At first glance, the Lions' portion of the three-way deal that included Philadelphia and Denver just days before the 2010 NFL draft may cause panic in the armchair GM world of Detroit fans.
However, after the dust has somewhat settled, this trade has more significant implications than originally thought.
Ernie Sims was one of Matt Millen’s best picks. But considering his track record of draft-day follies, that doesn’t mean much. I will go on record stating Sims was one of my favorite Lions; with his aggressive style of play and affinity for pythons, boa constrictors, iguanas, tarantulas, poisonous frogs and 10, yes 10, dogs he calls pets.
A closer look reveals a passionate football player who couldn’t stay healthy and despite his impressive speed, a player that became expendable with the emergence of DeAndre Levy.
It’s what Detroit received in return that means one of two things: Brandon Pettigrew’s injury isn’t healing as quickly as hoped, or Scott Linehan plans on using a combination of Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Pettigrew, and the main part in this trade, Tony Scheffler, to spread the field.
At 6'5" and 255 lbs, this hard working Michigan native is
thrilled to be coming home.
With the additions of Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE), Corey Williams (DT), Chris Houston (CB) and Ryan Sims (G), Detroit has definitely gained more than they lost this off season.
However, the real key to their draft depends on how well they do with their second and third-round selections. As it stands, Martin Mayhew has one pick in each of the first four rounds and four seventh-round picks.
Collectively, Mayhew and Co. might consider these as collateral for a possible deal or two.
While the linebacker position wasn’t a glaring need before this, it’s now obvious the Lions will strongly consider one in the second, third, or fourth round. As it stands, Levy will handle the middle and four-time Pro Bowler Julian Peterson will man one of the outside positions.
I’d be surprised if Mayhew and Jim Schwartz feel their opening day starter to replace Sims is on the current roster. Crowd favorite and human cannonball, Zack Follett, and Jordon Dizon play with intensity and reckless abandon but neither has the speed or athleticism to flourish in Schwartz’s defense, yet. But both players can develop into solid backups, at the least.
About one month before the 2010 draft, Mayhew quietly signed former Purdue Boilermakers standout and steady performer for Cincinnati and Carolina (to a lesser extent), Landon Johnson.
Johnson, 29, had back to back seasons of 112 and 109 tackles in ’06 and ’07—good for third and fourth-best overall among AFC outside linebackers, respectively. Pretty impressive considering one of those years only Pro-Bowl stars Keith Bulluck and Cato June finished higher.
So, how does all this influence draft plans as they finalize their board? Defensive and offensive tackle, running back, and now outside linebacker are their biggest needs.
While trading down is still a possibility, here is an updated Detroit Lions 2010 mock draft.