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 coverage...so 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?