Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fanball Mock 2.0: Lions Take Ndamukong Suh

Fanball Mock 2.0: Lions Take Ndamukong Suh

March 24th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

As you know, the 32 Fanball correspondents did a mock draft about a month ago. At that time, I picked Gerald McCoy after the Will picked Ndamukong Suh on behalf of the Rams. Now that we know a bit more about how free agency shook out and the directions that our respective franchises are leaning, we decided to do another mock draft. Keep checking back to see what selections follow and for full results.

One thing that I still see many draft prognosticators making a mistake on is projecting all the picks in the draft based on need. Remember, for his tenure thus far Martin Mayhew looks to free agency to fill needs, and the draft to acquire talent. The Lions will take the Best Available That Fits Any Need (BATFAN) So don’t look for the biggest need, but any need and the best player available. For example, if Clausen is highest rated on their board, they would go to the next highest rated player as #1 QB is not a need. If the next 5-10 guys are all rated the same, then they will try to trade back to acquire additional pick(s) and still get a player of a quality they would have taken with the higher pick. (An example of this from last year’s draft is trading back in the 3rd round and taking DeAndre Levy about a dozen picks later, while also acquiring the pick used on Sammie Hill. They would have taken Levy or what they consider his equivalent either way, but by trading back acquired an additional player. )

So the real question in a no-trade scenario like this is simplified to: Who is BATFAN??

Who is BATFAN at #2 Overall??

Who is BATFAN at #2 Overall??

Just like with the McCoy pick earlier lets look at the competition to Suh:

  1. Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma: This is a tough call. In any other draft, McCoy would have been the top rated DT and defensive player hands down. Make no mistake — I feel like both McCoy and Suh will go on to have excellent pro careers. Choosing one does not mean the other is “no good”, nor do I hold to the theory that one of them is “bound to bust.” That’s like saying I flipped a coin and got heads 5 times in a row, so I’m due for tails. The chances are still 50/50. Honestly, as a fan I would be happy with either McCoy or Suh as I trust the new Lions front office up to this point. However, while McCoy has been excellent Suh has been dominant so I give him the edge. If Washington at 4 wanted to trade up for a QB (which I don’t see happening) I think the Lions would go for it on a reasonable package. This would leave Suh to Tampa Bay, and McCoy to Detroit along with an extra high pick or two. That is a scenario I think Martin Mayhew would go for all day long.
  2. Russel Okung, OT Oklahoma: He is the best OT in a generally weak class at the position, although according to Martin Mayhew’s recent interview, he has at least two offensive tackles rated about the same. Who this second tackle is, we are left to imagine. However, what it tells me is that Okung is not BATFAN – he’s more part of a trade-back bunching. While some peg OT as a “need”, Backus is playing the best he has in years and LG is more of a priority but none of the OG’s grade out near this high (Iupati grades edge of the top 10 if they dropped that far back, but not #2). The Lions want a backup to Backus to groom (since their project OT,Lydon Murtha was swiped by Miami off the practice squad last season) but will likely find that in later rounds. Okung is good, but not #2 good. Toss in how similarly rated OT’s from last year fared, and it is a fair indication that the Lions will feel they can get a tackle of Okung’s ability in later years lower in the first round. I would hazard a guess they are right.
  3. Eric Berry, S Tennesse: Berry came the closest of any player to being considered by me over McCoy – but with both Suh and McCoy available he falls to at least 3rd. Berry is superb against the run. Berry can drop into coverage well and is a play-maker in the defensive backfield. The problem is, the Lions have one of those: Louis Delmas. This will drop the overall rating of Berry on the Lions’ BATFAN board (albeit, not by much). From a need standpoint, I could talk about the Lions’ Dline taking precedent over the d-backfield, so on and so forth. But priority of need doesn’t apply here — it is about talent and depth at the position. The Lions can get a solid Safety in Rounds 2 or 3 this year thanks to fantastic depth at both that and other defensive positions. The drop-off to the next rated DT’s is much higher. Berry is a play-maker, no doubt. But his BATFAN rating will be lower due to the numerous other options at that position as I outlined a couple of months ago.

The other players I feel the Lions would consider — 6 or 7 of them total — all fall into a grouping of similar ratings at this point. Essentially I was left with Suh or McCoy and chose to go with the dominant college play-maker Ndamukong Suh. Paired with Williams and Hill in rotation after adding KVB to the Dline and re-signing Hunter to go along with Avril I feel the addition of Suh to the Dline would finally give the Lions some strength and ability to pressure from front four, which will free up the Linebackers and improve the secondary through a trickle down effect on the field.

