After the worst season in NFL history and a washed-up QB currently slated as the starter, it would seem obvious for the Detriot Lions to draft a top-tier QB, right?
I believe that doing this will just result in more wasted talent and, more importantly for the Lions, wasted draft picks. And should the franchise want to survive many years longer, they need to change the thinking in Detroit from "How can we get a few wins this year?" to "How can we get to the playoffs next year?"
Ford Field has been hearing crickets for the last 10 years, and if they wanna get enough money from ticket, merchandise, and TV sales to stay in Detroit, they'll need to learn to be more then just nearsighted...and build a team that actually has a prayer at making the playoffs.
There are a few reasons I hope the front office will take into consideration before taking Matthew Stafford as the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Not to knock Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez in any way; both are above-average talent who could even reach elite status on many other NFL teams, such as the 49ers or Jaguars, but not the Lions.
But there are three QBs who will enter the draft next year who could. Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Tim Tebow (in that order) all could end up being NFL MVP-level quarterbacks...with an improved Lions team.
2010 could end up being the biggest NFL QB draft in history, and the Lions should wait to be a part of that.
This year's draft is absolutely stacked with defensive and offensive line talent. There isn't the big-name running back or quarterback that there has been in years past, but not having that could let the Lions focus on the less attractive but very needed positions.
The Lions could use their first overall pick on LT Eugene Monroe or LB Aaron Curry and their 20th on MLB James Laurinaitis, DE/OLB Aaron Maybin, or OT Michael Oher, depending on their first pick. Any combination would greatly improve the Lions.
I believe that Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez are the best QBs in the draft, but I don't see them as being head and shoulders above some other QBs that can be taken in later rounds.
Graham Harrell from Texas Tech, Curtis Painter from Purdue, or Nate Davis from Ball State all could be taken in the third or fourth rounds. Each of them have the potential of becoming strong NFL caliber talent if surrounded by the right coaches and players.
If nothing else, one of these guys could be used as a starter for two or three years, while one of the aforementioned QBs that they should draft in 2010 gets prepared for the NFL.
Sorry to say it, Lions fans (which I'm not), but you're going to have a six-or-less-win season yet again and will be the worst NFL team for the second year in a row. The Rams will be a close second, though. This will allow you to have your pick of the best QB draft class in history in 2010.
So, the Lions need to accept that this will be another rebuilding (or just building) year and select the tools to build a strong foundation. There simply isn't an amazing QB that will blow the socks of every secondary in the NFC North this time around.
1) Calvin Johnson—The team's ownership may believe that if they draft anything but a quarterback, Calvin Johnson will see it as not having faith in him and will want to leave (although being in Detroit would make anyone beg and plead for a trade). Johnson is a top-flight NFL receiver and Detroit does not want to lose someone that good. If they are realistically facing this, drafting Stafford might be a necessity.
2.) Not changing from old tactics—Drafting an offensive weapon is what the Lions do, and it hasn't worked under Matt Millen. Now that he is gone, will the Lions build up their defense and O-Line, or continue Millen's ways?