Monday, May 5, 2008

Draft Recap/Eval Part 2: Rnd 1 & 2

I know all of you are familiar with how long I think it is before a draft can be fully evaluated. However, as I outlined last month, there are a couple of methods that I will use immediately follwoing the draft to see how A. The Lions did getting guys based on "projection" and "potential" (two words that end up wrong 50% of the time.) and B. How the GM did running the draft.

In Part 1, I addressed the GM. Part 2 will address rounds 1-2. Part 3 will address rounds 3-7. Part 4 will be my final overview of the big picture.

After that, it will be on to the off season and information from mini-camps, off season moves, and new position evaluations as the players/situations change.

As I read and listened to draft day commentary on streaming Internet audio, it drove me nuts.
Cherilous in the 20's? Are you guys kidding me?? Look at what happened after the Lions picked at 17...19 and 21 were Otah and Baker (teams paid heavily to move up to get them), then BROWN -- all the 1st and 2nd round rated tackles were gone by 26. Lions got the guy they wanted. He's not "projected" to be anything -- he is a heck of a RT and can play LT as well, though not at the same level. Other teams influence where you need to take someone. Lions got the best RT after Long; Albert is a G who would be developmental project at T, and Williams was out of reach. The teams looking to trade up were looking to trade up and take an OT at that point in the draft. Moving back in the 1st that couple of spots allowed them to take Smith at the top of the 3rd as well. The Lions have solid if not outstanding stability at LT with Backus. But they haven't had a reliable RT in how long? I have no problem with them taking a top-tier RT, and if he can slide to LT -- great! If not, draft Backus' replacement next year. Along with Raiola's too. They have good young G competing to step in (or in Peterman's case, already stepped in)

I was not at all depressed on the first day. There are probably a couple of reasons for that: I was so gosh-dang busy busting butt that I didn't have time to keep following what was going on. And did anyone else notice how frustrating it was on draft day to get the details of the trades that were going on?? I found myself looking up and down the board to see which teams had swapped spots!

Another reason is that I liked Cherilus, and had a gut feeling he wouldn't last past the end of round 1.

A third reason is that I go to view the Lions' pick of Cherilus around pick 25. So as I was looking at their pick and what followed is when the Texans tagged Brown. At that point, I literally jumped up in the air with excitement! There was a serious run on OT in round 1 -- and the Lions got in right where the prime taking stopped, and just before the panic kicked in. If the Lions were not in need of a lineman, they could have been on the receiving end of one of those blockbuster trades, but I'm okay with that. Cherilus and Otah were rated similar, so I have no problems that they took him over Otah. RB was a deep class, and I knew they could get a starter later.

I also found out about that time that they had moved up to almost the top of the 3rd round -- essentially the 3rd pick of a new draft -- a new draft that would be shy 63 players from the original. However, with the break before day 2 I knew they would be able to re-evaluate their board, and fill in what was needed.

Overall, I think that O-Line has been duct-taped for too long and that the early round OT was a definite need pick. I don't fly with those who devalue the pick because he isn't projected to be a great LT. Last time I checked, it can be great for the running game, and consequently the passing game, to have an exceptional RT -- which is what the Lions have now. I think that the entire O-Line is important -- as 8 teams showed by picking 3 LT, 4 RT and 1 OG in round one. (If you're wondering - Brown, Cherilus, Long, and Otah are the RT, Alberts is the G, and Williams, Clady and Baker are the LT candidates.) I wouldn't have liked Baker because he has been collecting injuries, and seemed about on par with Backus. The other LT candidates (IMO) were gone before the Lions could get to them.

I remember reading many posts and articles that were afraid/ranting that the Lions would "reach" for Williams, Harvey, Mayo, or Rivers at 15...and all were gone before that pick arrived; apparently, other teams (including the Patriots) agreed with the Lions' evaluation of those players -- some enough so to "reach" themselves. Make no mistake -- I am 100% convinced that if the Lions had gotten Mayo at 15, they would have been mercilessly hammered for "reaching" -- while the Patriots are being praised for a "gutty pick that will lead to ROY for Mayo." Just goes to show how biased and pointless most "analysis" is these days. (possibly mine included, but I like to think I give some fresh ideas.)

