Friday, January 29, 2010

Souffle Season??

Souffle Season??

January 29th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

As per Wikipedia: A soufflé is a light, fluffy, bakedcake made with eggyolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up” — an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.

A chocolate soufflé

Every soufflé is made from 2 basic components:

  1. a French Creme patissiere base/flavored cream sauce or purée
  2. Egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue.

The base provides the flavour and the whites provide the “lift”. Foods commonly used for the base in a soufflé include jam, fruits, berries,chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a good deal of sugar). When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).

Because of its tendency to fall rather quickly, the soufflé has been displayed in many forms of media, especially cartoons and children’s programs, as very difficult to survive outside the oven for more than a short time. Some jest that a poke or a loud noise will make a soufflé collapse (and with it, the pretentions of the hostess).

As I was reading story after inane story about who ended up in the first round, third round, out of the draft, athelete, soaring stock, sliding stock, short arms, great wingspan, too long an arm, fast for a big man, slow for a little man, hip fluidity…

Yes, the NFL draft hype has already begun. It seems players are “shooting up the boards” or “dropping like a popped souffle” every day, or several times a day. Poor one on one drill at the senior bowl? Oh, he just proved he is awful. Great day covering the 10th best senior WR while the QB under center lobs some good old Michigan ducks who apparently headed to mobile? Goes to sure first rounder.

I feel like I am watching a cooking show where they are trying to make an NFL souffle, but they really don’t know what (or if) will make it come out right. And, as is life in the NFL, if you get that “lift” at the right time you can make a playoff run — and then it falls 10 minutes later and the team doesn’t go back again. The Patroits pulled a great souffle out of the oven in the early part of last Decade, but Father Time caught up to them as he always does, and the souffle has fallen back to the pack. If you’ve ever had a fallen souffle, it still tastes great, but it doesn’t have that special poofy look and feel. They are still good – but not “unbeatable”. There are many different ways to flavor the “base” in a souffle, and different toppings add to the variety. While there is no one right way to flavor it properly, there is only one “right way” for it to be a success — to puff up and stay there long enough for the big entrance…or in the NFL, the big game – the Superbowl. Every season is a new souffle.

Moreso than teams, it is the individual players being evaluated for the draft that comes stronger to mind. Some guys – like Iupati at OG – are rising out of the pan. Others like Taylor Mays…well, just like the souffle at the end, he’s falling back to earth after talk of being a top 5 pick had he come out last year.

The real question is: What does it all mean for the Lions. Answer: Not a whole lot.

Even ater a decade of Millen, many fans still want to repeat the same mistakes over and over again — reaching for the “late rising” player at a position of “need”, or going for the name/shiny pick. Kiper and McShay always loved Millen’s drafts. Why? He “filled all his needs” (funny how that never REALLY happened, only in draftnik land), “took the right guy”, and “couldn’t pass up this guy there”. Anyone could have scouted Millen’s internal draft board (sadly for the scouts and fans, the only one that mattered) by reading draft guides on the internet. Even then, it seems like the average person had more knowledge of who to pick and why than the front office.

Not so any more. Most NFL teams are only looking to things like the combine and the senior bowl to do just a few things:

  1. Get some decent film and looks at some small school prospects
  2. See if a guy catches their eye they want to do more research on that they didn’t have on their radar (rare)
  3. Confirm opinions they already have
  4. Answer basic suspicions (questions) they have

Do we really think that a few good days of senior bowl practice has “proven” that Brandon Graham “has the burst it takes” to be a “dominant” DE in the NFL as McShay said the other day? Umm…no. I chatted with everyone’s favorite neighborhood capologist and Lions fan NetRat about this some time back. In a nutshell, when you see dramatic risers/sliders it is because the media is noticing people scouts have been looking at all year. Sure, the national media didn’t have any clue (neither did fans) who DeAndre Levy or Sammie Hill were last year — but we know now.

As you read about these stories of players rising and falling like a souffle on a daily basis it is really the media trying to figure out where players are slotted in the highly secretive NFL draft rooms. Now that the Lions have a real front office and coaching staff in place, don’t look for it to be easy to know who the Lions are targeting. They have specific talent and skill sets in mind, and don’t pay attention to the media other than to get an idea where other teams may have a guy slotted for purposes of trades back. As players get poked and prodded by the draft process, some of them will implode (like Andre Smith last year), some will just slowly fade (like Taylor Mays) and others will puff up and stay there (like Brandon Albert, who is now rumored to be a possibility to head to RT because of his struggles at LT).

So whether whether Mayhew ends up picking puffy souffles, or deflated souffles, or ones we’ve never heard of — if he and the scouts do as well as last year then once again we will be in for a real treat this season when the draft day cooking finally arrives at the table.

