With less than a week before the 2012 NFL Draft, it would be wise to listen to what Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew is saying (or not saying) just days before the draft.
In his press conference yesterday, Mayhew did not speak of any targets for the Lions' upcoming seven selections nor did he get into specifics regarding any players, but he did offer some insight as to his philosophy for next weekend's NFL extravaganza.
You can view the press conference, here, but unfortunately, the juicy parts of the discussion have been edited out—another close-to-the-vest maneuver by the Lions.
If you did not hear the presser, there are five highlights I took from Mayhew’s time at the podium.
First, the Lions have 4-7 players they are looking at with the 23rd selection:
"We're probably between four and seven guys that we really feel very comfortable with that are great fits for us that we’re very excited about having."
Second, the first few picks do not have to be positions of need; the Lions are also looking at depth.
"It really kind of depends on who it is, but I think we do have a nice young core and we do have the ability now to take guys and we can plan to play those guys in the future. We can take guys on our team and on our roster that don't have to play right away to play that are picks for the future."
Third, the Lions' problems with the hippie lettuce this offseason will not affect their evaluation process.
"We've talked to players that have had those concerns, and we've evaluated all those situations, especially the ones who are high picks, early guys. We've talked to all those guys and asked them about their situations, and we've reached varying levels of comfort with different players."
Fourth, they feel the draft is deep at cornerback.
And finally, Mayhew disagrees that the running back position is simply a commodity.
"The running back position has been kind of de-valued lately; people don't really view the running back as a key position the way they used to. I think it's a critical position. I think careers are shorter, obviously, but I think it's a really important position on your football team. We felt that way and we drafted that way in the past. I don't share that sentiment that running backs aren't important and you can just grab one whenever and the guy can play. For every seventh-round pick or undrafted free agent that makes it, there's 10 of those guys that don't make it. We're going to look for quality players at every position."
With these comments in mind, here is the latest mock draft for the Lions. As always, I have not replicated any prior picks, but next week is a different story.
Below are links to the previous mocks, which have less Mayhew influence: