So, you say, you hath joined the forces of Glitz and are gunning for a RB? Ummm...Wrong again.
Hey there buddy, if you aren't advocating a RB or an OT in round one, then what the heck is up with the title? You teasing? Work too darn many hours on Friday and Saturday (thus no blog yesterday)? Glare from those Pink Lions hoodies makin ya loopy?
The answer: Probably all of the above. Actually, I think they should take an OT and then a RB...in the 3rd round. This is an idea in its early stages, and it depends on how the draft plays out.
Let me elaborate, and you'll see what I mean. First of all, lets look at the Lions need areas:
MLB, OT, RB, Dline
At pick 15, the top DE are projected to be long gone, but Harvey may be left on the board. Possibility, but DE rarely start their first year -- and didn't they draft Alama-Francis in the 2nd last year to do just that -- learn the D for a year while they gave Kalimba his final shot at starting? If it weren't for a hamstring injury, and the fact that they took it easy bringing him back in so they didn't damage him long term, he would likely have seen a lot of playing time last season. He is already, if I am correct, penciled in as the starter at end opposite White. So even if the Lions draft a DE, he wouldn't start unless he beats out either White or 5-0, which isn't likely. I don't like the idea of a 1st rounder a on guy who won't contribute much year one.
Next, MLB -- the only real 1st round MLB is...umm...well, really, even Connors isn't one. He is projected to be able to play MLB in the NFL, but hasn't, really. End of the First to mid-round one is where the best MLB prospects - Lofton and Mayo, with Goff likely in the late second, poss early third, are projected to go. None of the teams drafting before Detroit in the 2nd has a real need at MLB; in fact, the Lions are one of the few teams running the 4-3 that Lofton/Mayo seems to fit that are looking for a MLB in the earliest rounds at all. So one of the top two is likely to be present when they make their second pick. So put down MLB for round two. Well, that still leaves the Lions with round 1.
How about RB? The glamor pick. I think either someone will be stupid and either A. Trade ahead of the Lions for Mendenhall, since they rightly believe Millen is stupid enough to take him after releasing KJ, or B. Will trade WITH Millen after he convinces them he will pick him if they don't. I'm hoping scenario B., but since I don't want to throw trades into this mix, I'll go with A. Even if B occurs, I feel (and hope the Lions do) that there will be quality RB who can fit their needs in round 3 -- including the following names I've heard such as Rice, and so far my favorite, Matt Forte RB out of Tulane. (I'm still reasearching this, so feel free to throw in your own suggestions.) He is likey to be there in round 3 for either of the Lions' picks. So I'm going to thow him on their first pick since they really do have to get a RB by the end of the third.
Umm...that still leaves the Lions with that pesky 1st rounder. Whatever to do? Keep on trucking down the list of needs I guess...to...
Oline -- this is an interesting one. The Bears are as slow or slower than the Lions to admit mistakes. They have Cedric Benson, are paying him lots of dough, and if they draft antoher back would have to admit they both made a mistake drafting Benson AND practically giving Thomas Jones to the Jets a year ago. As you know, My boss is a huge Chicago fan and while he'd like to see them take a RB or QB, he thinks the Bears are convinced (likely rightly so) that what they really need is...a young OT to shore up the line. They feel an improvement on the line will make Benson look a lot better, as many of their Oline are getting long in the tooth (for the record, he feels they're going with a WR in round two because they just plain don't have any outside of Marty Booker [yes that Marty Booker of Chicago past.]) Why the long Bears dialogue? Because what I've been seeing looking at not only mock drafts, but team fan sites says that Williams or Otah will be there at 14 -- but not both. And whoever is there, the Bears will take. They prefer Williams. Otah, from what I've seen and read, is a little less than motivated, has trouble with his weight, and well...take Aaron Gibson's career description, swap out the names, and that's what I'm coming up with so far. While this sounds like a perfect Millen pick...at 15?
we could take a look at other OT names I've seen bandied about but the one that seems to intrigue me the most is..Heath Benedict. Redshirted at Tenn, had elbow surgery (related to when he was a pro-pitching prospect) and was played at DT, OG, and OT. Transferred to Newberry where he was an outstanding RT. I've seen some unverified reports (I'm not an ESPN, Scouts Inc etc insider, so if anyone knows where to get good profiles, eval on guys, I'd appreciate. Without the dough.) that he was drilled at LT at the combine, and did pretty well. He seems to be a hard worker, and also seems to be pretty smart. I advocate the Lions targeting him with their second third round pick, or trading up in the 3rd to get him if necessary. (Gotcha, didn't I? How many didn't catch on that I wasn't talking about 1st round prospects anymore. Seriously, I'm not that crazy.)
