The ghosts of Andre Ware, Mike Williams and Charles Rogers (pictured above) still haunt the dreams of long-time longsuffering Detroit Lions fans.
Martin Mayhew has, in just a few short years, separated himself from former general managers who could have picked the one lemon off a Ford new car lot.
But it's a Lions eat Bears world and each year success must be duplicated or a team (any team) will backslide out of playoff contention.
Here are some players that the Lions should avoid like feline mange.
Janoris Jenkins, CB N. Alabama- The picture pretty much says it all. It's Jenkins world and the rest of us are just living in it. There is no teammate he can't step on to climb higher. Even with the world of talent the Lions want no part of his selfish poor decision making off the field.
Mike Adams, OT Ohio State- While Adams has some talent he didn't have a very good year this year. The Lions need a replacement for Jeff Backus at LT. Some believe that Adams is an NFL LT. I don't see it. Unless he is an All Pro player, a first round pick on a RT is too much right now for the Lions with other holes to fill.
Cordy Glenn, G/T Georgia- Cordy has some nice tools; quick feet, long arms and good flexibility for a man of his size. He is too big to play tackle and not powerful or gritty enough to play guard. He reminds me of Andre Smith, just a little too flabby to take a chance on his potential.
Andre Branch, DE Clemson- Don't get me wrong Andre Branch has a ton of physical talent. He could make an excellent outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense team. He is just not a good fit for the Lions as a 4-3 defensive end. Even if he could become a decent defensive end it would take far too long to develop him. Just look at Robert Quinn.
Stephen Gilmore, CB South Carolina- Glimore's tackles declined this season as did his overall play. He is capable of some big plays but he is also capable of some gaffes. The Lions already have Alphonso Smith who specializes in the high-risk, high-reward department. The Lions need talent and consistency and Gilmore just hasn't shown it.
Lavonte David, OLB Nebraska- David pops on film and has outstanding numbers. The issue here isn't talent or speed, it's size and scheme. On one hand David is very good in coverage and the Lions are in dire need of that. On the other he is smallish and the Lions struggle (mostly due to their wide nine scheme) to stop the run. The trade-off simply isn't worth it at this point for this player.
David Molk, C Michigan- It's Dominic Raiola 2.0. If the Lions are looking for an undersized scrappy hustler maybe Molk is their man. If they want someone who will never rise above average it's Molk. As for me, let's upgrade the position. Two centers out of the Big Ten would be better options (Konz and Brewster).
LaMichael James, RB Oregon- With the concussion issues and uncertainty of Javid Best's situation, it might be tempting for the Lions to consider a running back in this spot. But James is smaller, weaker and slower than Best. The Lions best option will be to stick with what they have and see what a healthy duo of Best and Leshoure can do.
Zebrie Sanders, OT Florida State- Injuries forced Zebrie from RT to LT this season. Suffice it to say that Sanders is a much better prospect at RT than he is at LT. If the Lions are in the market for a LT (and we know they are) there are some better options. Players like Nate Potter/BSU and Matt Reynolds/BYU come to mind. If the Lions are okay with a RT here, Sanders is probably their guy. Sanders is a good athlete and might make a fine RT.
Chris Galippo, MLB USC- Chirs is a classic case of unfulfilled talent. He was a high school All-American coming out and seemed poised to be the next big time linebacker at USC. He has the good size that Schwartz likes (6'2", 250) but he is stiff and robotic on the field.
As a consequence, his production has suffered. His instincts have also betrayed him at times. The fact that he has been a starter throughout his life also makes him less valuable due to inexperience on special teams.
Robert Marve, MLB Vanderbilt- In many respects Marve is the anti-Galippo. He has good instincts, can cover and might be a decent special teams player. He also is smaller and is not very tough at the point of attack. He may have value as a backup and career special teams player but is probably not worth investing in as a potential project starter.
Marquis Maze, WR/PR Alabama- Maze has talent as a receiver (solid hands and good body control) and as a punt returner (something the Lions sorely need). He is smaller and not suited for anything beyond playing the slot in the NFL. Buyer beware his yards per catch average is about the same as his punt return average (around 12 yards per). There will be questions about his durability as well.
Eddie Whitley, S Virginia Tech- Eddie has got some good skills. The problem is that he doesn't do well what the Lions ask their safeties to do. Lions safeties must diagnose quickly and move to make plays. This includes frequently coming up in run support. For all his athletic talents, Eddie does not diagnose and react particularly well and he is shy to put his nose in against a ball carrier.
Cliff Harris, CB Oregon- Cliff Harris has all the on-field skills that the Lions would love out of a cornerback. He is very good in man to man coverage and despite his size (only 180lbs) he's willing in the run game.
If only his life was all on the field. Cliff had multiple incidents off the field which resulted in his expulsion from the Ducks team. The last straw was being caught for pot possesion. If slide number one has taught us anything, it's that pot smokers and the Lions don't mix. Just ask Charles Rogers.