I did try to find some more info on Cherilus and his "off field troubles" - but what I found really looks like the kid got caught in the middle of something, and really didn't do anything wrong. There is a couple of decent articles related to the topic. First of all, the basics and further developments here - including that the guy may just be trying to get money out of him. But his college coach kept him on the team, even though he has shown no hesitation in dropping other players, as highlighted here. This led me to believe that he should be fine. Other reports I read on his charitable work, etc. also don't mesh with how he's portrayed in the initial article.

I also found a great article from a Boston paper that talks about him a bit, as well as one from Mlive that references a couple of other full articles.

From what I've seen and read, he seems like a motivated, team centered, hard-working player who has something to prove every time he's on the field, and enjoys the challenge.

I would not at all say "Reach" unless the Lions were sitting at 26 instead of the Texans and chose Brown, or had to give up two second rounders to get Otah or Baker. "Giving up" taking an OG and moving to the top of the 3rd round (and a top of the round 5th) to get an exceptional RT is not a reach in my book -- it is a great move.

So then it was away form computers and draft I didn't get to check in again until right about the time the Lions picked Dizon. With Mayo going top ten, and Lofton sailing away early round 2 where most people expected Connor to go, I was a little surprised at first that they went with Dizon.

Since apparently the Lions' picks don't matter as much as being a good place to ALWAYS put a commercial and move onto a new subject after the obligatory WR jab, I was irritated that there was nothing to go on for draft day itself. So, me being me, I started researching -- and liked what I saw. Kudos BTW to Killer for pegging this almost a month ago on Mlive. At the time, I knew little of Dizon, and honestly didn't do much looking since I was convinced until right before the draft that Lofton would be there. I was thinking "reach" initially, considering Dizon more on the level of Goff or Wheeler -- possible guys, but who needed a year or two to develop behind a solid starter.

So I watched some of his highlight clips, and looked up some info.

UCF Bio - Some great Info here.
Dizon - this picture of him shows that while he may be a bit shorter, he is no weak build. reminds me of Sims in a lot of ways -- just a real solid brick-wall kind of guy. But quick brick wall.
WMA - This is rod Marinelli's interview with Pat Kirwan, where he discusses a number of things, including Dizon and his "instincts" -- and form what I've been picking up since, and especially after the mini camp - is that if he keeps working and performing at his current level, with his uncanny instincts, he will be the starting MLB on opening day; Lenon will give him a good run for his money, and I don't expect Dizon to have the starting job wrapped up until well into the preseason at the earliest. However, there has to be something there for sure if Marinelli is even thinking of starting him as a rookie, considering how he personally views the MLB and its' responsibility in the Detroit Deuce.
Highlights from SI, an Interview, and other video and commentary from web sources.

All in all, considering how the chips fell for the Lions, they seemed really prepared, and had their targets lined up one after another. They didn't just draft "BPA" -- rather, they took a combination of BPA, Position of Need, Depth of Players at Position Remaining Relative to who will Remain at the next pick.

I also read that there was more than one T2 team -- Including Indy -- that were going to take him or trade up into the late 2nd to tab Dizon before he went in the 3rd to be sure they could get him -- which is essentially what the Lions did. As Hondo's article, and one in the Freep indicated, Millen caught some good crap for a change in getting players other teams wanted before they could get them. It seems the Lions had a much clearer idea of how the first day could pan out before the draft started, and that their board was stacked much better than in years past.

Only time will tell if these two guys work out, but from all indications, the Lions will have 2 new long-term starters from their #1 and #2 picks in the draft at key foundation positions. When was the last time we could honestly project that?


Anonymous said...


