Detroit Lions: Right Players, Wrong Timing

Chris StewardContributor INovember 7, 2009

DETROIT , MI - NOVEMBER 01: Kevin Smith #34 of the Detroit Lions gets around Paris Lenon #53 of the St. Louis Rams on November 1, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Oh, what it's like to be a Lions fan.

What a maddening thing when you live in a world of high draft picks and low scores.  When management consistently misses on can't-miss prospects and possible late-round gems turn out to be polished coal.

One gambling man would figure with just the numbers and law of averages, this team would strike gold at some point.

We did.  Too bad it was almost 20 years ago, and even then we couldn't get the return on investment that was expected. 

Finally, after eight years of trying make sugar from well, you know, we are finally back to where we began at the turn of the century: rebuilding once again.

But we all know that.  So let's have some fun with it.

Let's say for example, we take the current coaching staff and plug in former players either drafted or signed during the last 10 years. 

We will not include everyone, but some players who were expected to make comet-size impacts which sounded more like bubble wrap. 

For the sake of time restraints and too much required research, we will leave out special teams except for kickers, punters and returners.

Let's start with the money makers, the offense. 

At quarterback, I would have to start with Stafford.  He has played as well as any quarterback we have had under the Millen era.

Sure, Kitna was a good leader and had good stats.  He even led the team to a 7-9 record in 2007 (nevermind the 6-2 start). 

But the numbers, as good as they were, had more to do with sheer numbers. The Mike Martz-led offense threw what seemed like 75 percent of the time.  That is why Stafford gets the nod.

At running back, I would go with a two-back system.  Unfortunately, I only have two real options here: Kevin Smith and Kevin Jones.

The funny thing is this they are pretty much the same back.  But K. Jones ran for over 1,000 yards his rookie year while K. Smith got pretty close as a part-time starter. 

No other back this decade even came close.  Aw, hell, I don't even remember another back.  Sadness.

Next, is the one unit where minimal changes would be made.  I would gladly like to see the 2007 receiving corps on the 2009 roster.  I can see Stafford developing nicely with Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey as his targets. 

I understand people have their issues with Williams but he is a threat a defense couldn't overlook, especially opposite Calvin Johnson. 

No defense in football would stack the box with those two lined-up with Stafford's cannon.  The running game, slot receiver, and tight ends would have career numbers.

The offensive line has been pretty consistent.  No matter who lines up, the results always seem to be the same, so I will leave them to your imagination.  Lets move to the defense.

The linebacking group would remain the same as the 2009 group because they have to be the most impressive has any group this decade.  But the secondary would have a couple players recently release manning the corner spots. 

I would not complain with Dre Bly and Leigh Bodden in Gunther Cunningham's scheme.  Backing those two up at safety would be Louis Delmas and former second-round pick Gerald Alexander, who was also recently shipped out. 

All those players made plays, but with the exception of Delmas, were stuck in Marinelli's Cover Two system.

On the defensive line, the first thing I would do is bring back Shaun Rogers.  He was another player drafted for the wrong reasons.  The team wanted a small quick front but drafted a 330-plus pound space eater. 

The perfect player under current head coach Jim Schwartz, who takes size over speed. 

Coach Schwartz already mentioned earlier the team is trying to get two huge tackles to anchor the line and they aren't quite there yet. 

With Big Baby back back in the middle lined up with fourth round pick Sammie Hill, you're looking at one-on-one blocking for every one on the line or one less option in the passing game because either the tight end or back would have to help block. 

The defensive ends have been pretty unproductive this decade so this year's version would have to do; preferably DeWayne White and Cliff Avril, at least until Jason Hunter returns.  He was pretty impressive before going out with an injury. 

Jason Hanson is the kicker, enough said.  Even if was not the only kicker for the last 19 years, but his performance would give him the nod anyway. 

The same can be said about Nick Harris.  The only problem is they practice their craft way too often.  I wish Nick Harris was used as often as the Statue of Liberty play, but what can you do?

The one bright spot on the Lions team has always been kick and punt returns until the last 2-3 years.  If I could bring anyone back, it would be Eddie Drummond.  For along time, he was the Lions' offense and was another good player on a bad team.