Rating: 10.0/10 (7 votes cast)
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8 Responses to “Souffle Season??”

  1. By Ty on Jan 29, 2010


    Perfect analogy! I think the ‘late riser’ most often happens when the media gets word about one or two teams having a player ranked far above the consensus–like the Raider and Darrius Heyward-Bey, or the Vikings and Troy Williamson. There’s also no question that the Combine and All-Star games can help and hurt stock . . .

    But, you’re right. Most of these guys are already pretty well-known quantities to actual scouts. Remember when everyone was shocked–SHOCKED–that Maualuga fell so far? That the Lions passed on him three times? I said that day, there’s got to be a reason . . . maybe now we know what it is.


    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  2. By detfan1979 on Jan 29, 2010

    What is more heartening for Lions fans is that the media never got wind he Lions were even considering or had visited with DeAndre Levy, or that the Lions had him rated above what the media were aware of. There is much more organization and forethought going into the draft now instead of waiting til draft day to pick out the prettiest puffy souffle.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  3. By chiefger139 on Jan 29, 2010

    love your aite detfan and the video- but face it we are who we are and unfortunately still feel the wize chief has done better than there picks could of had should of had the likes of rasheed mendenhall or ray rice-laurinitus you name it-but must admit love last years draft as you-finally went to the draft stafford side and finally got it right-after that was upset but look at delmos im a wmu enginerring grad and love him- then levy so on like you say sami-hill etc-it will get tougher now each year as finally some needs are met and you look for others but actually I always thought get the superstars when you can forget needs-once you have the superstars then build around them-think were doin that now -if you draft early look for probowlers at what ever position they are-if you draft the cream of the draft-especially at the skill positions you will not only become a contender but may actually be a superbowl team eventually because face it when you know your qb is the best or better than any draft, your safety is or at least one of there top 5 etc you then can consentrate on the lower positions etc so mayhew may piss off the trenches only crowd hes doin the right thing-look how long barry caried us-and truthfully the trench guys with a good gm can be gottin later-aka sammy hill and many others have much confidence and mayhew and his approach were gettin there!!

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  4. By mrdithers on Jan 30, 2010

    I am really hungry after that post…and I couldn’t agree more with your contention that we, as in Lions’ fans, have a real front office and coaching staff running things now. Heck, the latest stat floating out there right now is the one about the Lions’ annual changes in offensive and defensive coordinators. For the first time in 13 years, they will have the same coordinators? How can you run a business like that, or a football franchise? I am glad that there will be some consistency, but not just for consistencies’ sake. These guys have shown that they know what they are doing. If evidence is needed, look to last year’s draft as a prime example.

    Tonight, my wife and I are joining another couple at a tapas bistro and I can’t wait to try my first seafood paella…bon appetite.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  5. By Isphet on Jan 30, 2010

    You sure it’s not spelled Suh-ffle?

    I just can’t get excited about another 300ish LB inside DT. No matter how much Mike Mayock or Mel Kiper puff him up.

    A 300LB strong side Defensive End though… rawr.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. By RIP on Jan 31, 2010

    Loved the win that the Lion’s staff got at the Senior Bowl. With only a weeks worth of practice and equal talent, all three units played good.

    Brandon Graham, playing in his natural position in a 4-3 was a monster during the game. He may have moved into the top 20, like BJ Raji who was projected around 20 and went 9 to Green Bay.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. By chiefger139 on Feb 3, 2010

    havent heard from you in a while det fan79, just hope youve been super busy and no more dosasters have come your way. not even answerin emails-well its me-can see why. nice article. your small school extra all applies but face it were at the top basically once again-pick the cream of the crop. sure look at position needed 1st and ask your self is this guy gonna be a probowler? if many questions then look at another position etc. and after looking at all of them ad theres no sure thing great one then go back to the needs list and get the best one there but ensure you get those sure thing winners-actually millen got one of them in calvin johnson-hopefully mayhew got a couple with stafford and delmos and who knows maybe 3 with petigrew came on strong just before he was hurt-lineman are tougher-Iwouldnt go for them unless theyre talkin about them like shu but if your the fearin crowd probably easier to get at least a mediocre guard in the 2nd-may be the best guard in the entire draft-but knowing you can luck out in get one latter would betough to pull the trigger, if your really good can get a guard latter say like woody who actually can play tackle, then you hit the jack pot, etc. but you look at them all ignore kickers and get the true superstars while theyre there-hopefully were now done pickin i the top ten-our last chance at gettin the cream of the crop as we at least become a 6-7 game winner-then take the lineman, the bread and guts guys at the top-you have the superstrs then and they now need the grunts to make it happen-just the wize chiefs oppinion!!

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. By Stan Mccuien on May 14, 2010

    That is some inspirational stuff. Not in a million years knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to propose such reassuring knowledge here.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Safety 2 Detroit? Think again…

Safety 2 Detroit? Think again…

January 24th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

Louis Delmas is really the only player in the secondary right now that would unquestionably start for quality teams. However, I don’t think that we will see the Lions taking his backfield mate at Safety at #2. I am just as big an Eric Berry fan as anyone, but lets look at this from a depth of talent standpoint.

At the top of the DT class are McCoy and Suh. One of them will be there at #2. DT is a “high priority” position. They are both considered head and shoulders after what will be avialable later. Both are also near or at the top of every talent board. McCoy, who is more likely to be available, is considered more of a pass-rushing DT which fits next to big Sam Hill. Unless the Lions get good trade offer (Say, two ones, or a high one and two – which is possible, though not probable) they will possibly be taking one of the two.

While Berry has been talked about as well that high — including what will be endless debate about whether he can also play CB, Nickleback, and fly (just kidding on that last one) in addition to S, there is something else that will keep him from a #2 grade on the Lions’ board — depth.

One part of BPA-FAN (Best Player Available, Fill Any Need) is their overall grade in relation to the grades of the next ten guys, and what the dropoff in talent level at that position is expected to be based on where other players will be available. Do you take a Laurinitis at 20 who is graded at say an 8 on your board, when you can get a Levy whom you may have graded 7.9 in the middle of the third — two full rounds later? You do if you need a guy at a position who is graded an 8 (assuming 8 was your rating number for the pick) where the drop off to the next round is, say, a 6 or 7. Clear as mud.

According toprofootball scout, this is a very deep draft class. Since there isn’t a “direct link” (its a blog entry) – I’ll post it here:

2010 Safety Class

It’s a position that used to be taken for granted, but the safety position has gone from the forgotten two players defending the last line of defense to playmakers that can mean the difference between wins and losses. And for teams that need playmakers at the safety position, the 2010 draft is shaping up to be the deepest and most talented safety crop in the history of the spring spectacle.

You know it’s a special safety class when for the first time in the history of the draft six underclassmen have declared and one of the six has received No. 1 overall consideration. Tennessee’s Eric Berry is considered a top-two prospect, but since the St. Louis Rams hold the No. 1 pick, it’s unlikely that Berry will become the first safety ever be selected with the top pick. But he has a chance to be the second safety drafted with the No. 2 pick. The Cleveland Browns selected Eric Turner out of UCLA with the 2nd overall selection in the 1991 draft, and the Lions could make Berry the 2nd overall pick this year.

In addition to Berry, the other five safeties that declared early for the NFL are Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech), Chad Jones (LSU), Reshad Jones (Georgia), Earl Thomas (Texas) and Major Wright (Florida). All six will likely come off the board in the first three rounds of the draft.

The six underclassmen make this class special, and when you add in the senior talent it becomes elite.

The senior safeties are headlined by USC’s Taylor Mays, the most gifted athlete at the position and a sure first round selection. At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Mays offers a team at the next level tremendous versatility and an intimidating prowess that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. Other senior safeties that will generate interest in the first three rounds are Nate Allen (South Florida), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Darrell Stuckey (Kansas) and Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech).

To think that 11 safeties could be selected in the first three rounds of a single draft is unheard of, especially since there’s only been four years this decade (2000, 2007, 2008 and 2009) where more than 11 safeties have been taken in an entire draft.

2010 is a great year to have a need for a safety
Mayhew showed us through his actions last year that he takes a methodical, logical, consistent approach to the draft. While he certainly won’t hit on every pick (he is human, after all, as are the scouts and people they are picking) he will follow a set methodology and be fully prepared for the draft when it arrives. With the depth at safety, I can easily see them taking a guy in the 2nd or 3rd round. Since I think one or both picks could be traded, it makes it hard to say who or where — but my money right now is on one of those safeties going to Detroit before round 3 is over to pair with Delmas and secure Detroit’s two starting safeties with talented young players.
(Note: be sure to check out Ty’s latest research project including lots of film clips at the Lions in Winter. Great stuff on the D-line!)
Rating: 10.0/10 (6 votes cast)
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5 Responses to “Safety 2 Detroit? Think again…”

  1. By British Lion on Jan 25, 2010

    I totally agree about not taking a Safety at the top of the draft. We already have a player at the position, and the draft is literally loaded with safeties.