I'll back you up on this. 100%. Completely. This term should be on Lake State list of "banned words" for overused or mis-used phrases.

How about this. Those that drafted Alberts and Connor and Gooden and Lofton may have "SQUARE PEG-ROUND HOLED IT".

Goz is a right tackle that learned left tackle because of team need in college.

Jordan Dizon is a T2 MLB.

Alberts played guard. A team may have drafted him to be a tackle, but what if it doesn't work? Have you ever beaten a square peg into a round hole?

Gooden and Lofton are good MLB's. Are they T2 MLB's. Hand me that mallet and we can see.

Heck, let's try a Mendenhall or a Stewart in a cut-back run game, something they have never tried. By the way, please pass me the sledge hammer.

All these experts want to fit players into systems because they have long arms and may be able to make the shift. What happens when it doesn't work?

I remember a can't-miss kid from Oregon who could develop with a former QB coach that had to change a thing or two but would be great.

Poor Joey. Poor Steve. Square pegs in Millen's round hole board of a team.

And you guys thought Millen just played with trains. At least he's getting the circles in the right spots these days.
Jordon Dizon's

Anonymous said...

Jordan Dizon is going to be successful in this defense. Look at his comments regarding how similar the defense at Colorado was, to the defense in Detroit.

Look at Marinelli's familiarity with the boys (coaches) from Florida State. Looks like they know Marinelli well, and have taught similar prinicpals to Mr. Flewelling even before he takes part in team drills in Detroit.

Cliff Avril (same thing). His use in PU country is familial with what is asked of him here in Detroit at the next level.

Kevin Smith's college coach is an offensive genius. Who used the same offense at Notre Dame when......Jim Coletto was at N.D. I think Kevin has an understanding of what is being placed in front of him, even before he is called to the dinner table.

Up and down the lineup, you don't see one pick without touches of continuity with either the coaching staffs knowing each other, or systemology and terminology that these young guys have used previously.

REACH - I think not. Square pegs. Nope. Millen is really starting to get a grasp on what it takes to be successful.

You also aren't seeing them take the "Superstar that got hurt and was drafted a round after where he was projected to be before his injury" guy.

Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman could play. When they could play. Those are lessons learned, too. Now, it's nap time.


Anonymous said...

What a great point you made!
If I remember right, the Lions had several years of drafting players who fell because of injury. They would get them a round or 2 later.
"Big Daddy" had a foot injury and was not drafted where he was expected. Many thought he would not be ready till late in the season of his 1st year. They were wrong and he played very well.


CHIEFGER139 said...

DIZON WAS A REACH-probably cherilious was too-but like you said-all the offensive lineman were going fast and they decided it was a major need and they got a kid they liked-in rd 2 the same with lb-they were going fast so they got the guy they wanted-so what if other teams dont or experts think he would of been there later we couldnt risk it-then at the end of rd 2 all the runningbacks were dropping like flys so -well you will cover it on day 2-they stayed focused on needs and got the best guys they wanted at key positions-cant blame them for that-hope it works

Anonymous said...


The whole point is that Detroit's picks aren't reaches in the sense that the pundit's draft predictions were completely off. A reach should be classified as a pick that is made by a team long before that player is going to be drafted, and according to most mock drafts, this would have been true of Cherilius, and in this sense, yes, he was a reach.

But The fact that all of these OT's were drafted in the 1st round shows that the mock drafts drastically underestimated the severity of need at OT in the 1st round. As Detfan said, 8 teams tried to fill OT in round 1...most mock drafts probably listed somewhere around 4 or 5 teams picking OT.

So, that being said, the only way you can label Cherilious a reach is if the other OT's were graded far better than he was. Of those that were remaining, I think Otah makes the only legitimate argument as a better pick for most teams. However, due to the Lions' change in blocking scheme, Otah is not a better fit for the Lions. He is way too big and slow and can't move well in space (a cornerstone of the zone blocking scheme).

