Five days and counting and the Lions Nation will find out just which road will be taken.
Will it be the consensus choice among NFL draft predictors in Matt Stafford? He does have a strong arm and of course the eerie connection to Bobby Layne.
Or could the Lions draft the fans popular choice in LB Aaron Curry? He would be the best pick for a defense that has ranked no higher than 20th over the past six years, including the last two years ranked dead last.
Or will they decide to bolster the offensive line by drafting OT Jason Smith? Or the defensive line by drafting, in a surprise move, DT B.J. Raji?
Despite what my main protagonist C DeGetmon feels about my opinions, writing style and me being a Mayhew plant, I am not a seer that can predict the future. In fact, it would be safe to say that no NFL draft predictor knows what is going to happen.
What I would like to see is a different story. Here are the players I would like the Lions to draft: (If anyone has read my last article, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/151098-cutler-to-bears-not-a-big-deal-for-detroit-lions-firms-up-draft/show_full, please don't be confused. The mock in the Cutler to Bears article is based on a gut feeling that Stafford is the number one pick. This mock is the direction I would like the Lions to take.)
1. Aaron Curry, MLB Wake Forest
With Ernie Sims on one side and Julian Peterson on the other, Curry would make this trio potentially one of the best in football. Get some defensive line help and we can do way better against the run and get some pressure on the opposing QB.
20. Duke Robinson, OG Oklahoma
If Jeff Backus is going to stay at left tackle, then he and the rest of the line needs a lot of help. And what would be better than a 6-5, 329 lb. left guard that was part of the best offenses in Oklahoma history. Good at opening holes in the middle for Kevin Smith and has the tools for pass protection.
33. Connor Barwin, DE Cincinnati
He may be better suited as a rushing linebacker but I think he could do well with the Lions. 6-4" and 256 lbs, he would have the speed and quickness to get around most tackles in the league. And with a 41.5" vertical leap, he could knock down a lot of passes.
Last year, he finished with 15 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, broke up seven passes and blocked three kicks in 14 games. If this kind of production can translate to the NFL, he can be a game changer.
65. Ramses Barden, WR Cal-Poly-SLO
Yeah, I know, the Lions have signed Ronald Curry and Bryant Johnson both of whom should be OK in between the 20's.
However, the Lions have been miserable in the red zone for who knows how long. Imagine defenses coming up to the line and seeing two 6-5" receivers (Calvin Johnson and Barden) line up. Who would you double team?
Barden helped himself a lot running a 4.4 40 in his Pro Day. His last year, he produced 67 catches for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns.
82. Lawrence Sidbury, DE Richmond
A player that should be able to play in any defensive scheme, he had 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
I'll stop here since these first five picks are going to be the most important for the Lions to get right.
While no draft is going to get the Lions into the playoffs this year, I believe taking this approach builds a solid foundation and sets up the Lions to make a strong run in 2011 and/or 2012. But this is only one draft...and one draft does not a playoff contender make.
It's going to take a GM that can trade players and picks to position the Lions to succeed.