So the NFL Draft is over, and the Detroit Lions look to have had another good draft.
Seems like Mr. Mayhew is making a name for himself. Trading Roy Williams for a first, third, sixth, and seventh round pick, then having what looks to be a great 2009 draft, to signing impact players in free agency, to finally having another seemingly good draft in 2010. Lions fans can only hope that the players taken in this years draft, can make as big of an impact as last years.
So now with the grades. For my draft grades I will take into account: Player overall talent, where the player was picked, and my opinion on how well of a player he will be in the NFL.
First Round Selection:
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The Lions biggest weakness last season, was defense. Just watch the Cleveland Browns tape from last season. More so than just defense was defensive back, but there was no one who was worth the number two pick, thus moving to the next most needed position, defensive tackle.
With the additions of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle/end Corey Williams, the Lions had already brought in a better defensive line. Yet, even those two players would only make the Lions line better, but not great.
With the addition of Suh, Detroit's line goes from average to above average. Suh is the type of player you can build a defense around, so there was no way Detroit was going to trade this pick. If that were to have happened, the other team would have had to sell the farm.
Its hard to write down many bad things about the pick. But there are two things that can be said here.
1.) Previous knee injuries. Even though every doctor says that the knees are just fine, it still makes you worry a bit. For a big guy like Suh, who puts a lot of weight on those knees, another knee injury might be the only thing that can stop him.
2.) Detroit could have traded down to get more picks. Not that im saying that it would have been better to trade down, and draft more players, but for a team like Detroit, it would not have hurt. On a personal note, im glad Detroit stuck with the pick, I'll be very interested to see how he and that new and improved Detroit line does in the 2010 season.
His impact With The Lions
With the addition of Suh, look for two things, that I'm sure will happen.
1.) Detroit's ends get to the quarterback more. The biggest job for a DT is not to get to the quarterback, its to stuff the middle, stop the run, and open up lanes for your ends to sack the QB. Just look at the numbers of Kyle Vanden Bosch in his last two healthy seasons with the Tennessee Titans. In 2007 next to the best defensive tackle in the NFL, Albert Haynesworth, Vanden Bosch had 60 tackles and 12 sacks. In 2009 with out Haynesworth, 45 tackles and only three sacks. So with that said, expect Detroit to get more sacks in 2010
2.) Detroit's coverage gets better. Just imagine how much better the Lions corners from last year would have looked if the quarterbacks only had three seconds instead of five seconds to throw the ball. With more pressure being put on the QB, that means you should see more hurried passes, thus more interceptions, and less 400 yard plus games by opposing quarterbacks.
Second Round Selection
Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
The Lions now have a one-two punch. Kevin Smith who is currently in rehab from a torn ACL which is apparently going well said "I can do almost everything except run" from his blog on smith34.com. With a whole summer ahead of him to get the knee right, he should be back in action come the season opener.
With that said, Jahvid Best is a lighting bolt. Running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the combine, has the ability to find the open field and make big plays for Detroit. As I mentioned in previous pieces, the reason I always believed Detroit was going to draft Best wasn't just for his running ability.
The guy can catch the football. Imagine how the offense is going to look when safeties and linebackers have to play closer when Best is on the field. Opposing defensive coordinators have to respect his speed, if they do not, they will learn real quick when Best finds the end zone. The Lions can also move him to the slot, and have a dynamic threat at receiver. He alone should soften the opposing defensive backs and allow Detroit's wide-outs and tight ends to get open.
I believe Detroit will use Best a lot like how New Orleans uses Reggie Bush. Around 10 carries, and plenty of opportunity's to catch the ball. There is also a possibility that Detroit uses him as a punt and kick returner if they can not find someone else.
Injury's. Plain and simple. Concussions are a tricky thing to get rid of. Once you get one mild-major concussion, they come back easier and easier. Not to mention that NFL linebackers are unforgiving hitters.
The second thing that worries me a little is the bust factor with smaller speedy backs. Although I think pick value wise, late first round is great, unlike Reggie Bush, who was drafted second overall, who's impact was supposed to be more, considering pick value.
His Impact With The Lions
Don't expect the next coming of Barry Sanders. Like I said before, his biggest impact will be in the receiving game. A guy like Best brings respect to opposing defenses, and should free up receivers. My preseason projected stat line looks like this:
115 carries, 500 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns
55 receptions, 425 yards receiving, 4 touchdowns
Not bad considering he is not going to be the number one running back. But the numbers that you don't see and there is no stat for, is the number of catches other receivers get, considering the respect value.
Third Round Selection
Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa
He fills in a major hole in Detroit's defensive back field. But what I love most about this pick is that I never expected Spievey to be around come the third round. After watching this guy for a couple of years, I can tell you what you already know, he's physical, and can tackle, something you don't see much out of cornerbacks anymore in the NFL.
He also brings in size, coming in at 5'11" 195lbs, he fits Jim Schwartz's mold of what he wants at the cornerback position. He can also cover as well as anyone in the draft. To be honest, I expected him to go mid-second round, so in my mind Detroit got a steal here.
The only major thing that sticks out to me is his speed. More so quickness, and his hips. In college, he said he only got beat once, and that was his fault not the wide receivers ability. Well this is the NFL, a whole different game. The Big Ten is more of a running conference than a passing conference, he didn't go up against the top receivers in college. But for the pick value, and some hard work, this is something that can be taught.
His Impact With The Lions
He fills a major need at corner, Detroit's thinnest position. Should fill in nicely and compete for a starting job. He is a great run stopping corner who will play great in the flats. If he can fix his problem with route progressions, he should be a corner in this league for a long time.
Fourth Round Selection
Jason Fox, OT, Miami
Gives Detroit depth at the tackle position and can possibly be the future left tackle for the Lions in 2011. He also started all four years at the University of Miami, showing he can play through pain, and is consistent.
Three things come to mind here.
1.) Knee injury his senior year.
2.) Does not always finish his blocks.
3.) Lacks having a mean on the field attitude.
His Impact With The Lions
Unless a starter this year gets injured, you won't see much of Fox this season. He was drafted as a project player. But he does give Detroit depth this season. His biggest impact will be on years to come, which I find is a smart thing to do. Let Fox learn the playbook, hit the weights, and learn how to be and NFL tackle, and you could very well see him as the long term future left tackle for Detroit.