All things considered, I'd say even if Cherilious was somehow a "reach" it was only by 4 or 5 picks at the most (and I'd say that's being pretty generous), which really isn't too much to fuss over. I have a feeling that the pundits were calling out Detroit more because it showed that their precious mock drafts were wrong than because it was a poor pick. Some of them even had the guts to label the 1st day a disaster while praising the Lions' 2nd day...which, of course, was made entirely possible by their Day 1 trade!

The only argument left, really, is that the Lions should have drafted Mendenhall. Again, I don't really see all the excitement over him. He really didn't even play until this past season (in 2005 he totaled just under 50 carries) which makes me wonder how everyone can rant and rave about him when they hardly have anything to base their arguments on. With Smith you have 4 years where he was extremely productive and put a small-time team in the national spotlight. Meanwhile, Mendenhall only finished 10th in the Big Ten in rushing yards/game. His big redeaming value is that he averaged 8.2 yards/run (highest in the nation) but how you can rate him so highly on 1 season...and even then, a season where he has a relatively low number of carries, is far beyond my ability to grasp.


I completely agree with you on Mayo. As soon as I heard that the Patriots had drafted him I was looking for all the draft experts to ream them for drafting him so high; low and behold, they all praise the team for being so bold becuase, 'surely the Lions would have snatched him up at 15'. All these guys are calling the Patriots brilliant when, in reality, it was mostly a desperate move: All of the impact D-lineman were off the board and Cincinatti picked up Keith Rivers who the Patriots really liked.

I'm positive that the Pats wanted to trade back but who was really going to trade up when the only player left who had any value at that pick was Ryan Clady...

Is it a huge reach when the Lions would have picked Mayo up anyways?

No, not really. But reaching up 5 spots with the 10th pick is a lot worse than reaching a possible 4 or 5 spots with pick 17.

All that being said, I'm happy with the 1st day moves. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out perfect for us, and many of the players on our board were gone. I would have liked to see a trade up for Lofton at the right price, but I'm not sure what it would have cost us later on so there was probably a good reason why we didn't. Still, Dizon and Cherilious both figure to be starters next season. I think Cherilious will be starting early preseason and Dizon either late preseason or within the first 4 games or so. You have to figure that we picked up 3 starters in day 1 (including the trade in the 1st round which enabled us to pick up Smith). How that can be labeled poor in any sense is beyond me. Also, if we'd picked up Mendenhall in the 1st, even with the trade back, are chances of getting a 3rd rounder with starting ability would have severely decreased.


CHIEFGER139 said...

according to
player ratings
cherlious-54-got him at 17
dizon 77-got him at 30?
smith 62-got him at 67-good pick
avril-72-dont know what pick anymore-but a steal i think
and fluellen was 110 dont know what pick we got him at either-we got 4 picks in the 50-75 range/good but on the other hand didnt get one top 50 pick according to why people are saying cherlious and especially dizon were a reach-not mad they got them-but was the day they did
now im happy we got all of these guys i mentioned

Anonymous said...

I'm totally stoked about the first 4 picks, I think they were the best players available for this teams needs and they were taken at the right times. We are going to get criticism from media and so-called experts until one of our draft classes proves itself. I think this will be the one to do it. Cohen will be the one that has his work cut out for him and will have to battle the hardest, but I think everyone else will contribute this season barring any injuries.

CHIEFGER139 said...

got dizon at 47??

Anonymous said...


Can play the game too. had the Lions picked ranked as follows.

Cherilus; Ranked 14, Picked 17
Dizon; Ranked 63, Picked 45
Smith; Ranked 79, Picked 64
Fluellen; Ranked 104, Picked 87
Avrile; Ranked 44, Picked 92

We can all use the "experts" we agree with to make our points.

I for one am satsfied with the picks the Lions made, in light of how the draft went down.


CHIEFGER139 said...

between profootball weekly and scout .com on chelious-one has him as a top 15 pick and the other doesnt even have him as a top 50 player

Anonymous said...

