The 2008 NFL Draft first day is finally over, and the Detroit Lions (according to the ESPN forums) picked up two absolute failures. I have a different opinion.
First, let's look at the big man at No. 18, RT Gosder Cherilus (6-foot-6, 319 pounds).
This guy is an exact prototype of a Rod Marinelli football player. He is strong, intelligent, and has a great deal of passion for the game.
After listening to his interview after he had been drafted, reading countless forum posts on ESPN.com, and reading detroitlions.com postings, I am positive that this was the best pick to help our team, but many Lions "fans" disagree.
Many called Cherilus a "reach." This guy was on many mock drafts as being a first round pick, and the senior analyst for NFL.com, Pat Kirwan, had this to say about Gosder (predicting he would go to Pittsburgh at 23):
"Cherilus plays the game the way the Steelers like to play football. He isn't perfect, but he plays physical and to the whistle. He wins the right tackle spot in camp and never looks back for the next 10 years."
According to this expert, Cherilus is a definite starter at right tackle for the next 10 years, and I think we Lions fans will come to love him in the years to come.
But of course, everyone who claims to be "life-long Lions fans" on draft forums are in an uproar because either:
1. We didn't trade down and get another pick as well as Cherilus, or
2. We didn't take another big-name highly-rated player by Mel Kiper like Reshard Mendenhall.
Look, I thought for sure we were going for Mendenhall with our pick, but instead we have taken a step forward in building this team: the offensive line.
This guy is a warrior with all the characteristics Marinelli is looking for. He will prove his worth in the years to come.
For those of you who wanted Mendenhall, don't you think it's a little strange how he fell while other running backs like Felix Jones and Jonathan Stewart were picked?
Their must be something the NFL coaches and owners saw that the great Mel Kiper doesn't see about this kid. Remember, Mel Kiper had Mike Williams rated No. 1 overall when we took him.
Mendenhall obviously wasn't the best pick on the board at No. 18, and must not have been what Rod wanted in a running back.
Also, in a side note for Todd McShay (ESPN) and Jeremy Green (Scouts Inc.) announcing that Cherilus is a huge reach; why don't you go back and look over all your mock drafts and wonder how you both still have the greatest jobs on the planet.
Watch the video link below, where Green states, "He's a right tackle, not a left tackle, etc."
Of course he isn't a left tackle; he was originally a right tackle. That's why we drafted him: because he was an amazing run blocker in his previous years as a right tackle.
He was moved in his senior year to left tackle to fill a position, where his stock dropped as he struggled with his new assignment.
This guy is a beast, and was not a reach at right tackle.
Now for the second man of the day, LB Jordon Dizon (6-foot, 229 pounds).
Unfortunately, I had never even heard of this guy before his named was announced. I thought that Dan Connor from Penn State would be the best fix at linebacker, but I was wrong.
Dizon has a way better resume for our Tampa-2 defense. I'm not sure how this guy slipped through my radar, but he is definitely worthy of a second-round pick; but again, not according to most Lions fans.
They all say that Dizon is too small, weak, and slow even to play on special teams. I'm pretty sure that's what most people said about Pro Bowl linebackers Ray Lewis and Derrick Brooks.
If anything, size isn't much of a factor with Dizon. Again, he is a solid Marinelli-type player, praised for his on-the-field motor and passion for football.
On the field, Dizon recorded an astounding 463 tackles in his career, which is the eighth best total in NCAA history. At the combine, he put up a decent 40 time, (I believe it was in the 4.5 range). So much for being "slow." Also at the combine, he put up 21 reps (at his Pro Day he put up only 12, but he said he wasn't really trying to put up huge numbers and cause injury). So much for being "weak."
Dizon has also been in a Tampa-2 style defense for the past four years, and has been running the defense at the middle linebacker position for the past three.
He is a perfect fit in our needs as a team, and he will surprise many scouting "experts" when he performs with as much intensity in the NFL as he did at Colorado.
Overall, these first two rounds have been better than previous drafts, picking up two starters with Marinelli's football character.
Although the Lions' "faithful" think that this draft is yet another Millen flop, I believe that these two guys will prove many people wrong this season. I'm just sick and tired of the constant bickering over who we should have picked.
Everyone (including myself) reads all these mock drafts, and thinks that whenever a team takes someone who isn't a huge name they are making a reach.
A reach only exists when people such as McShay and Kiper post their opinions about which college players are the best.
Remember, every team has scouts and coaches that all have different opinions on what each individual team needs, and they know a lot more about their team needs and draft picks than some ESPN analyst.
Have fun watching Day Two, and my guess is that we will take a running back and a defensive tackle with our two third-round picks.