Lions Re-Draft: 2001 Edition
The end of the Super Bowl officially marks the beginning of the off-season for all 32 NFL franchises.
While most of America spent the Christmas season sipping egg nog and participating in friendly conversation with loved ones, NFL players spent theirs trash talking and trying not to get their heads ripped off.
The off-season is a holiday of sorts for NFL players. Some go to Disney World, while others head for warmer climates. Many decide to head home and get in some good R&R.
However, amongst all this merriment and frivolity, front offices find themselves hard at work— not unlike Ebeneezer Scrooge.
For team presidents, general managers, scouts, executives and coaching staffs, the off-season may be the busiest time of the year.
In the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol," Scrooge is visited by the Spirit of Christmas Past.
He reveals decisions that led to his current miserable state. Eventually, he is brought to a penitent state and vows to change his ways.
With all the media attention of the new look Lions, it is hard to forget the decade of futility that preceded it.
Headlined by an 0-16 season, the Millen era is perhaps the darkest decade in Lions team history.
In this re-draft, we will be visited by the Spirit of Draft Past and look at at what picks should have been made to prevent the Lions' epic downfall.
Hold on to your hats boys and girls: The Lions Re-Draft is about to begin.
The date is April 21, 2001. With the 18th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select ...
Round 1: Pick 18
Actual Pick: Jeff Backus, LT
Re-Draft: Drew Brees, QB
Analysis: One could make the case that Backus was the right pick, as he's been a staple on the offensive line since being drafted.
Though often underrated, he will never be mistaken for an elite left tackle. When selecting in the first round, you are looking for a game changer.
There are a few notable names that follow Backus such as Casey Hampton, Reggie Wayne and Todd Heap.
However, Drew Brees was sitting there atop the second round.
Coming off a record breaking 2011 campaign, Brees is arguably the best QB in the league right now.
Teams passed on the former Boilermaker due to his lack of size and measurables. I'm sure if they had the chance, many teams would have Brees at the top of their draft boards.
Round 2: Pick 50
Actual Pick: Dominic Raiola, C
Re-Draft: Adrian Wilson, SS
Analysis: The 2001 draft was one of the better drafts of the Millen era, as it landed two offensive linemen that are still with the team.
However, neither of the two are considered top tier players at their position. Raiola is as intelligent a center as you'll find in the NFL, but he simply lacks the bulk to compete with the league's elite defensive linemen.
At 6'-3"/230 lbs, Adrian Wilson is a monster at safety.
The four time Pro-Bowler has been a reliable staple on an inconsistent Arizona defense for the last 10 years.
Seeing the woes the Lions currently have at safety, they could really use Wilson's services.
Round 2: Pick 61
Actual Pick: Shaun Rogers, DT
Re-Draft: Steve Smith, WR
Analysis: This is kind of a toss up, as both players come with baggage.
Rogers was a dominant force when he wanted to be one.
Unfortunately, the former Longhorn preferred destroying the buffet, rather than the offensive, line.
He has seen his contract bounced around over the last few seasons. Had he committed more time and effort to his craft, there's no telling how much of an impact he could have had on the league.
Much like Brees, Steve Smith was passed over due to his size.
At his best, Smith is a dynamic play maker: At his worst, he is a whining diva.
As evidenced by his 2011 campaign, he's still got some gas left in the tank. For longevity purposes, I take Smith over Rogers in this re-draft.
Round 5: Pick 148
Actual Pick: Scotty Anderson, WR
Re-Draft: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR
Scotty Anderson lasted three seasons and notched a whopping four TDs. Bottom line is he isn't playing anymore.
While Houshmandzadeh has declined over the last few seasons, the former seventh round pick out of Oregon State logged some productive seasons in his career.
His lack of production in college dropped him down draft boards. However, lining up opposite fellow Beaver alum Chad Ochocinco, the duo led the Bengals to playoff appearances in the early 2000s.
Houshmandzadeh may not be a hall of famer, but you could do a lot worse.
Round 5: Pick 149
Actual Pick: Mike McMahon, QB
Re-Draft: Antonio Pierce, MLB
Analysis: McMahon started three games his rookie season, but the former Scarlet Knight found himself on the outside looking in by the time the 2002 draft rolled around.
He bounced around the league for a few more seasons, and later played for the CFL until 2007.
In 2008, he led the defense that won Super Bowl XLII. Following a series of injuries, the former Wildcat called it quits in 2010.
Round 6: Pick 173
Actual Pick: Jason Glenn, OLB
Re-Draft: Dominic Rhoads, RB
Analysis: Glenn never cracked the roster and was waived before ever taking the field with the Lions.
Rhoads went undrafted but was eventually picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. Though never establishing himself as the starting back for them, he did prove to be an effective backup to Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai.
Following a stint with the Raiders, Rhoads twice returned to Indy before finally landing in the UFL.
Round 1: Drew Brees, QB
Round 2: Adrian Wilson, SS
Round 2: Steve Smith, WR
Round 5: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR
Round 5: Antoni Pierce, MLB
Round 6: Dominic Rhoads, RB
If the draft had gone this way, the Lions would have set the foundation for their offense with a franchise QB, two starting WRs, and a decent RB.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions would be set with two leaders roaming the backfield.