Detroit Lions Must Remember That Defense Wins Championships

Ed WorvieContributor IFebruary 24, 2009

In 2008, the Detroit Lions fielded quite possibly the worst defense in NFL history.

If you look at their draft history over the past decade, it's no surprise why. Nine drafts, 10 first-round picks, and only one defensive player. The Lions need to make up for lost time this year by using both first-round picks on defensive players.

And, unless the recently-troubled Andre Smith falls to the second round, the 33rd pick should be spent on him too.

If you look at the best franchises in the NFL, such as the Steelers and Patriots, you will see they target defense in the first two rounds, year after year, with the occasional offensive skill guy thrown in there. Their success is no accident and, if the Lions ever want to win the NFC North, they must follow that formula.

Drafting Matt Stafford at QB would be a huge mistake. First of all, the guy is over-hyped, with 33 INT in 33 games and a 57 percent pass completion rate. Doesn't sound like the savior of a franchise to me.

With the Lions defense as is, Stafford would be forced to throw and that INT number would quickly rise...if he didn't get carted off the field first. The Lions have Daunte Culpepper as a veteran stopgap and Drew Stanton, last year's second-round pick, who has good potential.

I would like to see Stanton get a shot, because at least then we are not just throwing away another high pick. If he doesn't succeed, then at least we have a good defense to build on for 2010.

The first move the Lions need to make before the draft is sign Albert Haynesworth as a Lion. He is arguably the best DT in the league, he is young, he is nasty. The Lions were 7-9 in '07, 0-16 in '08, and the only guy they lost from their defense was Shaun Rogers.

That was a key Millen blunder, and to make matters worse, the team recently released Leigh Bodden, which also hurts. I think, because of the Schwartz connection with Tennessee, Detroit has an outside shot at landing Haynesworth, which would be a great start in fixing this defense.

Then, with the first pick, take Aaron Curry, who blazed the combine with a 4.56 40. He's 6-foot-3 inches, 250 lb., a playmaker and difference maker. The No. 20 pick should go to the best defensive end available, and the No. 33 pick should be used on a corner.

However, if Andre Smith were to fall to us because of his recent turmoil, I would consider him as well. Then, use the two picks in the third round on another corner, a guard, or a wide receiver. Yes, I said wide receiver, because even after using three Top 10 picks on that spot, the Lions are very weak there. Only Calvin Johnson remains.

Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew need to shore up the core of the team. Don't fall in love with Stafford, even if Stafford exceeds his potential. The Lions will never win without a defense or line to protect him.