Weekend was busier than I thought. I've just now had time this evening to begin weeding through all of the meat market memos...I mean, combine notes.
I'm sure you've all been reading up on bench press number of reps, and who is .001 seconds faster than who in the 40 yards dash and the ever important measurements like wingspan, hand width, shoulder span, girth...oops. Sorry. Left the DVD player going...
Anyways, you can tell that as far as I'm concerned, other than disasters most of what we get to see/hear about the combine is the stuff that, ultimately, effects it very little. The most important information -- team interviews (or lists of who they interviewed), test results, etc. we never get to see. And that is what teams are after the most at the combine.
Sure, the physical stuff is important. The press conferences are just as important. So are the interviews, and how the athletes interact while at the combine, how they act while just hanging around, warming up, etc. Again, the most important things we don't get to see. Who naturally attracts other people to listen to them? Who seems polished, but is really crass and demeaning to small school prospects (who might be his teammates someday?)? Those types of things can mean as much to coaches and front offices as height and weight.
Especially when looking at the higher slots in the draft, teams need to figure out who that player is. How motivated to work their ass off will they be with 30 million in the bank? (#1 choice) or even 5 million? (20th) What kind of impact will they have on team chemistry? Were they a big fish in a little pond, or were they a tadpole who is just on the edge of going frog and jumping out over the competition?
I still want to take a bit more time to look over the facts coming out, as well as look up some non-highlight reel film on some of the more likely cuts of meat to be Lions.
My initial impressions, though: If Drew Stanton is a stretch to start for the Lions this season, no way Stafford is your opening day starter in Detroit unless Millen freezes over between now and September. Andre Smith made the classic rookie sales blunder: he talked himself out of the sale after believing his own hype. If his pro-day is as bad as his combine "appearance", then he could be there at 20...maybe even 33. Question is, do the Lions want him at that point -- or trade back with someone who wants to "snag a deal" and pick up a 2 and 3? (or 2 2's - this and next?)
Best Guess: Still with Killer, who called the strategy Mayhew admitted when he said they will negotiate with at least three, and take "right player, right price" as Schwartz has been putting it, just as they will in FA. The guys they will negotiate with? Stafford may be in the mix, but I will also jump on the Curry/Monroe/J Smith bandwagon until/unless something major happens to shake things up.
Especially with Mayhew apparently convinced that Backus can be a great LG, it opens back up OT at #1, and would fill a need at OG... Also, looking at what the "top" FA Guards have been getting the last couple of years, re-structuring Backus' contract to be OG friendly may be a lot easier than you would think. Besides, never hurts to have your backup LT playing OG. If they pick up one of the great OG/C combinations that are in this draft, they could end up with an Oline that has:
LT: Monroe/J Smith
With Peterman as the backup OG you would then have most of your backups on the starting line. With just 6 Olinemen, you would have a backup G,C, and LT. Have maybe one more OT/OG on the roster if need be (who is inactive game day) and you are only taking 6 or 7 of your 53 on the Oline. It also gives added flexibility going forward -- getting another OG in 2010 if you don't keep Backus at OG, or he doesn't restructure -- would leave an Oline that could conceivably be together for 5 years, with only an OG or C, or drafting of another OG/C needed.
This is the time of year to look over those things, and while I would like to see more defensive help, getting a solid long-term fix of the Oline that way would be a great move in year one -- and would pay dividends for quite some time.
I can also see LB at #1. It hasn't been done a lot, but considering that Curry is regarded as being able to play all three LB positions, and it could be possible. While some have called him the safest player in the draft -- it would still be a gamble for the Lions. Cap wise (assuming it is still maintained in the next labor agreement), he would need to be a top 3 LB in the league -- Urlacher/Lewis type LB -- to really make it worth the cap space. It's possible...
I'm still looking up more on these guys, as I said. One thing I did note was that Curry was indicated to have been used in 2 major ways -- as a run stuffer on the line, as well as dropping into coverage. This would make moving inside in a 4-3 a smooth possibility for him... I will look more into it, as I've had a few emails inquiring.
Your Meat Market thoughts? Any prime cuts you saw? Any great bargains pop out at you from the discount rack?