The smartest NFL trading deadline move was made by the NFL's dumbest franchise. Wideout Roy Williams was sent from the Detroit Lions to the Dallas Cowboys with a 7th round pick in exchange for three 2009 draft picks - one in the 1st round, one in the 3rd round, and one in the 6th round.
A LOT of mistakes were made by the Lions during the Matt Millen era. Trading Williams is the first step in the right direction. Most Lions fans have daydreams of Barry Sanders suiting up and stepping on Ford Field to save the franchise, but getting Barry on the field only works these days in All Pro 2K8.
Anytime a team as sorry as the Lions is offered a 1st round draft pick in exchange for ANYTHING besides a franchise quarterback like Peyton Manning, they should take the deal and run. Matt Millen would have balked at this deal or held out for a "better offer." Thank God he wasn't trusted with this.
With a slew of 2009 draft picks, securing a new GM to replace Millen becomes much easier. Yesterday, being the GM of the Lions was not a sexy job. Tomorrow, the job is much more attractive.
Despite going 1-12 since starting last season 6-2, the Lions aren't in horrible shape for the future. Offensively, the Lions have Calvin Johnson to build around. Second year QB Drew Stanton and rookie halfback Kevin Smith have a lot of potential. This team needs to build an offensive line to protect Stanton and give him time to get the ball to Johnson.
A pass-catching tight end, a la Antonio Gates, would also be welcomed to take some defensive pressure off Stanton and Johnson.
Coach Rob Marinelli obviously will want to build a stronger defense. A special teams playmaker could also benefit the Lions.
Off the top of my head, a couple players currently in college come to mind as great fits for filling the needs of the Lions in 2009. I make no promises of underclassmen declaring for the draft... this is just an educated guess / best fit for the Lions on my part.
- Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
- Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
- Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State
- George Selvie, DE, USF
- James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
- Taylor Mays, S, USC