Monday, March 10, 2008

The Bell Tolls...At least 'til Camp

First off, great comments on all the stories. Great that you caught a few of my mistakes, and I love the different viewpoints and suggestions.

Had a hard time tonight deciding whether to talk about RB or Oline, or I may hit on all three. The Lions' jar of endless cap space with which to sign back-ups and guys to compete for spots still continues to amaze me. I wrote a week ago I thought they were one good FA under the cap. And then they signed both Darby AND Kelly. And re-signed Foster (at or near veteran minimum, I'm sure.). Now there are reports they have brought back/are bringing back Bell on another one year deal.

I've seen complaints about the Lions signing the same guys they went 7-9 with last year - Fisher, Cason, Foster, Bell... but I agree the difference is they were brought in to be back-ups, or in Bell's case to push KJ's rehab, just like last year. Funny the same motivational technique will likely work two off seasons in a row. Sometimes life is crazy like that.

In other news, I LMAO when I saw that Warrick Dunn did not sign with the Lions...he went to...drum roll please...Tampa Bay! Back to the Bucs where he started. Oh the irony.

Oline and RB's. Can't have one without the other. (If I were Michael Silver I would write a parody of "Love and Marriage" with that premise, but hey -- I do this when I should be sleeping.)

I think all of those reading this site will agree that football begins and ends in the trenches. Whoever wins the battle at the line of scrimmage will usually win the game. I have been calling for OT as a prime need for the Lions -- so I decided to take a closer look at that with all the "draft a 1st round RB" I've been hearing, just to be sure I'm seeing the issue clearly.

I learned that Ramierez has also played C besides G. Hopefully this means that when he makes the active roster this year we will never see Blaine "pancaked" Saiapa again. He spent more time on his back than Kitna.

Right now I see the O-Line as (Starter/Backup):

LT - Backus/Scott/Foster
LG - Mulitalo/Ramierez/Davis
C - Raiola/Ramierez
RG - Peterman/Davis/Ramierez
RT - Scott/Foster/Deep DooDoo

Looking at this, G and C actually have some solid talent, mix of veteran and younger guys, and good depth. Tackle depends entirely on whether you think Backus should be starting at LT still, and whether you think Scott is a starter at RT. As I sit looking at it, George Foster signing looks good. (Let me explain)

Before they signed him, they had only 2 OT's -- their starters -- on the roster. Even if they draft an OT, Foster is likely the odd man out, and needs to have a great camp to earn a roster spot. Get your head in the game (finally) or get out.

With their current starters, I think if the line is pretty solid if the T can stay healthy. Since this is a big IF with both of them -- the Lions need to use one of their first 4 picks on an OT.

Now to RB. They currently have KJ (in rehab, not the Britney Spears kind), Calhoun (coming off another injury), Cason (returner who will have to beat out returners who can actually play another position, and not just be listed at it to make the roster), and Bell (was a healthy scratch for the last half of the season, which totally screwed chance of landing even a TJ Duckett sized contract.) Bell badly wants another chance to audition for at least a moderate sized payday, and feels the Lions are the only way to do it. He came back not just because Martz is gone, or because he felt "valued" - but because he wants to put on a show to get the money.

Smart move by the Lions. This will make him work his tail off in camp, in preseason, and during the season. He will also keep his mouth shut so he doesn't get benched for "personality" reasons again. To me, Bell is like the big-mouthed braggart in junior high who talked a great fight, and then got the snot kicked out of him. At that point he either learns to keep his mouth shut, or eventually ends up dead in the gutter. Some guys need several lessons before they figure it out. He came cheap, is an average to above average back, knows the offense, and is worth bringing to camp to see if he's learned his lesson, or is going to get kicked to the gutter.

All that being said, while I was wavering before, the Lions need to draft a RB. Just not in round 1. No way. If Mendenhall or Stewart is there, Millen needs to work some of his move-around-the-draft-board-in-his-magic-Lionel Train and trade back in the first round and pick up either another 2nd or a 3rd and 4th he can trade to get another 2nd.

The RB class is deep, Deep, DEEP I hear --with guys who, depending on the year, would be taken in the end of the first round/early second being projected to last well into the late 3rd. This is Great news for the Lions! They can pick up the bruising back they need to complement their finesse backs, and they can do it with either of their picks in the third, or even by trading into the late 2nd if their guy is there.

I have looked at, and living in Lansing seen, Mike Hart. I may not watch a lot fo college ball, but this guys has "bust" if taken before the 6th written all over him. He was injured almost the entire time he was at Michigan. Think the NFL is going to help that? All I've heard on the radio in the mornings for four years is how eitehr Mike Hart was spectacular or Mike Hart was injured. I'd rather see them give Calhoun a shot at starting. I have nothing against UofM BTW -- I am an NMU (Northern Michigan University) alumni where Hockey is king. Local media is all about the Blue and Gold and Green and White, so I do pick up a fair amount of info on some of those guys.

I know lots of trade rumors are floating around, but at this point I see Kennedy and Kalimba as the major trade prospects on draft day. If there is one thing Millen has done well, it is move around the draft board. He managed to parlay what, 4 or 5 5th round picks and an extra 4th into 2 additional 2nd rounders. We could argue about the picks he made all day. But where he was picking? No contest. Hands down the one thing he has done right and done well year after year.

sorry I jumped around more than usual...I usually try to be more focused.