Honestly, I think that the Rams taking Bradford is truly Martin Mayhew’s dream scenario as it gives them a great chance of doing what many feel is impossible: trading out of the #2 spot, and still getting one of the top “elite” players they are targeting. For instance, if Clausen and Bradford are both taken at 1 and 2, then two of the following players would be available for Detroit at #7 (to go with a 2nd rounder+ most likely):

Ndamukong Suh, Russel Okung, Gerald McCoy, Brandon Graham, Joe Haden, Eric Berry

[EDIT: These are the guys who went 1-7 in the first Fanball mock. As far as players targeted, I think Derrick Morgan would be more likely on this list at #7 overall than Graham for the Lions as Graham seems to be more of a 3-4 rush linebacker than a 4-3 defensive end. Thanks to those who commented and emailed me to point out the omission. By the time you get to 7, honestly you could even add a few other players who grade out close throughout the middle of the round this year, all at positions of need for the Lions.]

I would take my choice of the remaining two players in that group plus an extra early 2nd — wouldn’t you? I think Mayhew would too.

What are your thoughts??

Rating: 9.2/10 (16 votes cast)
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12 Responses to “Fanball Mock 2.0: Lions Take Ndamukong Suh”

  1. By Big Al Beaton on Mar 24, 2010

    Totally agree with your thought process.

    Suh was a dominant player in college, and plays a Lions position of need. Even if I’m a little leery of paying a defensive tackle silly money (and ALL high draft picks get silly money), the thought of the Lions having a DOMINANT defensive player for the first time in decades gets me all tingly.

    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  2. By jreffy on Mar 25, 2010

    I’ve been going back and forth with my Dad about this one. I’m starting to think that Okung is the right pick, even if the Lions stay at #2.

    This is only the right pick if the Lions do not have Suh rated head-and-shoulders above everyone else. I’m going to assume they have Suh, McCoy, Berry, and Okung all rated pretty close to each other as far as overall talent.

    By taking Okung, you actually fix two position problems with one pick. Backus moves to LG, Okung plays LT, two birds with one stone. Furthermore, you don’t quite have the same salary issues as you would with a heavily paid DT, not that that should be your sole motivation for whom you pick.

    Also, unlike LT, the Lions can find a DT elsewhere (trade, FA). They can sign a player like Hargrove who will start at DT and it will only cost them a 3rd round pick. Can you say the same for finding a starting LT in the 3rd round? I don’t think so.

    So here’s what I think the Lions should do…

    Rnd 1 – Okung
    Rnd 2 – RB (I could live with a CB here too)
    Rnd 3 – to New Orleans for Hargrove, DT

    I’m of the opinion that that fills 3 relatively significant holes on the Lion’s roster.

    Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  3. By Mike on Mar 25, 2010

    You putting Brandon Graham in the top 7 picks is exactly why I hope he goes somewhere around 20, so we don’t even have a remote possibility of picking him up. If we want him that badly we can trade back to a top 15 and get him, and pick up even more via trade. I think he would be very good in a 3-4 system, but would not live up to a top 7 pick potential with the Lions. Other than that I like the rest of your post.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. By lion in la on Mar 25, 2010

    Could the Lions trade down AND up to get a quality lineman and running back?
    By trading down #2 for extra pick(s)in 2nd+ rounds then as things play out offering those pick(s)plus maybe one of our 2nd or 3rd rounds to move up and get a running back like Jahvid Best who might not be available in 2nd round or
    CJ Spiller with first pick and quality lineman next?

    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  5. By editstet on Mar 25, 2010

    First time I’ve looked at your blog. I like the fact you are trying to keep things respectful. At this point, the one thing I would consider in stargazing the Lions’ draft choices is which player they think can have the biggest overall impact for them. I believe they passed on Oher last year because they saw him as player who might have trouble working in space in the pros, which is what left tackles do, and that they had invested in a right tackle the year before at the same level. Both Okung and Baluga have been rated higher by Scouts Inc. than was Oher last year, due to their ability to work in space. The Lions have no real alternative right now to back up Backus. So, from a depth standpoint, they need an OT capable of filling the left side. If there is a trade down, it would seem that they might target whichever Baluga or Okung was left. Meanwhile, if they can’t trade down and draft Suh or McCoy, either will likely be in a rotation with Hill and Williams. For the dline to work at full speed, they need to rotate in a third tackle. The wild card may well be how they evaluate Landon Cohen — whether after two seasons the raw talent Marinelli saw in him may now be honed to fill that rotational role. That might push the marginal utility of Okung up a notch, and decrease that of Suh and McCoy.
    I would love to see a dominant defensive tackle, as he would put pressure on quarterbacks for quick decisions, lead to more sacks by our defensive ends and take pressure off of Lion cornerbacks.
    But who they pick may ultimately depend on what they can get to trade down, and how they evaluate Cohen.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. By brendan on Mar 25, 2010

    I was also in the draft Okung camp and the kill two birds with one stone argument.

