With the First Pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions Select...
I've been told on many occasions that I'm "too optimistic." I don't think there is such a thing. After an 0-16 season, I could see the Lions making the playoffs. Not likely, of course, but with the right coaching anything could happen. I believe in Jim Schwartz.
I see no problem with Detroit drafting a quarterback in this draft, but I don't want to see it in the first round. Although Matthew Stafford can be a great QB, I haven't entirely given up on Daunte Culpepper. Something I'm in the minority on.
If the Lions can't manage to trade out of the first pick—which is most likely impossible—I would prefer to see them draft Eugene Monroe. I firmly believe in building your team in the trenches. No matter how great a quarterback you are, without offensive lineman to block for you, you're never going to succeed.
Drafting Monroe would benefit the Lions in two ways. They would have a starter at left tackle from day one, and an instant upgrade at left guard. That makes Daunte Culpepper a better QB, and Kevin Smith a much better runner.
Although I think B.J. Raji is a great defensive tackle, I don't think his warrants being taken first overall. Even if Detroit did draft him and he didn't perform like a No. 1 pick, he would be an upgrade over everyone on the Lions current defensive line. Both the linebackers and secondary could use the help.
Widely called the most sure pick in the draft, Aaron Curry would be a great fit for the Lions. But being a great fit doesn't entirely mean he's worthy of being No. 1 overall. If the Lions truly believe that Curry can play middle linebacker, then he would be worth the draft pick. I see Curry starting his career more as a strong-side linebacker though.
I wouldn't have a problem with the Lions drafting Jason Smith, the left tackle from Baylor University. Smith will be a great player in the NFL, but I think that Monroe is a little more NFL-ready due to the college system he played in. Smith looked better at the combine, so he gets more hype.
Stafford could end up being the best quarterback to ever enter the league, but who knows? I believe that in the long run, he would be the smartest pick. I tend to like winning right now, and I see no way Stafford beats out Culpepper as a rookie.
After drafting a quarterback first overall, there's no way Stafford starts a second season on the bench, whether he's the best quarterback or not.
The Lions could do many other things in the draft as well and I would love to see them draft a wide receiver at No. 20. I wouldn't mind seeing them let the clock expire on their pick, but that would cause a media frenzy and will probably never happen.
I'll be killed for saying this, but I wouldn't mind if the Lions drafted Michael Crabtree. Drafting Crabtree is only an option if they were able to trade down and get another pick or two.
One way or another, I believe the Lions are on the right path. I feel that they are two years at most from being a playoff team. I'll support the decisions of the Lions front office in this draft, no matter what.
Just not entirely sure I'll agree with them.
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