Detroit Lions Must Draft a Lineman

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Detroit Lions Must Draft a Lineman

Don't let the title fool you: This is no panacea for the Detroit Lions' ills, no column-length magic spell to blow away 50 years of near-pure futility spiced with a little Barry Sanders and Alex Karras.

Heck, there isn't enough gold on the planet to construct the Pulitzer Prize necessary to award anyone who could summarize and solve this franchise's problems in a space this size or so.

However, it would seem that genius is hardly necessary in "pinpointing" the Lions' glaring weaknesses and elucidating a little advice. Here's to hoping someone (cough, cough, Matt Millen, cough) within the Detroit brain trust is thinking along these lines.

Somehow I doubt it, though.

To wit, one more time: It's the line, stupid.

Sure, it was swell drafting Calvin Johnson to give Jon Kitna another option, but you know who was the Lions' leading receiver last season?

That's right, Shaun McDonald.

Johnson finished third on the team in receptions behind McDonald and Roy Williams, who missed four games thanks to injury, while Mike Furrey totaled 13 more receptions than the No. 2 overall pick. The passing offense gained a total of eight yards more over its 2006 production while scoring two fewer touchdowns.

How was such incredible improvement shown? Why, by allowing 116 sacks in two seasons.

No team has allowed more; the nearest "competitor" here is Oakland at 114, and to that offensive line's credit, it trimmed an incredible 30 sacks from its brutal 2006 total of 72.

In adding Edwin Mulitalo and George Foster via free agency and having Damien Woody back for basically a full season, the Lions managed to drop just ten of the 63 poundings administered to Kitna in 2006. And the O-line play in 2007 looks even worse if you consider that Detroit gave up just three sacks in the final four games after the Lions became irrelevant with the ugly 42-10 loss at Minnesota in Week 13, translating out to over four sacks per game for the first 12.

As for the Lions in the 2008 draft ... whoa, flashback:

The sober and serious are asking that, for the love of Parker, the Lions just take the lineman and be done with it. Here are 54 reasons why:

The 53 sacks incurred on poor Kitna last season plus Joe Orlovsky waiting in the wings should Kitna be brought down for good in 2008.

That's from a pre-draft column of last year; all that's changed in the prose are substitutions of "50" for "60" and "2008" for "2007." And yes, I know the Lions have the NFL Europa guy as a second-stringer now; you get the point.

The proposed solution back then?

Joe Thomas, who went on to have a Pro Bowl season for the playoff-bubble Cleveland Browns. Thomas helped comprise one of the NFL's now-elite lines while making Derek Anderson look like Bernie Kosar.

You know how many hits Anderson took in 2007? Fourteen. Kitna suffered 10 in the comical 56-21 Week 3 loss to Philadelphia alone.

The proposed solution today? Think Sam Baker of USC. Think Chris Williams of Vanderbilt. Think Ryan Clady of Boise State. And seriously think about moving Woody back to guard.

Just think, guys, think.

Heavily contemplating all matters gridiron throughout the year at RealFootball365.com.

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