2011 NFL Draft: The Detroit Lions Are Now on the Board

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2011 NFL Draft: The Detroit Lions Are Now on the Board
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last season, the Lions started in a new direction.  On the first day of free agency Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson signed to come to Detroit.  In the case of Vanden Bosch, head coach Jim Schwartz actually parked outside of Vanden Bosch's gated community. He waited until the clock struck midnight on that first day of free agency to talk to Vanden Bosch and his wife into the wee hours to tell him why he should come to Detroit.

That is not a move a Lions coach makes, until now.  Only reason was the draft.  With the second pick the Lions picked Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska.

Many, including myself, knew Suh was special as I am a closet Husker fan so I saw his work during the prior season.  Yet no one could predict that Suh would take the league this much by storm.  He won every rookie of the year award, was named an All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl team.  He didn't play, but he was rumored to be recruiting prospective free agents to come to Detroit.  He could play due to shoulder surgery suffered in college which means he wasn't playing his full potential.

His presence on the team is a big reason why this season is different as the Lions finished 6-10 and would not be picking one of the top-10 picks in a long, long time.  But with the recent lockout, the Lions could not pull another coup in free agency prior to the draft.

As a result, there is a greater reality that the Lions' draft strategy will not load up on players during the draft as much to see what is available.  Not because of a lack of talent in the college players but because the Lions might hold up and go for the veteran at that position instead.   

Regardless, there are some good players the Lions can still get that will play for them on Sunday this season.

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