Wednesday, February 25, 2009

3 Burning Questions from the Rev: O-Line

Each week this ifseason, Church of Schwartz will be asking 3 burning questions of 8 Lions bloggers and insiders from the web. As you'll note, our very own Ty of Lions in Winter will be anwering, along with such notables as Phil Zaroo and Dave Birkett. I have posted the questions and my own response so that you guys can see it first (you are my readers after all). Be sure to check out COS tomorrow for everyone's answers. I may even do a short piece about everyone else's answers on Thursday nights, we'll see. My contributions are in Italics:

First of all Rev, thanks for inviting me to participate. I'm no insider and I'm sure guys like Dave and Phil will have more of that type of information to share, although I'm glad you think my Lions opinions will be of value to your readers.

1. Rank the top 4 tackles in the draft: Michael Oher, Andre Smith, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe?

I'm not totally familiar with most of the college players at this point, as I watch very little college ball during the year. While I've started digging in and watching game snippets on potential Lions where I can, I won't say I feel I've got a lot of solid expereince to go on with this one. Right now, I would say J. Smith and Monroe are pretty much tied, depending on what you look at. Since he is a converted TE and could have some flexibility in overload packages like the Ravens used last year, I guess I'd lean to the following order:

1. J. Smith -- flexibility is always a bonus, and as a converted TE I'm sure he can run-block, even if he did have to do a lot of pass-pro as a tackle.

2. Monroe -- He seems to be a solid overall prospect of the type you draft and don't have to worry about that position for a while becuase he's a good bet to be solid at worst, pro-bowl at best. Very safe pick says DF79's gut.

3. Oher -- Personality issues aside, he still seems to be a solid choice at tackle. I don't seem to have the motivation issues about him that are brought up, but that is a gut feeling, and goodness knows I've been wrong as much as I've been right.

4. A. Smith -- He strikes me as the guy who has great potential, but never quite gets there due not to bad choices, but lack of focus. If a team can find a way to get him focused in what matters, they will have gotten a phenomenal player at a steal of a spot. If not, he could be the next Gallery or Foster

2. Do you think Goster Cheriulus can be an effective NFL starter for the next 10 years?

I'm not too fond of the "draft him and forget about it for 10 years" phrasing that seems so prevalent around NFL media types these last few years regarding O-Linemen. Didn't they use that phrase endlessly about Robert Gallery? If every guy they say this about actually played at that level for 10 years, no one would be in the market for OT's right now. Obviously, they are -- and it's because not all of them last 10 years due to lack of motivation over time, mental factors, or injuries and some just can't make the transition.

All that being said, I do think that at the start of the season Gosder was about on par with George Foster. By the end of the season, I felt he had left him in his dust and was still improving. It is too early to really judge, especially after last season for Detroit -- but considering the success Kevin Smith had running to that side, I'd say early indications are that if he can keep his head in the game he will be a fixture at RT for the Lions for many years to come.

3. If the Lions draft a tackle #1, what happens to Jeff Backus?

I think that Martin Mayhew has already partially answered this for us: If it is a tackle at #1, then Jeff will be playing OG and competing with Peterman and a draft choice to start at LG. I'm pretty certain he can beat out Peterman, and if the Lions also take one of the great OG/C available in this draft, then I can see a starting line of: Monroe/J. Smith -- Backus -- Raiola -- OG/C -- Cherilus. This would conceivably allow the Lions to carry only 6 linemen on the final roster if they chose due to versatility among the starters, and the signing of Peterman. But if I were Jeff, I wouldn't be practicing my OG skills just yet based on where I think the Lions will end up going with the draft.


Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you said except for the very last bit about you thinking that the Lions will go in a different direction with #1.
I really don't want them to take a QB, and I have a feeling that they wont. Putting a great offensive line in front of an average qb looks better than putting a great qb behind a far below average offensive line.
I have been back and forth between hoping for J. Smith and A. Curry, but I'm starting to lean towards J. Smith. I think that the reason that the Lions will go with Smith over Curry is that for the money, Curry would have to move into the middle. I think that is too much of an unknown for Mayhew since there is no way to know if Curry can sit in the middle of the defense and run the show mentally. I think odds are right now that they will go J. Smith with 1.1 and Laurinaitis/Maualuga/Cushing with 1.2. That would reshape the team at two areas of high importance.

