The draft starts 2 weeks from tonight. We will know in 14 days exactly what will go down in the 1st round. Sam Bradford is likely going to be the 1st overall pick in the draft. The Rams are putting up a smoke screen, but they're going to take him with out a doubt. That's the nice thing about the draft, the 1st pick is always so easy to predict. It's the 255 that follow that are much more tricky to foresee. With that said, lets get to predicting!
1.2 The Detroit Lions aren't just building a new team, they're building an identity. They're not just looking for talent, they're trying to make a statement. The statement they're trying to make is "we mean business", and that starts with Defense. The Lions have to have a hard hitting, fast rushing Defense if they're going to give Matthew Stafford and Megatron a chance to win games. So the first pick of the draft, no matter what happens in free agency (yes including signing Albert Haynesworth) is to draft Ndamukong Suh. The Detroit Defensive front 4 will be utterly intimidating in 2010. It may not happen for a week or two, but Detroit is working towards a fearsome front 4. With Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams and Jason Hunter lined up on the line of scrimmage, opposing quarterbacks will have to check twice to be sure they're actually in Detroit, and yes they will be checking that fact while laying flat on their back on Ford Field turf. If the Lions do have the audacity to add Albert Haynesworth to the line up along side Ndamukong Suh, I can only imagine the issues offensive coordinators would have to figure out trying to deal with not one but two defensive tackles that require a double team. Even with Just Williams, Hill, McBride, Suh, Hunter, Avril and Vanden Bosch, the Lions front 4 are going to be getting pressure in 2010. If they decide to add Haynesworth, the Lions D-Line will begin to verge on seriously scary territory, and us fans like that prospect very much.
2.2 Depending on the Corners available at this point, the Lions have to grab one to add some coverage. The Lions gave up more big plays than any other team in the NFL in 2009 and that is directly resulted from very, very poor corner play. Guys were wide open down field way, way too often. They need fast, physical corners who can cover the best receivers in the NFL, as well as bring heat up to the line of scrimmage on running plays, and they need two of them. The first one should be the "cover corner" the best guy in the draft at Man-To-Man coverage that you can find. Get this type of guy, and stick him on the number one receiver of the opponent, week in, week out. If they sign Adam Pacman Jones, he can be the other corner, but given his time out of the game he wont due as the lock down cover corner on the number one receiver of the opposing team. However, assuming Jones passes his morality test (and gets signed), he should fill in nicely as the #2 corner and in dime and nickel packages. The Lions take one of 3 guys that are available here among; Devin McCourty, Kareem Jackson, or Patrick Robinson. Which ever one of these 3 CB's the Lions rate highest, they should take in the 2nd round if available.
3.2 Even though the Lions have obviously shown an interest to protect Stafford by trading for Rob Sims this week, they're still going to be weak at the Guard spot until they back it up and fill in the right side. Stephen Peterman showed promise until he was injured last year. They can't take a chance at having week interior linemen performances and a revolving door at the Guard position again. They need another solid Guard to cover the right side interior, and the 3rd round of the draft is the perfect place to do it. There are going to be several highly rated Guards available in the 3rd round. These guys are arguably the best of the class, but only 3rd rounders because they're guards and not tackles. We're talking bout John Jerry and John Asamoah, the next two highest rated guards next to Mike Iupati. I honestly don't think there is a 2 round gap between guys like Jerry and Iupati. Iupati may be huge and physical but he's also an admitted holding addicct! I don't know why a team would want a guy that admitted that he basically held on every single play in college. Jerry and Asamoah should both be available in the 3rd round, adding either one would be putting the Lions O-Line into great shape for the 2010 season. In the end I think Iupati would just be a typical Lions lineman, false start one minute, holding the next. So I think it's great the experts have him pegged as the number one guard, leaving the truly better guards left on the board in the 3rd round.
4.2 The running game is something of a problem in Detroit. They know they want to establish the run, but they weren't too impressed with any of the high board talent in 2010. So when they watched a particular running back go unnoticed, The Lions set their sights on the fastest guy nobody payed any attention too in the 2010 draft, Deji Karim. The 5,11 205 lb RB out of Southern Illinois quietly amassed 1694 rushing yards, and a guaudy 7.1 yard average in 2009, and blazed a time of 4.37 at his pro day, which puts him right up there with Best and Spiller for quickness. He's got home run type, big play potential written all over him, yet he's nearly totally ignored because he's a small school prospect. Karim is a fantastic value that the Lions are happy to secure a bit now because they've got no 5th round picks. Since they assess him as a potential game breaking back and they're very happy to have him available in the 4th round. He will see action early in the fall of 2010 with Maurice Morris, Dede Dorsey and Aaron Brown while Kevin Smith gets better from knee surgery.
7.4 Bryan Anderson WR, CMU..At 6-5, and 215 lbs. He's a big target. Who ever said a slot guy had to be short? Line this guy up in the slot and he's a huge target with good hands and decent speed. Sure he's not going to torch a defense for 50 yards up the middle, but he could be a good slot guy with his size. His big knock is that he can't get separation in the NFL. But at 6',5", all you need to do to get separation is jump. With targets like Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron), it will be natural instinct to throw a jump ball just looking at the 6',5" Andrerson in the middle of the field. He's no slouch receiver either 64 catches last year for 784 yards and 5 TD's for the Chippewas in 2009, all though Antonio Brown caught most of the attention at CMU. Brown isn't built big enough to be a big time NFL receiver though, Anderson is. I say his size and resume merit giving him a 7th round shot at being in the rotation at WR in Detroit.
7.5 Kyle McCarthy, S, Notre Dame, was a team captain for the Fighting Irish. He's got loads of experience on the playing field. He had 101 tackles, 5 passes intercepted, and 4 pass deflections during his senior campaign. He's got the work ethic and attitude to succeed and could help the Lions add a physical safety next to Delmas that could start from day one. His stock dropped because of a 4.63 combine 40 time. But he ran a 4.53 at his pro day, so he has settled some fears of a lack of closing speed for me to give him the nod here in the 7th.
7.32 Brett Swenson, Kicker, MSU. Lets face it, Jason Hanson isn't getting any younger. And Swenson is about as good as any of the kickers in this draft class. He may not have a 60 yard leg, but he's great inside of 45 yards and that's a good start as a back up for the aging Jason Hanson. If not Swenson, any good kicker will do. Most of them don't get drafted anyway.