Inspired by a recent article, we should take a look at the 2008 NFL Draft for our Lions and give many thanks to the Draft Gods that it was the last blessing of Matt Millen's legacy. Unfortunately, it was a legacy that we will are still burning from. Let’s take a look back at the 2008 NFL Draft... thanks Matt!
2008 1 st Rd Pick #1.17 (RT Godser Cherilus, Boston College)
Cherilus was selected with the 17 th overall pick in the 1 st Round in 2008. Detroit based the pick on his four-year tenure at Boston College. More importantly, QB Matt Ryan noted to scouts that his success was largely contributed by the offensive line that was anchored by Cherilus.
Cherilus was touted for his massive size (6’7” – 319lbs), awareness and excellent footwork. He was scouted as the No. 3 overall linemen behind Jake Long and Ryan Clady. Since entering the league, he has allowed 15.5 sacks and is constantly looking lost during games.
It is fair to say that if you are an offensive linemen in the NFL, you have three years to perform above your peers or watch the games from the sidelines or at home on Sundays. Cherilus, although battling injuries (and recent knee-surgery) last year and currently missing OTAs, his NFL-clock is slowly ticking and on its last tock.
What’s even worse is that old man Jon Jansen is being asked to hold off retirement in order mold the young lineman, and possibly play for him if he can’t hold his starting position.
“What If…” Note the following players were passed by Detroit before 2008 Round 2 came along: OT Jeff Otah, RB Rashard Mendenhall, RB Chris Johnson, RB Matt Forte, RB Ray Rice
Grade RE-DO: (C-) Only because he has maintained his position at RT since taking it over his rookie year.
2008 2 nd Rd Pick #2.14 (OLB Jordan Dizon, Colorado)
With the 45 th overall pick, Detroit selected Dizon after receiving many accolades for Colorado U. He was considered not only a safe bet, but possibly a steal after coming out of college with some impressive stats (48 Games, 440 Tackles and 12 Sacks).
His work ethic has never been a question, but finishing with only 57 Tackles and 1 Sack since being drafted doesn’t even compare to the average NFL linebacker (ILB or OLB). It’s safe to say that their intent did meet their goal. To date, he is a backup MLB to 2009 3 rd Rd pick MLB DeAndre Levy. Go figure Matt Millen!
“What if…” There was no pressing need for a MLB at the time, but notable players that Detroit passed on were LB Geno Hayes, RB Ray Rice, DE Calais Campbell
Grade RE-DO: (D) Geno Hayes is by far better than Dizon and many others for that matter. Passing on Rice once again and still in dire need of a RB at this point still amazes me. A Detroit Lion drafted in 2008 should be a starter by now! Again, thanks Matt Millen!
2008 3 rd Rd Pick #3.1 (RB Kevin Smith, Central Florida)
With the 64 th overall pick (from Miami) Detroit selected a RB to offset, as well as push, RB Tatum Bell. Intent and upside was above the ceiling as Smith was drafted after leading the nation in rushing yards.
By doing so, he reminded Lions fans of Barry Sanders. Unfortunately, the only similarities in the two are that they both led the nation in rushing before being drafted. That is it!
It’s safe to say that Smith has done nothing well outside of being a stable running back that “didn’t do that bad.” At this point the only relief of the draft was - after watching Detroit draft WR’s like we breathe oxygen the previous years – the Lions drafted someone that could benefit the team immediately. What were we thinking?
“What If…” Other running backs that might have been a better fit, and of course Detroit passed them by: RB Steve Slaton, RB Jamaal Charles, RB Tim Hightower
Grade RE-DO (C) We have to give the guy a satisfactory grade at best.
2008 3 rd Rd Pick #3.24 (DE Andre Fluellen, Florida State)
2008 3 rd Rd Pick #3.29 (OLB Cliff Avril, Purdue)
2008 5 th Rd Pick #5.1 (WR Kenneth Moore, Wake Forest)
2008 5 th Rd Pick #5.11 (FB Jerome Felton, Furman)
2008 7 th Rd Pick #7.11 (S Caleb Campbell, Army)
As you can see, the rest of the 2008 Draft Report isn’t even worth mentioning outside of 5 th Round pick FB Jerome Felton being a solid team contributor and starter for the Lions.
OVERALL DRAFT GRADE RE-DO: D (sigh)
Let's give many many thanks that we have the Mayhew/Schwartz team now.