CHIEFGER139 said...

congrats again
for being recogmized enough to be a church speaker-does that make you a preacher too??
I still think its curry-why-you see how many tackles there are-they can easily move up and get one with there 2nd 1st pick-I guess though they could do the same with a linebacker-so I would say its one or the other-but with this franshise who knows-anythings possible

DetFan1979 said...

The "other direction" I'm thinking has nothing to do with a QB (for those of you that haven't guessed, I'm not exactly enthused with Stafford.)

Can the other two LB sit in the middle and run the show? College MLB do less defensive running and adjustements than in the NFL. Also, Curry was played at the line as a run stuffer/pass rusher, as well as dropped into coverage.

Laurinitis/Maulaga were primarily run-stoppers in the middle, and are considered 2 down linemen in the NFL. Curry is not. He is versatile enough to be on the field every down.

the real key, is that the OT's have a deep class, and they are all pretty equal -- there will not be a big talent drop-off from the first taken to the 5th taken (I've seen 7 or 8 that could go in round 1, and all seem to be solid prospects.)

But at LB - there is a noticable drop-off between Curry and a Cushing et al... Finally, there are three really good interior Linemen (OG/C) that will be BPA at 33 if even one of them is left -- and it is a position of need to boot so two birds with one stone.

That still leaves #20 to take BPA among the Lions' other needs.

If you take an OT at 1, it's possible that an O-Lineman could still be the BPA at #20, and maybe even at #33...

Why stretch for the slightly better than the rest OT, with a worse overall LB versus best LB and really-close-to as good OT if you choose...or even go in a different direction?

Lets face reality based on need: With the current QB's, and the current line all you really NEED on that side of the ball is a possible #2 WR, a LG, and re-sign Norris at FB, plus one TE you can get in rnd 5.

Use Felton as a runner and you have your #2 RB/Short yardage guy.

Chief - not a preacher, that's for sure! COS is a unique way to present the Lions though, that's for sure. I don't even think they will need to move up to get one if they wanted to take one. I see them getting a top OG and then seeing how Backus does next year, and draft his replacement then if he doesn't show improvement.

RIP said...

I too do not see a need for an offensive lineman as our top pick only because the prospects this year would not be at the top most any other year. I too see good options to upgrade at the 20th or 33rd pick.

millersco said...

DEtFan - agree, our biggest need is defense, lets take a number 1 pick with that in mind and get the best playmaker we can, believe thats Curry. Then either Perry or an OL with 1b.

RIP said...

Although still early, for free agency has not been started to reshape our team yet.

All of us pretty much believe that to build a team, a very important area to be good at is the draft. There are two main schools of thought at work here. Draft for team needs or draft the highest rated player be before team needs. Looking at our roster, I can only see that we have to get the core basics first to be competitive.

So how did I come up with these picks. First I evaluated what our team needs were and what could be added in each round that could improve us. Second was the fact that we want to get bigger to the point that we can run the ball and stop the run. I also considered what seems to be available for next years draft, which are more larger DTs and CBs on the average. We all believe there will be better QB options next year.

Aaron Curry is my first choice for this draft. We are drafting an every down LB here. Would love to start up front, but do not believe there a big difference maker here on the defensive side of the ball, and plenty of depth (options) on the offensive side.

With the #20 pick, I am leaning towards Max Unger from Oregon. He started his first 2 years at LT and done good. His last 2 years he started at C and is now rated one of the highest at this position. He stated that he does prefer to play on interior of the line (no ego problems here). Also he seems to have the best feet and body positioning of the interior linemen when taking on blocks. Would love to have him at 33, but do not believe he will last that long.

What I was looking for with our Second Round pick was a big, athletic, and versatile CB. Would jump at Vontae Davis, or Malcom Jenkins, at #20. Do not believe either would be there. So I choose Darius Butler from Connecticut.

At 3.a it became interesting. Pat White would be very intriguing here. The positions I had slotted for this pick were WR and NT. Comparing the talent for what may be left, I went for our #2 WR.
The person I hope is still there is Brian Robiskie from Ohio State. Even though he had a very good combine, he may still be rated as a 2-3 round WR. Part of this is due to his numbers after Pryor became a starter at QB, and the number of quality WRs rated as 1-2 picks. If Brian is not there, there should be a couple others before the talent level drops.