Chief and MGLion

Agree with both of you that its very hard to sort through the discrepancies between player's rankings. Now toss in that agents give cuts and kickbacks to scouts, scouting agencies, and even own some of those "draft gurus".


I am confused. "Big Baby" is Shaun Rogers, and he was injured when he came from Texas. "Big Daddy" was Dan Wilkerson, and the Lions snagged him as a FA from Cincinnati a few years ago. I think you mean "Big Baby".

Dreamweaver said...

MGLion....great point.

Chief.....To use any mock draft to say if a player was reach is silly, How many (if any) of the mock drafts were even close on where players were picked, or by who?

My gut feeling after day one was a grade of B-, I was happy with the first pick, I had RT as our bigest need and I thought Goz was a great fit, I expected a DT in round 2, so I supprised they took a MLB, ( I figured MLB, RB in round 3), but after reasearching Dizon and seeing that we got an extra rond 3 pick I changed my grade to an A for the day. I don't think you can call any pick a reach if it is best player on the board that fits your system and fills the biggest need on your team at that time. Why take a player you don't need just becouse he was rated higher than the player you need, when there is no way of knowing that the player you need will still be there when you pick next. (and don't say just trade down, it's takes 2 teams to make a trade and we have no way of knowing if Millen tried to make trades or not, the only trades we know of are the ones that happened.)
Of the picks i see 4 starters, Smith, Goz, Flu, & Dizon. 2 situational players, Felton and Arvil, and 2 ST starters, Moore and Campbell. That gives us 8 0f 9 picks that will start or see substantual playing time. If the picks work out the way they should this is an A+ draft.

Anonymous said...

Exactly my point. No sense rehashing the "could'd would'd should'd" based upon some "experts" opinions. You either liked what the Lions did or you didn't.

Anonymous said...

I just love this all the pundits want Detroit to take another “star/ sexy pick” and when the Lions don’t the pick was wasted of course the same pundits would of bashed the Lions for taking Mendenhal anyway because running back was not detroits first need.

On the Dizon pick as detfan said killer called it that the Lions really wanted him if Conner was so great why did so many other linebackers went before him? Was conner not a projected first round pick and he drops to the late 3rd? Dizon was not a reach I don’t think any of the Lions picks were reaches.

I posted a article on drafting and it was about the Colts taking Freeney at 11 or so he was projected at 15 or below and the raiders thought they traded to 16 and they were safe to get him but the colts snagged Freeney as we see not not a reach but back than it was so who care’s what the experts say about reaches or not if the players work out.

I did try to find that post again but was unable to.


DetroitSims said...

Marenelli did a good job hiding Millen in the closet and running the draft. I am glad that they took the time to locate the needs that we had on this team and filled them! Its about time something went our way in the draft. We are looking good and I am DEFINETLY looking forward to the upcomming season. Its gonna be fun to watch for once in a LONG time. I am tired of watching us lose every year. Its time to turn it around and be PROUD lions fans!!!

Anonymous said...


Streetworm had a very good post (2 back) about the QB position. As bad as Agent 99 wanted Henne (and now Booty), we probably have the best QB in the Norris division.

We've tackled that before, but he really laid out the argument well.

Next week we start with a couple of days of OTA's. Be interesting to hear what come out of ALlen Park.


CHIEFGER139 said...

passing conners amd getting dizon really surprised me-conners a penn state guy i thought might be millens secret pick from day one and the mayo thing was a front so he could get him-by millen passing him too-and then getting dizon on day one really showed me they didnt think high of conners as i thought-again im glad they got dizon-but the heat of the moment when i already had fire water in me-i was pissed they got dizon and didnt at least get conners or a runningback-which is what i wanted most-thats why i say day 2 was so special -it put all the pieces together-to me at the end of day one i thought the draft sucked and even said i needed to go to the bathroom and puke on m-live- may make some of you sick-but thats how i felt-thought dizon was a 3rd or forth round pick like crable.
now they say dizon can start immediately at mlb-so i like it-but you seen the rating i was going by-hopefully you can see why i was so upset-am not now
lions great in 2008-playoffs and beyond!1

DetFan1979 said...

