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.