2010 Detroit Lions Sophomore Leadership on Display: Louis Delmas

John Farrier@GriffWings UnitedCorrespondent IJune 24, 2010

If you’ve been a Detroit Lions fan for any length of time or have had occasion to visit the madhouse over at the Lions page on mlive.com, one thing rings true: The Detroit Lions are always on the clock.


The early mantra coming out of Allen Park after the departure of Matt Millen and Rod Marinelli was that when it came to the draft, the Lions philosophy would be simple: they couldn’t afford to pass on talent.


Throughout the buildup to the 2009 NFL Draft, neither Martin Mayhew nor Jim Schwartz would allow the media to “pin them down” in terms of how they planned to stack and attack their draft board.  It was “talent” that was necessary, position played immaterial.  When your team is coming off a winless season, it’s pretty obvious that the “talent” on that roster isn’t likely to be there much longer.


And so swings the axe.  One of Coach Schwartz’ favorite metal bands is Judas Priest, and if it wasn’t Rob Halford singing it, you can bet Baltimore Jimmy had it going in his head, “Some heads are gonna roll.”


Each of us stacks his draft board in his own way based on the information at hand, perception, and gut feeling.  The draft rating and selection process leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft would be no different, and the strange phenomenon of watching players “slide” down the draft board while other players receive the benefit of a team “reaching” for their services.  I think two of the best cases of that during the 2009 selection process was watching Duke Robinson slip to the bottom of the 5th Round and seeing DeAndre Levy grabbed up with the 76th overall selection in the mid-3rd Round.  I had Duke gone by the end of the 3rd Round and Levy pegged for the late-6th Round.


Wrong again.


When I set my personal draft board, I find “my guys” and track them like a hawk.  For reasons known best to myself, if I don’t think I would take them, or if I don’t think the team will take them, or if I think the player won’t be on the board when the Lions pick, I don’t actively track them.


Such was the case for me with Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, and Louis Delmas.  Tom “Killer” Kowalski, mlive.com Lions Insider, pretty much called most of the Lions 2009 draft selections with his preview articles leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft.


I didn’t even get one of “my guys” in the 2009 draft until Mayhew used the 115th pick overall (4th Round pick acquired from Jets in trade-down atop 3rd Round, netting Levy and Hill to Detroit) to select the big guy from Stillman College:  Sammie Lee Hill.  Finally, I could rejoice!!!


When the Detroit Lions selected Louis Delmas atop the 2nd Round of the 2009 NFL Draft, I have to admit I wasn’t very excited.  I wanted Boston College DT Ron Brace with that pick, as his teammate B.J. Raji went to division rival Green Bay, and the Lions were thin on the defensive line.  Coincidentally, it was revealed after the draft that Bill Belichick would have drafted Delmas had he still been on the board when next the Patriots picked.


But the Lions were not in a position to pass on talent.  Good thing.


Western Michigan Broncos football head coach Bill Cubit raved about Louis Delmas and touted him as having a great skill set to project to the National Football League.  I was skeptical, because although his coach believed he could make a smooth transition from the Mid American Conference to the NFL, I was leery of the “hometown talent” prospective bust factor.  All too often it seems like the Lions take a player from an in-state college and all of a sudden, they’re not as good as they were billed to be (Charles Rogers and Drew Stanton immediately come to mind, but what’s new).  I have bias, yes.  At least I have identified it and can admit it!


The deeper one dares to dive into the past of Louis Delmas and the path he has taken in life, the easier it is to peel the scales from our eyes and see the unfolding of a wonderful success story.


Louis Delmas draft profile on NFLDraftScout:




Despite the Lions recent 2nd Round safety selections, they went ahead and selected at the safety position again, selecting the player Jim Schwartz referred to as a “guided missile”:  Louis Delmas.


You know how some guys have “track speed” and some players have “football speed”?  I think Delmas can run that 4.52 40-yard with the pads on – his “football speed” is excellent.  His highlights from the 2009 season show it as well.  They also show a rookie learning the game.  I’ll never forget him swatting the ball out of Jeremy Shockey’s hand after Shockey scored a touchdown in the opener at the Super Dome.  I thought it was kind of a punkish thing to do at the time, but it was merely the outward expression of his inner frustration.  From that perspective, I understood completely.


With Louis’ wonderlic score and bench press repetitions of 225 pounds being equal at 12, I couldn’t imagine him being smart enough to immediately digest an NFL defensive playbook, and I didn’t think he possessed the upper body strength requisite to be effective at the NFL level.


And I was wrong again.  Thank goodness.


Who was the first rookie defender to have learned Gunther Cunningham’s playbook?  Louis Delmas.  He also appears to have “field strength” to go with his field speed.


I was worried about nothing the whole time.


If you like to watch defense, it was both fun and painful at times to watch Louis Delmas go through the rookie maturation process.  With a team coming off a winless season, the expectations weren’t very high, but Delmas came to play and would provide scores and entertainment for us fans that we truly didn’t expect.


And I was sooooo happy to see it!


Louis Delmas established an immediate legacy with some very special plays during his rookie campaign.  Louis returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown against the Saints during the season road opener.  Delmas followed it up later in the season with an interception returned for touchdown and would get a sack for a safety.  Louis Delmas is only the second player in NFL history to have recorded a fumble recovery for TD, an interception returned for TD, and a safety all in the same season.


The 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Louis Delmas was voted the Detroit Lions Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.  Additionally, Louis was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September 2009, and was selected to the 2009 NFL All Rookie Team.


Not bad for a rook.  Serendipitous for me?  Absolutely.


Louis Delmas is a “chirper”, constantly talking it up.  Former WMU Bronco teammate TE Tony Scheffler tells the media nothing has changed, as Delmas was the same his freshman year at Western.


Delmas has recently stated he believes the 2010 Detroit Lions are playoff bound.  As a player, you have to believe it.  You must have that mentality.  If you’re a player and you don’t think you can win, don’t believe you can win, and can’t see yourself making it to the playoffs, then why in blue blazes would you even lace up the cleats?


Louis Delmas has made it abundantly clear to Gunther Cunningham, Jim Schwartz, his teammates, and the fans, that he wants to be the leader of the Lions defense in 2010 and beyond.  A leader should never have a problem speaking his mind, and to that end, Delmas is a perfect fit.


Lead, follow, or get out of the way:  “Guided missile” approaching.


Lions fans have great expectations for the individual performance of FS Louis Delmas heading into the 2010 season.  Delmas aspires to reach the post-season, and he will receive much support from his teammates and the coaching staff.  With a retooled defensive line and new help in the defensive backfield, Lions fans are daring to dream out loud a little bit more everyday.  Fans of this franchise want to believe it could be true so badly.


Louis Delmas believes in “now”.


Do you?


    Roberts Appears Headed for Bigger Role in 2018

    Detroit Lions logo
    Detroit Lions

    Roberts Appears Headed for Bigger Role in 2018

    via MLive.com

    Congressman Blasts Jets Owner's Offer to Pay Anthem Fines

    NFL logo

    Congressman Blasts Jets Owner's Offer to Pay Anthem Fines

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Avril: Seahawks Started Questioning Carroll After SB Loss

    NFL logo

    Avril: Seahawks Started Questioning Carroll After SB Loss

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Players with Most to Lose in Their Contract Year

    NFL logo

    Players with Most to Lose in Their Contract Year

    Gary Davenport
    via Bleacher Report