GREAT Comments all -- wonderful dialogue today, with a lot of great points. What I think many forget is that "BPA" is different than "BPA-at position we REALLY need."

Also, a lot of the deicrepancy has to do with what defense/offense a given site is rating a player at. LB - ILB in a 3-4 or a 4-3? They are two totall different positions. Conver two WLB or 3-4 WOLB? One is a run stopper, the other primarily a pass rusher. Because different players have a skill set that will play better or worse depending on the defense and position they are placed in, a "general" ranking is really just saying how good an athelete is someone?

If a great cover-corner with weak run support skills (Bly, DeAngelo Hall) is put on a team running the cover-2 mostly, he will get killed by the run straight at him -- by the same token, take a zone-cover hitting CB like in the T-2 and put him solely on single-coverage, and he's gonna get burned. Some are a mix, some are better at one than the other.

I guess my somewhat long-winded point is that not only does the player have to have talent, and fill a position of need, they have to hav ethe right skill set for the type of O/D you are trying to run.

In the past, a big problem with the Lions was they didn't stick to any one "system" and ended up with a hodge-podge of guys that really didn't fit well together -- like taking pices from 3 different puzzles and expecting them to fit together into a coherent picture. Not happening.

On the other hand, it was apparent that the work and time Marinelli had his staff put in with the scouting unit really paid off come draft day as the Lions were able to target players that fit their team puzzle -- not some pundits idea of the perfect team puzzle.

Hope that made sense.

DetFan1979 said...

yeah -- nubsnobber said it way better than I did with the round peg swaure hole thing. Read his comment instead.

Maybe we can all get tickets in a bloc to a game one year, or have a "tailgate" party or something at a mid-michigan location. Just random thoughts if anyone is good at organizing that kind of thing. I'm not.

nubsnobber --

I went through three usernames at that time as well last year -- I was always Bestorama before that, and then FanDet79, NewFan79, finally...DetFan1979 was born. It seemed like every-other day I would be banned from Mlive, and I think it was the same reason. I had some juvenile report me as inappropriate the other day for listing the blog response to someone asking for it.

oh well, that is why I've got this place all set up.

Go Lions!!

JJLions20 said...

To reach or not to reach. That's not really the question....

As Chief and MGLion pointed out the “reach” is merely a different opinion on where a player should be picked. Sometimes we get caught up in the draft and we loose sight of the goal. The goal is not to get highly rated players, it's to find players that can produce in your system.

Does it matter if the Lions had "reached" for their first 5 picks. If each of the picks were projected to go 15-30 picks later than the Lions selected them. Because if they all fit the Lions system and became starters, would it be a "reach" or simply a good selection.

Rod knew who he wanted. Sure he wanted Mayo, and if the Lions got him, some would have said it was a reach. They selected Cherilous because he was the best fit available to play RT in the Lions zone blocking scheme. He wasn’t going to be there at #47, so get the guy who is going to be a starter at #17, What’s wrong with that. They selected Dizon because he was the best cover-2 MLB on the board and they felt he could play in the NFL at a high level.

I've mellowed as I've aged. I don't put much stock in "Reaches" or "Value Picks". I've seen too many players that were labeled good value come and go. When all is said and done, it was not very good value. I will also put very little stock in OTA's and pre-season. The preseason may mean a little more to watch to see the lower rounder’s. If they can’t stand out against other guys who will not be in the NFL come September, then they don’t have much of a future. You really don't know what you have until the real games start and we see if they can play with the big boys.

BTW, How do you pronounce Dizon?… D-I-zon, or D-ee-zon ?

Anonymous said...

(D-EYE-Z-ON) is how I've heard it.