As usual with a primarily guest blog, my own comments will be [italics]. JJLions20 sent this to me this right after I publsihed the Harris article, and I thought it fit with the current discussions.
I've been just reading the posts for a while and not commenting too much, but now that the front office is in place the coaching staff is in place I've been listening to the talk shows and reading the papers and thought about what the Lions seriously need to do with the draft, and the best case scenario. So here are the thoughts, taking a segway from the article about James Harris' hiring.
Now that the Lions have the Personnel guy in place in maybe we should call the draft the Shack Attack. But now is the time to come up with….THE BEST CASE LIONS DRAFT SCENARIO:
With the NFL Combine starting this week and approximately 2 months until the draft, this is where all the mis-information and smoke starts (if it hasn't already). I posted a few weeks back what would be best opportunity for the Lions in the Draft. After listening to many sports talk show (and discarding much of the garbage), I've come up with a scenario that is the best and most likely [As of now].
The Lions need to trade down and pick up extra picks, yet still get the best defensive player on the board. In order for this to happen four things have to happen.
1. One player has to rise to the top of the board that is heads and shoulders above the others and destine to be a game changer.
2. There has to be a definitive gap between him and the next player in the draft at his position.
3. He has to be coveted by multiple teams.
4. The Lions have to be willing to take slightly less than market price (based upon the calculator all teams use). [See Magic 8-Ball piece from Monday for my thoughts on this]
I don't believe this will be Mathew Stafford, because when it comes down to it, Stafford did not do well enough in the big college games, and ultimately that will hurt him. The Guy the Lions have to hype and hope he separates himself in the draft is Michael Crabtree. Why? He's a big play guy, he has proven it in big games. He's a lot like CJ as he is the best can't miss prospect in the Draft. After all the hype the QB's will slip way down on the board. That leaves Crabtree, Smith (weight, character issues, and a host of OT's about the same talent level), and then the Defensive players. So If Crabtree can impress the scouts, it becomes a question of how high do you go to get him. A team could trade with the Rams, and then get out maneuvered when somebody else who wants him can deal with the Lions. The key is the Lions can't ask for a kings ransom, they don't need a Hersal Walker deal, they just need an additional fist day pick and maybe a 2nd day pick. [I'd go less than that -- 3rd round is second day, and I would take a top 10 3rd and 1st in a heartbeat for first overall.] If the goal is to improve your team then it's about getting the defensive player you targeted, and more picks, and more possibilities at improving.
The key team here is the Seahawks, who supposedly want Crabtree. What the Lions need to do is stir up enough interest that the Seahawk believe there is no way he slips to 4th so the only way to get him is to move up, and the only spot to guarantee it is the #1 spot. So let's say the Lions get KC's 1st and 2nd rounder. That may not be fair value for the 1st overall pick, but if they wanted that defensive player, wouldn't it be better drafting #4, getting the Defensive player and then still have picks #20, #33, #37, #65, #82. Now I'm not saying the best they could do is the #4 and #37 picks, but it would be enough for me to pull the trigger, because in the end it will make the Lions a better team (given good picks).
[I would take that deal, but without the the #37. Make it #4 and #68 for #1 overall. That is also doable. While getting their 1 and 2 is the best case scenario, getting their 1 and 3 would still be more than enough for me to jettison #1 overall. 3rd round is where good GM's make it or break it, and if the Lions draft well there they will improve. If they don't, it will be more mediocrity. That would still make for the Lions having picks #4, 20, 33, 65, 69, 82. Any GM and fan base should be beyond thrilled with that. One step further would be to parlay #20 to a team looking to move back into the first for an additional 2nd and 3rd. Based on last year, that is also a distinct possiblity. Having pick 33 already, imagine giving up 20 for 47 and 79? Then it would be 4, 33, 47, 65, 69, 79, 82? You could realistically be looking at 6 solid starters, possibly 7 with those picks. Wouldn't that be something?? The IFseason has truly begun...]
[Despite the combine, IMO draftniks make huge changes to the board based on the combine. Teams? Not as much upward movement. Some guys may screw up and drop out of contention/downward on the board (think of in Excel, you delete a cell, and move the rest up. One goes down 12 spots, everyone in between where they start, and where they end up gets bumped up one by default.) Get enough downward movers, and that is where players "moving up the boards" comes from. So look for me to focus more on the roster, posssible FA, and FA strategy and assessments for a while, moving more to a draft focus as we get more into the middle to end of March. Depending on how exciting FA is, of course!]