I have to admit, this move has me questioning what is going on down in Allen Park these days. Ernie Sims is apparently part of a 3 way deal that will send him to the Eagles. The Eagles will send a 5th round pick to the Broncos, and the Broncos will send the Lions Tony Scheffler and yes, another 7th round draft pick. Presumably the Broncos own pick in the round, I don't have the information yet. Scheffler was a 2nd round draft pick in 2006 (also Michigan Native from Morenci, MI who played TE at Western Michigan), about 52 selections after Ernie Sims who was taken 9th overall by the Lions in that year.
It's kind of an interesting side note, if you click on Ernie's name above, you can see his wikipedia page has all lists him as an Eagle. It's kind of sad to me actually. I almost feel like I found out my girlfriend dumped me by her changed her facebook.com status to single. But I guess that may be just because it's really hard to watch talent leave Detroit, especially on the Defensive side of the ball. I think we can all agree that even though Ernie Sims was injured and didn't excel last year in Guenther Cunningham's new defense, nobody was exactly calling for his head on a platter, because he did a good job when he was in, typically.
I always felt bad for Ernie Sims because during the end of the Matt Millen era when everyone kept saying the only person Millen even drafted who still played in Detroit was Calvin Johnson! Even though that was completely not true, Millen draft picks are still all over the roster, including Sims. It especially bothered me because Sims was basically the only bright spot on an otherwise horrid defense. However last year Sims was outshone by the rookie Andre Levy and two veteran free agents in Julian Peterson and Larry Foote.
The fact of the matter is, Ernie Sims really does not fit the mold of the player that Guenther Cunningham and Jim Schwartz are looking to play. So even though he's a former 1st round, top 10 draft pick, he just doesn't fit as well with the plans of the new Detroit Lions defense. He's talented, but Sim's is quite frankly small for an outside linebacker at only 6 feet tall. Peterson is 6,3, and the newly acquired Landon Johnson is 6,2, so by comparison Sim's is shorter, and we all know Cunningham wants bigger guys on defense. He was also injured frequently for the first time last year in his 4 year career. That on top of his struggles in the new scheme last year may have caused Sim's demise as a Lion.
What does this trade say about the Lions? It could say that the Lions aren't happy with the progress of Brandon Pettigrew in his injury rehab. It does kind of make me scratch my head why they would give up Sims, on a defense as bad as Detroit's, for a TE. Obviously they could very well have some concerns with his injury rehab progress. It could also say that they're not happy with Sims performance last year, and that he cemented his own fate by failing to succeed in the new defensive scheme Cunningham used last season. Further still, it could just mean that they plan to use TE's often in the offensive plan and with the announcement of Casey FitzSimmons this past week, they decided they had to add more depth at TE. On a side note, I'd like to thank Casey for years several of commitment and play as a Lion. There were more than a few times I was happy he was a Lion over the years.
What else does this trade mean for Detroit? It also means the Lions now have a total of 4, 7th round draft picks. I'm crossing my fingers, praying that the Lions are doing some serious due diligence on these late round picks now. It's going to be very hard to predict, but it also will be very interesting this year to see how well the Detroit Lions staff is at selecting draft candidates, especially in later rounds. Last year we got Guys like Zack_Follett and Dan Gronkowski. Neither of these guys made the team right away, but Follett made it onto the team by the half way point to bring some heat on kickoff coverage teams. He did an excellent job with that too. But where are the real steels in this draft? Where are the impact players? To give you some examples with their late round pick locations from the past 20 years.
C Tom Nalen (1994, pick 218),RB Jamal Anderson (1994, pick 201), WR Donald Driver (1999, pick 213), DT Jason Ferguson (1997, pick 229), TE/LS Brian Jennings (2000, pick 230), WR TJ Houshmandzadeh (2001, pick 204), DT Raheem Brock (2002, pick 238),WR Patrick Crayton (2004, pick 216), RB Derrick Ward (2004, pick 235), CB Reynaldo Hill (2005, pick 218), CB Cortland Finnegan (2006, pick 215), WR Marques Colston (2006, pick 252), RB Deshawn Wynn (2007, pick 228)
If the Lions can find a way to pick a true impact player out of these 4 picks, they're doing a great job. If they actually got 2 starters I think that would set a new standard of excellence in scouting and selection. At least a new Standard in Detroit! What would you bet? How many starters do you think the Lions will get in the 2010 Draft? How many do you think they'll get in the 7th round?