The Detroit Lions made a smart, sensible choice in the third round, grabbing offensive guard Larry Warford from Kentucky. Now that Martin Mayhew has addressed the secondary and the offensive line, maybe fans will give him a break.
Yea, I didn't believe it either.
Anyways, this was a rock-solid pick that could help set the foundation for a perennial contender. Everyone talks about how Matthew Stafford needs to be kept upright. As you'll see below, this pick takes an affirmative step in that direction.
Warford will be the starter by the opener against the Minnesota Vikings, beginning a feud with Sharrif Floyd that could last a decade. That's how good this kid is.
He will step into the "hole" exposed after the "loss" of Stephen Peterman. I know Peterman had a better year in 2012 than I would have you believe, but the truth is that he was just average.
Warford isn't average. The big 332-pounder is a road-paving type of guard that can move his guy to the next level once he's engaged and gotten rolling. Plus, his feet are nimble enough that he'll be used to block for Reggie Bush on screen passes. If that doesn't get Lions fans drooling, I can't help you.
As a guard, he won't have to worry about someone exploiting his lack of speed. His girth and okay quickness will allow him to absorb any bull-rush attempts, meaning he will be a dependable pass blocker as well.
Basically, you're looking at Detroit's starting guard for next year and beyond. That's his role.
The positive effects that will be felt by the Lions could be tremendous. I know that Warford is "just a guard," but he will have a noticeable impact to the trained eye.
First, he keeps last year's first-rounder, Riley Reiff, at tackle, so the Lions only need to find one more starter if Jason Fox isn't ready to go.
Next, Warford's presence is going to improve Detroit's mediocre rushing attack. The Lions averaged a ho-hum 4.1 yards per carry in 2012. With Warford leading the way, Mikel Leshoure, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell will be able to clearly get to the second level more often.
Lastly, the passing game will be helped out on the screen, as described above, and by his ability to keep the pocket from collapsing. Plus, as the rushing game improves, opposing defensive lines won't be able to just blindly fire off the line and Stafford will be able to bust out the play-action pass.
If you can't tell, I like this pick. And so should you.