draft Results #2: DE Ezekiel Ansah, WR Robert Woods, G/RT Brian Winters
Draft Results #3: G Chance Warmack, WR Justin Hunter, DE/OLB Cornelius Washington

There are obviously many other combinations that are equally good (or bad) options, I just threw 3 out there for discussion sake. I myself am good with either of the first 2 results. What I wouldn't like to see is going off from my calculated thinking and ending up with a draft like this: CB Dee Milliner, LB Manti Te'o, RB Johnathan Franklin... all guys also on the LionHawk list.

For you who don't have the link to my forum and would like it, it can be found here:

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