Welcome once again to the Lions Congregation! We are still taking mailbag submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org Any Lions topics or questions you want to see the Congregation address? Send them on over!!
Look for a special Draft Edition of the Congregation on Friday morning next week looking back at round 1, and forward to day 2!! We can’t wait!!
On to this week’s panel:
NetRat of The NetRat.com
Steve of Detroit Lions Weblog
Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience
Phil of The Highlight Reel on Mlive.com
Blades Boyd formerly of the Church of Schwartz
Joshua (DetFan1979) of Roar of the Lions
1. (from Tony to the Congregation mailbox) What about the possibility of the Lions swapping spots with the Browns so that they take qb Clausen. Then drafting from that 10th spot Gerald McCoy falls to the Lions andalso from the Browns they get a 3rd round pick?
NetRat: From 2nd to 10th for just a 3rd round pick? No, I stay at 2, there is almost no chance McCoy falls to 10, someone else will trade up and take him earlier. The contracts in the top 7 are very high (too high) but to drop 8 spots in the top of the draft is more valuable then a 3rd round pick.
Steve: I am not so confident in the Lions trading down being beneficial, even with Martin Mayhew’s success in last season’s draft considered.
If the Lions were to trade down and acquire picks, given the likelihood that Ndamukong Suh will provide immediate benefits to whomever selects him, the players whom they draft in a hypothetical trade down scenario had also better be productive, too.
With the Lions vast personnel needs, I am certain that they will seriously consider all potential offers to swap draft picks, to offset their deficiencies and need for talent.
Al: Sorry Tony, but there’s too many ifs and buts in your scenario, specifically McCoy dropping them further down in the draft. I also think a 3rd round pick isn’t enough in return for swapping the 2nd overall selection Cleveland’s spot. In my mind, no matter which team you’re dealing with, the offer has got to include a 2nd round pick to even start trade negotiations .
It comes down to this. Does Martin Mayhewthink the player (or players, as I’m sure he has player option A, B, C for the 1st round) he wants will be available if he trades down? If Mayhew really wants either McCoy, Ndamukong Suh or Russell Okung, he’s taking a big risk if a trade drops the Lions any lower than 5th.
Odds are your question is moot, anyway. I don’t believe a trade is going to happen.
It one thing to say a team should trade down, but it’s all together another to actually do so. Hell, most NFL teams, if given the option, would trade down in a heartbeat in order to garner multiple picks. Yet it rarely happens. I’ve said it over and over again, NFL GM’s andcoaches are a notoriously conservativelot, totally adverse to risk. Trading up in the 1st roundof the draft for an unproven player is a HUGE risk. Let’s not forget the fact a team would add a massive amount of payroll witha high 1st round selection. This coming season is an aberration with no salary cap, but there will be a cap from 2012 on (the owners will make damn sure of it). As we all know, and have seen with the Lions, high draft picks can put the hurt on cap flexibility.
Of course the Lions may throw caution to the wind, and trade down. But if they player they really, really want is available to them at the 2nd selection, it’d be silly to trade it…unless a team makes a sillier offer in trade. Hey, you never know what Jerry Jones might do on draft day…
Phil:Anything can happen on draft day, right? Right. But this scenario is a long shot on several levels. First, it would take more than a third-rounder to drop to 10, but the Browns are at 7, so it’s a little more plausible. Personally, if I were Mayhew, I’d take Cleveland’s third to swap first-round picks because moving down, in and of itself, benefits the Lions. I don’t know that Mayhew would do that. So that’s an unknown.
Second, Washington acquiring McNabbmakes it easier for teams looking for a quarterback. They know that after Bradford to St. Louis, there isn’t another team looking for a QB until Seattle, so the most likely team to make a deal is K.C. at No. 5. Now, if a team wants to insure that they get the second best QB, sure, they might go straight to the highest possible spot and trade with Detroit. But that basically means Seattle simply gets anxious that Cleveland’s going to try to leapfrog them, so the Seahawks try to make a move up. That’s another stretch.
Third, the Clausen train has lost some steam. Remember last year, when Stafford was the hands-down top QB, but then Sanchez made a late run in the 10-14 days leading up to the draft? That hasn’t happened with Clausen. If anything, his stock has dropped. That could change in the upcoming week, but for the time being, teams aren’t exactly ga-ga over him.
Fourth, if everything did fall into place with the Lions, as far as the trade, I’m not certain McCoy would fall to No. 7. Assuming the top two QBs are off the board with the top two picks – again, a long shot – that leaves a few top names: Suh, McCoy, Okung, Berry. If those four go with the next four picks, the Lions would be SOL, as far as getting either of the DTs. I’m guessing they’d go for Joe Haden, Trent Williams or Earl Thomas – maybe even Derrick Morgan.
