Detroit Lions: Life Isn't Easy On the Top

John LeveringContributor IApril 12, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Fans hold a sign during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions enter the 2009 season with a fresh start. Exactly what they need after going 0-16 last season.

But is it possible to set the franchise back even farther?


The Lions have the No. 1 pick in this month's NFL Draft. They cannot afford another bust in the first round, and especially a bust with the No. 1 overall pick.

Selecting a stud is easier said than done for the Detroit Lions.

From 2002-2005 they drafted three wide receivers in the first round (Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams). None of the three WRs is still in Detroit. The other pick was a quarterback by the name of Joey Harrington.

Harrington was far from a standout quarterback with Detroit.

With all the previous picks considered, why does Detroit feel they need to draft a QB?

Matthew Stafford, former UGA gunslinger, is being the Lions projected choice at No. 1. But why should they take a QB?

Detroit would be making a huge gamble in drafting a QB over safer positions such as offensive line.

Jason Smith, the franchise left tackle from Baylor, and Eugene Monroe, a former UVA Cavalier, would both be available for the Lions to take.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand that quarterback is an extremely valuable and arguably the most important position in the NFL. But how can a QB be successful without protection?

I'm sure David Carr would be willing to tell anyone who wants to know what it feels like to have your NFL future dashed because of a horrendous offensive line.

If the Lions were to draft Stafford, whom I believe to be a potential budding star in the NFL, he would have to overcome getting sacked countless times. A task that has been extremely arduous for former No. 1 picks who were QBs.

If the Lions were to draft a QB who turned into a bust, it would set the franchise back even further than they already are.

The Lions need to look at the big picture and slowly rebuild if they ever want to put the Matt Millen days behind them. Drafting a franchise left tackle instead of a boom or bust QB would be a good place to start.