Detriot Lions Awake from Their Slumber

Stephfon SmithContributor IMay 7, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 16:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 16, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

There is some light at the end of the tunnel for Lions fans.

Now, I know everyone is saying the same things. Every year around draft time, it's a holiday season (Super Bowl Sunday) for us blue collar Lions fans.

We anticipate the biggest name in the draft year after year. We conjure up the moment of competing with the very best in the fall.

What's so different about this year? Well, this year, the folks at Ford (thanks, Bill Jr.) finally let the front office be logical. They started making dramatic changes. Led by Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew, they started the year off with the signing of Jim Schwartz as the head chief.

The Lions also upgraded their logo and uniforms to a more malicious image instead of one with a curled tail.

The draft finally made sense, for once. The Lions not only got the best quarterback in the draft, Matthew Stafford, but they also plugged talent for players who can contribute immediately.

Brandon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas are sure starters. Delmas will provide proof to folks that he was a worthy pick. Pettigrew will prove to be a useful weapon and distraction for Calvin Johnson's double coverage. Pettigrew's big mass will also add to help the offensive line and provide gaps for Kevin Smith, the most underrated running back in the NFL.

I know—the feeling was grueling after they passed on Rey Maualuga at the Draft Day party, but the Lions made up for it.

The Lions not only won in the draft, but they have quietly made some strides through free agencies. They picked up Grady Jackson, who may be at the latter part of his career. Still, he will plug the hole that was left when Big Baby bolted across Lake Erie.

The signing of Jackson will provide progression for Andre Fluellen. The Lions also got a few veteran players for the offensive line in signing Daniel Loper and Toniu Fonoti.

Another big upgrade on defense was at the linebacker position. The Lions got a proven pro bowler, Julian Peterson, in a trade for Cory Redding. Also, they signed Larry Foote, which is, to me, a steal. Foote will fill in the middle linebacker position until DeAndre Levy, third rounder in this years draft, can exhibit some skill at the position.

Now, Lions have one of the best linebacking corps in the league with Peterson, Foote, and Ernie Sims.

The Lions have added some decent pass coverage in the acquisitions of Eric King, Phillip Buchanon, and Anthony Henry. And don't forget: you still have Daniel Bullocks and Louis Delmas providing run and pass cover skills at the safety positions, as well as Mark Carrier and John Lynch type aggression.

Lions may not have any Monday nights, but that's okay. We still have our turkey day.

Notice that I haven't talked much about Stafford. Being a Lions fan, the best thing I can do is embrace and love Stafford for his ability, and what he can provide in the near future.

We hope that he is not another jinxed first round quarterback, a bust.

Maybe Bobby Layne will finally restore the Lions as a Super Bowl team.

The Lions will probably win the NFC North.