At any rate, my point is that the Lions would need for several long shots to come together to form a super long shot of epic proportions. Then again, it’s the NFL draft, and just like Vegas, anything can happen.
Blades Boyd:Very interesting question but I have two problems with it. The first is after hearing Mangini and Holgram’s interview withthe NFL network after Colt’s work out, I really think they like the guy. I think they like him so much that they hope they can take him the second round. The second problem is I really can’t see McCoy falling to ten. I think the lowest he will go will be the 6 spot. However, in a perfect world, I don’t mind that move even if we don’t get McCoy because the Lions could still get a premier tackle at ten.
Joshua: I think that only taking a 3rd is too little for trading down that far. It would take at least a 2nd, and probably a 4thor late 3rd for that jump. I don’t think McCoy the defensivetackle will fall that far to #10. The name that may come up in trade discussions is Colt McCoy. Cleveland is rumored to be very interested in McCoy over Clausen(who has not seen his stock increase heading into the draft like Sanchez did last year). However, since this is pretty common knowledge I can see McCoy going somewhere in the first roundahead of where Cleveland would be tempted to take him. If they sacrifice #7 and their 2nd, or first third and 4th to moveup to 2 I can see Detroit taking that. Problem is, I don’t see Cleveland making that offer and taking C. McCoy that high.
For me, I think the #2 pick of round two is the pick most likely to be traded. That being said, you never know what Mayhew will be able to pull off on draft day, or what GM will just HAVE to have a certain player and panic trade. Anything can and often does happen to surprise us every year in the NFL draft and I expect with three days of drafting many GM”s will have their willpower tested to the limit. Will Martin hold it or fold it? Should be fun to watch!!
2. What are your general thoughts going into the draft? Do you expect them to take people we know? Surprise us like last year? What level of trusting Mayhew will it take to like this draft?
NetRat:I am expecting to see the Lions take the best player available that fits any need. Somehow, I just have a hunch that it will fall in such a way that the Lions will end up with a DT, a RB, a DE and a CB withtheir first 4 picks (but not necessarily in that order). Now at any of those picks if there just happens to be a LB or Safety ranked much higher they could take him. Later in the draft I expect to see them perhaps find a tackle/guard prospect, a tight end, and perhaps another player that plays the same position as someone they already took. And yes, I don’t expect to know the player they take at every spot. I also don’t expect them to stay at every pick, they will have some “targets” here and there and they may get some pretty good trade offers that they can’t resist. It should be a fun 3 days.
Steve:I am of the opinion that the Lions are in a much better positionthan they were in recent drafts. Given the success the team enjoyed in last season’s draft, they will place increasing faithin the abilities of their scouting department to be able to suss out the draft gems who reside in each round.
They will have fewer picks due to the acquisitions of players like Shaun Hill, Corey Williams, Rob Sims, and Chris Houston, but each of them provides an immediately beneficial role for the team in exchange.
If the Lions come out of this draft witheither/botha quality offensiveor defensive linemen, secondary help, anda productive running back, this draft will be another rousing success.
Al: To take the multiple questions within a question in order…
A. I’m thinking Mayhew will continue withhis “take the best player available, regardless of position” philosophy, within reason, of course. Which means the Lions may take more offensive skill players than the fans might like, such as a running back and wide receiver, if the player is the consensus “best player available.” It’s not as if the Lions are set at any position other than QB as it is, right?
B. Once the draft gets into the 2nd and 3rd days, and teams start to dig deep for talent, it’s a given the Lions are going to draft players who are as far from being familiar with fans as possible. Using myself as an example, I spend most of my Saturdays watching Big Ten football. so I couldn’t tell you much about players in the ACC/MAC/MWC. I usually only see the bigger games in conferences like the SEC or Big 12, as that’s what turns up on my TV. I just don’t watch enough college ball to have an educated opinion. I’m sure the vast majority of Lions fans are in the same boat.
C. If the surprises turn out as well as last season’s draft, I sure as Hell hope so! Honestly, we have no idea what players the Lions have fallen in love with from watching tape, and attending the combine and college pro days. My guess is at least a few of the players the Lions are planning on picking are complete surprises. You can say the same about every team in the NFL. Players drop and rise in the draft, we may be surprised as to whom they may be.
D.My level of trust is pretty high with Mayhew. After hitting a solid triple with the ‘09 draft, he’s built up some equity, and will get a slight benefit of the doubt from me as to his selections. Much of that is from my being in agreement with the “take the best player available, regardless of position” philosophy. The Lions need talent, andI don’t care on which side of the ball they find it.
