Prior predictions of mine were towards Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest going first overall. However, the recent signing of Dan Orlovsky with the Houston Texans and the trading of Jon Kitna to the Dallas Cowboys leaves little doubt that the Detroit Lions will go with Matthew Stafford out of Georgia.
As much as a great addition Curry will bring to the defense, there is not enough depth at quarterback. Also, Stafford brings less of a clout now than Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow will bring next season. The clout being cost of contract based on the prior success of a Heisman for each and two national titles (so far) for Tebow. Stafford has expressed a desire to play for Detroit and his connections to Bobby Layne hopefully will end that curse.
The recent signings of Grady Jackson at defensive tackle, Phillip Buchanon and Eric King at cornerback, Maurice Morris at running back, Bryant Johnson at wide receiver creates breathing room for the Lions with the rest of the draft. They do need players but these signings bring a veteran presence which can't be expected out of whomever they draft.
In terms of pick No. 20, the Lions will pick James Laurenitis out of Ohio State. The Lions need someone to sheriff the defense. A quality inside linebacker sets the pace and keeps everyone motivated on the prize - pummeling whomever has the ball. He was a fan favorite in Columbus and that following will pick up greatly in Detroit.
At pick No. 33, the Lions will select Eben Britton out of Arizona. A lot of the OT's will be gone by this point and hopefully Britton will still be available by then. At 6'6" and 309 or so, he bring size and and not too much of a weight issue.
The next pick at No. 65 in the third round will be offensive guard Seth Olsen out of Iowa. He is a sleeper pick who freed up space for Shonn Greene to winning the Doak Walker Award, which makes him more than ready to give Kevin Smith a hole to run through. At No. 82 in the third round, center Alex Fletcher out of Stanford as an understudy to Dominic Raiola. He's undersized at 6'2" 297, but he brings a toughness that makes him ideal to pick up.
In the fourth round, with pick No. 97 the Lions should pick safety Otis Wiley out of Michigan State. He is a big reason for MSU's success in the secondary this past season.
In the sixth round, the Lions will close out the draft with picks at No. 151 and 170. For No. 151, the Lions should pick kicker Sam Swank out of Wake Forest. He is also a player who has a cannon for a leg to be a possible replacement to Jason Hanson. For No. 170, Tim Jamison out of Michigan. He is a workhorse that will be brought in to either get some action on the defensive line or platoon on special teams.
The Lions have a good chance to run the table at the draft not so much in getting names on jerseys as much as putting the right people for the positions. There is still a great deal of time until the draft. Many free agents remain still out there so many of these choices could change. Talent is good but veteran experience means not as much of a learning curve in being ready to get that first victory in the first game.
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