The Lions current starting lineup at Oline of Backus-Mulitalo/Ramierez-Raiola-Peterman-Scott, with the new offensive schemes, seems to me that it could hold up for this year. Although, I can see Benedict pressing Scott to start at RT with a healthy competition between the two, resulting in...one of them winning the LT position from Backus as his skills continue their steady decline from good lineman, to decent, to medicore, to hope like heck one of those guys beats him out before then!! Scott was a 5th round pick with lots of potential, and I think he was really starting well before the thumb injury last season. After what he went through with a 7-step drop long developing pass play every down his first season, RT or even LT with a running game and some 3-5 step srops should be a breeze.
Now, remeber before calling me a complete idiot that this is just one idea. I'm the kind of guy who likes to look at things form all angles. Sometimes, you come up with ideas that seem crazy at first, but the more you look at them, the more the line between "crazy" and "genius" disappears. And if you are Mike Martz, you forget the distinction exists and get last year's Lions Offense.
What about that first pick? Have you forgotten all about it? Right now our first three rounds are:
3. Forte/Rice/Other RB who can break tackles with halfay decent speed
4+ not the point of this post.
I would dearly love to see the Lions trade back either later in the first round, but not past 23 or do the following. Even if they stay at 15, and yes, it would be a reach, I would like to look at one last position:
DT -- Right now they have Moore, Cody (who is more a DE/DT hybrid), Redding and Darby. Now, assuming they do NOT draft a DE as proposed above, move Cody back into the rotation at DE with Cory Smith, White, 5-0 -- and you have an opening for a starting (I see there being 3 starting DT in the T2, as rotation is necessary to keep them fresh enough to provide pressure.)
And the winner is...Kentwan Balmer. What I've read on the kid, his stats seem low because he is a run stopper, and was taken out on 3rd and long or other passing downs his first three years. He seems to be a big run stuffer, and would be the type of guy you'd need to guys to block if he tries to go up the gut. He's big (not Rogers big) at 308 and would be the perfect type of guy to learn from, and eventually replace Darby and play hard next to Redding. And as a 1st round pick, he would contribute his first year by rotating in on the line and spelling Darby, who plays all out but, as he is getting up in age, and will need to be rested a bit. (as if the coaches aren't used to that with S. Rog, minus age and planning.) He is rated as the third best DT, but isn't expected to make it past Carolina, who desperately needs a DT to replace the oft-injured and recently traded Kris Jenkins.
So if you fill him into the equation, the Lions would:
- Be starting IAF at DE
- Have an additional young starting DT to pair with Redding and learn from Darby
- Have a 3rd starting caliber OT to create competition, and give the Lions a stronger Oline due to the competition, and the increase in talent and youth. Have Benedict and Scott as starting OT within 1-2 seasons, or see improved play from Backus to hold them off. (as Rod showed with KJ, no one is safe.)
- Have a stud young RB to compete with Bell, Calhoun, and Cason and likely win the #2 role early, and possibly unseat Bell as starter by midseason -- if an injured KJ can do it, I have no doubt a 3rd rounder in this draft (which in weaker years, I am told, would be rated as low 1st early 2nd round talent) can do it.
- Have a solid young MLB who, yes, will have growing pains early -- but could be solid in the middle of line for years to come. We may even see Paris Hilt..I mean, Lenon in the MLB for one more year, or more likely, half a season as the rookie rotates in and learns, before he (Lenon) moves to his natural position at SLB. The Lions can then upgarde over him as a starter next draft, and keep him on as a backup to the SLB and MLB positions.
Okay, I'm ready. Bash away at this long-winded, but well thought out scenario. One thing you will see I go for is A. Feasability of the Lions doing it, and B. Reality of the players and/or trades being available.
Rod is a Dline guy at heart, and he knows that it takes a year or two to learn the position well. Darby may have just barely that much left in the tank, so he needs to get a starting possibility at DT in this draft. White is younger, so he can look for another DE later this draft or more likely next year.
You saw it here first. And possibly only here, and no where else again.
Didn't I promise fun draft sceanrios? Let me know what you think of my idea here, and other players you would pick at positions I outlined, etc. Or, place your own sceanrio here, but please try to keep in within the realms of possiblity. And just one more request: NO senario involving Roy W. trades. They are going to try to sign him long-term, or franchise him. Their offense is (still) going to be centered around the downfield threat opening up the run, play action, and slant routes, and for that to work in this NFL you need 2 top receivers, not 1. I've seen some pretty silly ones out there. (RW Trade speculation/suggestions) I'm sure you have too.
As I've said before, I'll try to poast nightly, but this is just a hobby for me, so sometimes I won't be able to. Glad everyone seems to be enjoying this blog, and appreciate all of you taking the time to read my ideas -- whether this is your first visit or your 30th. Keep up the great comments and critique.
Favorite Catch Phrase (from pitbull78 on Mlive): "If you build it, they can run."
funniest thing I've read in a long time: (In reference to Jon Kitna's shirt in his recent interview) "Posted by MHip on 03/14/08 at 6:38PM --3:16...obviously a reference to the average yards the Lions face on 3rd down."