Phil:I think the first pick is really going to give you an idea of the Lions’ strategy for the remainder of the draft. I don’t think they go back-to-back defense nor offense with their first two picks, unless someone they figure is just too valuable to pass up falls to them. I think they’ll definitely surprise with some picks, but that probably won’t be until the fourth round. Even the third-round pick, withthe depth of this draft, has a good chance to be a well known player. Don’t forget, though, that being famous doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Everybody balked at DeAndre Levy, but now where are all the doubters?
The moral of the story is not to judge based on names. Chances are, even if you know some names, the majority of Detroit fans won’t be truly familiar with the players, outside of the top couple. This just in: The Lions will be familiar with those players. Martin Mayhew has proven himself to be a competent general manager. That doesn’t guarantee that he won’t make mistakes. It doesn’t guarantee he’ll turn the franchise around. But in my opinion, he’s proven to be a professional GM. Which is something Matt Millen never proved. Ever.
As much as I’m Millen, it’s amazing to look at the misery over which he presided. He not only ruined an entire franchise, but he ruined an entire fan base, too. The popular view is that the Lions have never done anything right, are a completely worthless organization and should be wiped from the NFL history books. Over almost a decade, Lions fans learned they could have done better than Millen – I definitely don’t think anyone could have done worse. But that has caused distrust of everyone in the organization, and understandably so. But it’s time we took a step back and analyzed things without the emotion. It’s time to trust this regime insomuch as they’ve earned it. They’ve proven to be intelligent, hard working and competent. They’ve yet to provethey can be successful. But, hey, competence is nothing to shake a stick at around these here parts. Let’s trust them to do their jobs well before we start proclaiming to have better football minds than they do.
Blades Boyd:Do I trust Mayhew and Schwartz??? No. Do I have faith in them to make the right picks??? Maybe. Do I have more hope going into this draft then others??? Yes. You can’t put all your trust into these guys after one so so draft. I consider it a “so so” draft because sure they had some good picks like Levy, Delmas, Petitgrew, Hill andStafford but any team who has 4 picks in the first 70 should find at least that many starters. But then you look at guys like Williams and Brown who are injury prone, undersized guys who had no business being taken so early. I know people will disagree with that but Aaron Brown cannot run inside and the only thing he’s good for is a screen or a swing pass from time to time. Andanytime he’s on the field, as was quite evident in the second half of the season, teams know he’s getting the ball and focus on him andshut him down. I hope to god we can find two, maybe three defensive starters in this draft. (DT, CB, DE) If we can do that, we have some real hope for the next three or four years.
Joshua: Generally speaking, I fully expect the Lions to go into this year’s draft just like they did the 2009 draft: Totally prepared. This means that we will likely hear names called for the Lions that we do not know well, or maybe even at all. Like DeAndreLevy or Sammie Hill. Hopefully, this year’s names will become as positive as last year’s names. Positive? Lions?
Yes. Many pundits, draftniks, and fans are still well behind the train when it comes to the Detroit Lions. Has Martin Mayhew proved he can build a successful franchise? No. Has he proven that he is a professional who takes his job seriously and has shown potential to be very good at it? Yes. A professional GM is something Matt Millen never really came close to being — in fact, it seemed as though he wasn’t sure what it really was much less how to get there. Mayhew is out looking at players, scouting, talking with the scouts, meeting with the scouts with players, watching film, talking with the coaches, watching players and film with the coaches, studying college players, studying players on other NFL teams… in other words, he is doing what a GM is supposed to do. Tom Lewand handles the finances and hangs around Allen Park, so to speak, while Mayhew is out finding the building materials for his team.
This is not the same front office that drafted 3 first round WR. That went into the draft with a vague idea, some big names, and shot from the hip. That didn’t take their coaches into account, or took them into account too much. That drafted guys whose skill set didn’t fit what the team needed. That reached for positions of need instead of taking talent — sometimes by a few rounds or more. That traded players for essentially nothing, and seemed to come out worst in every transaction.
This IS the front office that has made some very shrewd trades. That has hit on a high percentage of its draft picks. That has a coherent vision from top to bottom for the team. That has researched players extensively. That has practiced and planned their draft day strategies and scenarios. That has taken and signed players that fit the overall vision of the team. That has taken talent in place of reaching for need.
In other words, this front office to date has been everything Millen wasn’t except a winner (neither has that distinction – yet) — and my gut feeling is that if they continue on the path they have been treading, they will be a winner as well – completing their polar oppositivity to Millen. I tend to be a roses-and-sunshine kind of guy when it comes to the IF’s of the Ifseason. I have a feeling I won’t know who the heck most of the players they take are when they take them, and that I will be shocked or surprised by other picks. However, just knowing that BATFAN rules the drafting strategy is enough for me to give a benefit of the doubt to this front office at the conclusion of the draft. Knowing this in advance has also led me to be more excited about this draft that I have been in years! I can’t wait to see what Mayhew and Co. pull off next…