    Also to anyone who replies the maybe Berry can play CB too, you don’t draft someone in the top 5 with the plan to change his position. Playing CB and Safety are too disimilar. He might make a good CB but he is in the top 5 as a safety.

    However, everything I read also says the draft is deep in DT players. Couple this with the type of DT Cunning-Shwartz is looking for (run stuffing two gapper), these bigger guys with who score lower on the blockbuster measurables tend to be found lower down in drafts. There are defnately a bunch of bigger DT in the second tier.

    There currently is not a DE or CB rated as high as the second pick, which are two areas of high need where the talent level will matter maybe more. (Ie I think it would be better to get the best DE or CB and the 3/4th best DT as opposed to the other way around.)

    Which leaves only one other position of real value OT.

    Now I have seen alot of positive reports on the Lions line, essentially saying that if everyone stays fit and we find a LG we could be set. LG should be addressable in FA so go Line later on in the draft.

    But all these articles also acknowledge the age of Riola and Backus. We need more youth on that line.

    Thus if I was picking, I would target the best ranked OT (so long as one is worthy of a top 5 pick [Okung is there is most mocks at the momment]). Start him at G and move him out later, or if he beats out backus all the better. Then you have two young book end tackles who if they don’t pan out might be moveable inside.

    I just don’t think we need a safety at number 2 and i don’t think Suh or McCoy fit the profile of a Cunning-Schwartz DT. No DEs or CBs crept up that high yet, OT IS a need and there is currently an OT up that high…

    This will all change as stocks rise and fall (alot…) but I think OT is a much of a need/value as DE and CB at number 2 and more than DT or Safety

    Rating: 2.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  2. By Clusterfox on Jan 27, 2010

    “you don’t draft someone in the top 5 with the plan to change his position.”

    Not that I’m disagreeing with the thought its just that it looks funny when you follow it up with.

    “Thus if I was picking, I would target the best ranked OT (so long as one is worthy of a top 5 pick [Okung is there is most mocks at the momment]). Start him at G”

    As a former lineman, I do believe its silly that everyone assumes that all OTs can play guard then we will just move him out to tackle when we need to. I think the lions need a Young talented Guard via FA or the draft(one that could play center maybe)and a Tackle to develop from the draft. that is atleast 2 oline, one interior one tackle.


    Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  3. By DetFan1979 on Jan 27, 2010

    I don’t think the Lions are locked in on DT as the bigger need. Keep in mind what they will lock in on is combination of best talent and attributes (mental and physical) and take that person. Unlike the solid scheme coaches Detroit has had in the recent past, this front office is all about getting talent, and using it. No square pegs in round holes.

    As doran OG/C that is young – that is yet another reason I want them to pursue Eugene Amano as their #1 free agent. Not only is he a proven LG, but he is also a converted Center. Talk about value! This would allow them to take a developmental tackle in the later rounds, and also an OG/C later on that can back up both Peterman (who has had some injury trouble) and Raiola.

    Remember: FA is to fill need. For Martin Mayhew, the draft is all about themost talented players at a position of any need. With the dearth of depth and quality starters intje Lions, don’t look for this to change any time soon

    Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  4. By David M on Jan 28, 2010

    Im glad you made this point about value and its relation to depth at the position.
    This draft most certainly is knee deep in quality safeties. In fact, I would think a player like Myron Rolle would be a great pick up after round 2.
    You have to ask yourself, which scenario sounds better to the Lions:
    -picking a guy like Gerald McCoy in round 1, and getting a Myron Rolle in round 3, or…

    -selecting Eric Berry first, and trying for someone like Geno Atkins from Georgia in round 3-4.

    We need to generate a pass rush. If we can’t pressure opposing QB’s, it won’t matter if we have Charles Woodson roaming the defensive backfield.

    Mike Mayock said it himself, that the top two DT’s are head and shoulders above any other players in the draft.

    And one final note, I really like Delmas as an instinctive player and as a leader for our defense. Berry offers similar qualities, which may overlap with Delmas’s. This could diminish his value in the eyes of Mayhew and Schwartz.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  5. By detfan1979 on Jan 29, 2010

    A backfield with a healthy Bullocks, Delmas, Simpson and a 3rd rounder like Myron Rolle would look much better if you had a Dline with Sammie Hill and Gerald McCoy in the middle, and a DE rotation of White, Avril, Hunter, and Brandon Graham. That is a distinct possibility if the cards fall right. The Lions can make a weak defensive backfield solid by adding a player or two from the mid rounds (due to depth at S especially) and getting the top pass rushers in the first and second rounds. There is still a long time to go before the draft, but depth of position and who is available is an issue — and trade back is almost ALWAYS on the table. Trade up — not so much.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)