At 3.b we need a potential starter for the NT position. Here is where I made my reach. There were only a couple options who met the required wieght. I also considered Hieght (arm reach) and potential as a starter this year and a backup next year. The person that had this in my opinion was the 6'4" 329 lb. Sammie Lee Hill from Stillman. Sammie played DE his senior year to avoid the double and triple teaming he received while playing in the middle. There are a couple of others here, but felt again that this position group had to be made here.

For the rest of the draft I was in a fog so to speak. Tried to get quality depth for the roster in case of injury. In the Fourth (if we get the supplemental pick) and Fifth rounds I backups for 2 out these 3 position groups, MLB, RB, and LG. Guys who come to mind are MLB Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh, MLB Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan, MLB Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina, RB Glen Coffee, Alabama, or several LG candidates like the smart and reliable Andy Kemp, Wisconsin.

For the Sixth rounds I can see a FB like Brandon Southland from Georgia at 6.a, and CB Wopmo Osaisai from Stanford at 6.b.

A draft like this one will not fill all our starting, or depth needs. It probably will not even give us a #1 CB. It is a balance draft that addresses our many needs. Lets hope that this draft will can fill most our needs.

CHIEFGER139 said...

like your quick response to my post-in some way i am a preacher-a lay speaker and have now preached twice at my local church in union city-the methodist are big on letiing lay people do such things with minumun training-2 to 3 classes and your ready to go and only one class every 2 years to keep your layspeaking status-glad you seen how deep they are at offensiveline-do you think the one we could get at 20-would actually be better than cherlious at 15 last year-do you also think we could get mag or laurintus at 20?? is the draft this year so much deeper than last year that you can get 1st rate starters all throughout the 1st round-and maybe midway through the 2nd-and last year was just a bad draft year??
want your oppinion cause truthfully the chief is basin most of his on last years draft-seen how at 15 we were toast-trsded down for one pick then the next-we didnt trade down but reached down-takin players probably most wouldnt of token when we did-then with a deep clas of rbs=not takin one in the 1st 2 rounds had to trade up to the top of the 3rd to get smith and save the draft-from there i think we did grat gittin avril-a definte contributor, fluellen,felton cohen great day 2 but day one we all had much better hopes-are you now sayin-even at 20-other than guard-i think robinson is the highest rated guard and hes like 50-can get him in the 2nd easily with our 33rd pick-we can actually get a quality starter at 20-even better than cherlious-who most say and i agree with-and think you do too-is equivalant to foster?? your now a recognized top guy-even elevated to media level guys-congrats-you earned it-other than m-live,pft and your my top site visit it everyday-want detfan79's oppinion-if not i stillsay trade up get a solid starter with our 1b draft-maybe even target raji-get curry and raji-and even blow the rest youve done something incredible-face it the lower picks usually are a peterman or a smith(rb) great potential but no great espn highlite guys you want to have
signed the wize chief

ClusterFox said...

-If we take LT first we hope a LB falls to 20 or we might have to take a CB.(which we need but not as much as backers)
If we take Curry first we then take the best LT(or Unger) or CB at 20.

-Any thoughts on Terrance Taylor-umich? First off i am far from a Michigan fan so hear me out. He is a Big Body to stuff in the Middle. Led the DL in Bench(impressive). He's a Homer who just got a stiff drink of humility this last year. The only other NT type and I don't think Raji will be available at 20.

-I'm not sure how much you care for mocks, But here is my favorite.

I would be very happy with this draft. All mocks are wrong, point blank. but I like this site better than most because it takes some of the human element out.

Here's hoping we pick up some quality FA by this time tommorrow.


Anonymous said...

Everything I've seen has Terrence Taylor as a second day pick.
Free agency and pro days are going to play a key role in who we draft. player rankings are far from done changing. I believe with all of the holes the lions have, a best player available system should be used. It will take more than one offseason to get to the playoffs, so this year should be about accumilating as many playmakers as possible.
Having the #1 overall means you can pick whomever can help your team the most. This pick should never be a reach. Best available player, regardless of position.


RIP said...


Terrance Taylor was a beast at the combines. And there was something missing from this past years play. He got rid of most of his belly this year, was in better shape, and was much stronger. But at being only 6'0" does have its advantages and disadvantages. Does have lower pad level than most o-lineman, but also has short arms to keep lineman off of him.

DetFan1979 said...

I wouldn't be against Taylor in the 3rd -- jsut depends how they have him rated on their board.

I agree that they just need to go BPA all the way (within some reason) this year.