    But then I remembered the Lions are still currently one of the worst defenses in NFL History (free agent signings and trades notwithstanding.) We also have drafted offense in the first round every year the past decade (save for Ernie Sims – who ironically Lions fans want traded.) If Suh is this great talent, which it appears he is, we’re talking about a guy who can play 10-15 years for the Lions and be an anchor on our defensive line and team leader on defense. I think that trumps the short term needs on the offensive line (where we already have 2 first round picks.)

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. By detfan1979 on Mar 25, 2010

    Mike – It was actually an accident. I meant to put Morgan into the top 7 list in place of Graham, but forgot to on the edit. Graham went in the top 7 in the first fanball mock, and I basically copied over the wrong list. I have updated the story accordingly. I also agree I think he is more a fit in the 3-4 rush LB than a 4-3 defensive end.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. By DSacks on Mar 25, 2010

    Your reasoning is sound, and I agree completely with your thoughts about Mayhew’s “dream scenario”, but I don’t think the Lions will take Suh or McCoy with the 2nd pick. You have to remember that Mayhew is always looking for value, and paying 2nd overall money to a DT is not value, but paying it to your future LT might be. Remember that in the draft they are taking a long-term approach. It’s Best Available Value That Fits Any Need – screws up your cool acronym, but I think more accurate, especially in the early rounds.

    Even if they can’t trade down, look for the Lions to pick an OT that could play guard for a year or two – and not necessarily Okung. It wouldn’t surprise me if they went for Trent Williams or even Ducasse instead. It’s pretty clear from last year that they are listening to their own scouts, not the general consensus.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  9. By CadillacDann on Mar 25, 2010

    i’m really glad i came by and read this story.. kind of interesting with all of these draft possibilities.
    another scenario i have not seen covered is this.. Detroit trades back maybe with the Browns and they are able to pick up Okung and an additional 2nd and maybe a 3rd.. then later on Detroit picks up Jahvid Best(would they have to trade up? maybe) if they dont have to trade up with their other 2nd they could pick up a CB of G whatever they see fit at that value.. 3rd round? Hargrove.. from there i don’t know because the board could be anything.. anyway, great article my friend, i’ll check back often

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  10. By DetFan1979 on Mar 25, 2010

    I just can’t see Mayhew trading up at this point. They need so much talent in so many places it doesn’t make sense. They will see where the board falls and take someone or trade back.

    I don’t think the Lions are at all concerned about taking a DT #2 overall. Remember that QB has a premium attached as far as contracts, so using Stafford’s number from last year isn’t the way to go. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but I’ll put the question to NetRat our resident salary guru and see what his response is in the coming week.

    They do want value – but that value of each position is figured into their charting. That is why you won’t see a first round kicker unless they consistently hit from 65 yards out. They prioritize vertically by position, and then shuffle in horizontally to come up with BATFAN. (okay, so I like my shiny new acronym. Just remember that value is part of best and we can coexist. :-)

    This is a stacked, deep draft with lots of guys lumped together after the first couple of picks. The first round grade bunch essentially covers a good half to 3/4 of the second round.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  11. By Clusterfox on Mar 26, 2010

    Great Read yet again DF,

    One point that I want to make, is something that Dsacks somewhat mentions in his last sentence. Our scouts and war room surprised everyone last year(don’t even try it) EVERYONE. Putting Stafford aside being a Number 1 pick that is hard not to predict or atleast have in the conversation. Our picks were surprising, angering, then once rationalized they became acceptable, hopeful and right back to surprising. What I’m getting at is that our best picks were far from predictable, and really the 2 biggest surprises were Pettigrew, and Delmas. First the positions were questionable by alot of fans. Then whether the individuals were worthy of being graded that much above the pack that it was worth drafting them. Finally we were all floored by the importance and production from somewhat under-hyped players from somewhat under-hyped positions. The shock factor of these two picks dwarf that of most other picks in the last 8 years aside from the surprising steals we found in Sammie Lee, and Levy. So If no one else has done it yet, now might be the the time to close your eyes and put your faith in the hands of the guys running the show. I for one think they have it figured out, and I believe they will surprise us again by putting talent above need and sticking to their evaluations. and that goes for Pacman too, who I think will be a lion or atleast he’ll have the oppurtunity to be one, and we’ll see if he can get back on the right road. we’re headed that way if he wants to ride with us.


    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  12. By detfan1979 on Mar 26, 2010

    Expect the unexpected. Lions had the ingredients to make some pretty darn good lemonade on the scouting staff — once Mayhew became GM and stopped trying to turn lemons in orange juice that is.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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