End result of my thoughts today is that right now, MLB is priority 1. Top need. There have been some good suggestions on here, keep it up.

Before I go, I feel the need to fully address the ZERO 4-7th round picks on the roster. I put ZERO in big letters so I would remember to go back and look it up since it is obviously wrong...and then didn't. Looked at it and said yup - ZERO is spelled right. Thanks for all of your corrections and if there is one thing we learned, is that there are actually more than a couple of later round picks who are serving in backup roles and have potential, or in the case of Scott, starting roles, on the roster. Makes me want to go back and re-evaluate the Marinelli drafts. Some other night. After all, it's a long off season, I've gotta sleep sometime, and if I keep having glaring inaccuricies like that someone will mistake me for Brian VanOchten. Whew. Hope I don't have nightmares.

Think MLB thoughts...Think MLB thoughts...Think MLB thoughts...


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear the Wildcat comment! Go Lakers!

Everyone forgets about depth and the need for depth. The last 10-15 guys really make your team. Cason, Foster, Bell and Darby are some of those guys.

"O" LINE: Wow! Add to the list the newest Lion lineman: G Corey Hulsey, as well as teammates T Jon Dunn, and C/G Ben Noll. All of whom would've been forgotten with out the aid of the Lions official roster.

It was misconstrued what I think. I love the BIG GUYS in the trenches. I think we need to go OT in round one. I think the Lions are going to go OLB or MLB and abandoned OT until round three, pick 2 until I see something to lead me otherwise.

Blaine Saipaia was on his back more than Paris Hilton during Spring Break 2004 in South Padre Island. I will-swear to GOD Almighty, shave my head if he is on the opening day roster.

Your roster is pretty accurate from what I see as well.

RB--Calhoun is a guy that needs to catch a break. I hope he can have a healthy camp and make a REAL game or two. I also hopes he learns to trust those knees. He really seemed afraid to cut on his knees when he did come back.

Bell really lost value when he asked to be traded. It made him mouthy, unreliable, and scared a few teams off. Now, if he would've produced before KJ got back...he may have had a leg to stand on. BUT HE DIDN'T. And I agree. He will come into camp motivated (and so will KJ) wanting to be "the man".

First round backs could include Darren McFadden (ARK), Rashard Mendenhall (ILL), Jonathan Stewart (ORE), and Felix Jones (ARK). Second rounders include Steve Slaton (WVA), Ray Rice (RUT), Jamaal Charles (TEX), Allen Patrick (OK), Tashard Choice (GT), and Cory Boyd (SC). Third rounders could be Kevin Smith (C FL), Chris Johnson (E Car), Matt Forte (TUL), Thomas Brown (Ga), and Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis (MIS)

Later Mike Hart (U of M), Anthony Alridge (HOU), Marcus Thomas (UTEP), Justin Forsett (CAL), Dantrelle Savage (OK St), Yveson Bernard (Or St), Brandon Ore (WVa), Lance Ball (MD), and Amir Pinnex (MN). There are bunches of them. They seem to be quality backs; most over 1,000 yards last year. Most are first team in their respected conferences.

The thoughts tonight are on MLB: Dan Connor (Pn St), Curtis Lofton (OK), Vince Hall (Va Tech), Jared Mayo (TEN), Jon Goff (Vandy), Spencer Larson (AZ), Tavarus Gooden (MIA), and Phillip Wheeler (Ga Tech). Which one? Don't know yet.


CHIEFGER139 said...

I think after kowalskis article on a rb in the 1st 3 picks-they are seriously looking at stewrart or mendanhal in the 1st if there available, many say ot but dont look like theres that many goodones available-he may go out in get conner?? that wouldnt be bad either, some say a de-that would be great but wonder if one will be available at 15?? i almost guess it will be the rb 1st, the lb 2nd and then maybe a ot. i figure if duckett got 5 yars a carry with the line we have now a top notch runningback will too seeing how duckett did it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, kinda going with Chiefger on this one but I really hope they don't grab a running back in the first round considering how much talent there'll be in the later rounds as well as how many good halfbacks have come out of late rounds in the past few years. Ideally, I think they should take a RB in the 3rd or 4th round. I've seen a lot of talk about taking Hart but honestly, I don't think his skills are very translatable into the NFL. As much as I liked him a UofM I'd avoid him like the plague

I think what makes the most sense for the lions right now is to trade down for a late first round pick to grab a linebacker or possibly even trade up for a OT or DE because at this point their pick doesn't really suit there needs either way unless they want to get a RB or CB. If they do keep their pick I think they should probably take Otah, but he still worries me because he's not too fast and he seems like a liability against a good pass rusher.

BTW, I like the site detroit fan, you really sound like you know your stuff. Kinda weeds out the more annoying posters from Mlive too which is a nice bonus.


Anonymous said...

Good to see someone with an unbiased realistic view of Hart. The posters that say we should draft him in the 3rd are crazy. He screams bust more than Dolly Parton's profile shot. I like the idea of getting a OT in the first but I fear that the good ones will be gone and Otah seems sketchy. If McFadden or Mendenhall is still there maybe we can more down a tad and take Connor and then Nicks in the second which seems like good value.