While there was a lot of disappointment this season, there were some great moments too. One of those players that really shone was rookie RB Kevin Smith. Despite being used sparingly early in the season, he still came just 24 yards shy of having a 1,000 yard rushing season -- but added quite a few receiving yards to that and proved he is also a threat as a WR out of the backfield.
A few weeks back, Don Banks did his annual re-do of the draft "if teams knew then what they know now." As you regular readers know, I don't feel you can fully judge a draft class' impact until after year 3 -- and you can always "what if" into a "better" draft. I also keep in mind that it would impact the entire draft is someone different were chosen, and also impact your future draft slots because hey -- if they did impact your team positively, they would be picking in a different spot the next year!!
My point here is that he had Kevin Smith going to Pittsburgh 23rd overall in round 1 -- over guess who? That's right -- everyone's pre-draft darling Rashard Mendenhall. I like his description so I'll quote it here:
The Steelers didn't get much out of Mendenhall before Ray Lewis ended his season with a broken shoulder, and with Willie Parker's injury concerns, another running back just makes sense here. Smith has toiled in the hell known as Detroit's season, but he does have 933 yards of combined rushing and receiving with five touchdowns. [as of Dec 11. 2008]
That about sums it up there -- and it also shows the idea floating around before the draft that 2008 had so many backs that "1st round talent would still be there into rounds 2, and maybe even the top of 3." Look at all the rookie RB that showed how a newcomer can really contribute at that position: Matt Forte, Jonathan Stewart, Kevin Smith, Tashard Choice, Steve Slaton et al.
This is the first in a series of short pieces on players the Lions should keep -- regardless of cap or coaches. The all-around type of football players that any coach would want/can use. [okay, so this will likely be a short series - and may even be summed up in a post or two].
I've noticed others (BVO on Mlive) doing a "keep/junk" roster look that "ignores the cap." And ignores any knowledge of the basic rudiments of football player evaluation!
Depending on how long it takes the Lions to hire a coach, I'll do this once or a before/after type scenario. I will give a link to NetRat's handy cap sheet, and then say who would you keep/cut taking into consideration the cap ramifications? (and who you would let go if you could) and who should be retained -- along with some explanations as to why. (the why is just as important/fun to go into as the who.)
So look for that in the near future. In the meantime, this roster is not entirely talentless and there are some bright spots, and even maybe some glow-in-the-dark-after-you-hold-them-to-the-light-for-a-while spots of talent on this roster. The best part is that with the holes where they are, it leaves open for the personnel that are acquired to go along with whatever direction the Lions decide to go in for what types of players/schemes they are going to use. [assuming they do, in fact have a plan and are going to follow it.]
Go Lions! Go Chargers!! [as it has been noted, the Chargers in fact need to win two more games to get to the Superbowl -- they need to beat Pittsburgh, followed by the winner of Tennessee/Baltimore. So it won't be easy, but we have reason to cheer!]