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Detroit Lions: When You Have So Many Needs, It's Hard To Have a Bad Draft

Brett DavisContributor IApril 29, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 30:   Tight End Brandon Pettigrew #87 of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys is tackled by the defense of the University of Oregon Ducks during the Ducks 42-31 win over the Cowboys in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on December 30, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

While watching the NFL draft, I, like a lot of Lions fans, was thinking one thing: Same old Lions.

I felt like Matt Millen was still sitting in the war room at Allen Park, calling the shots. 

They drafted a QB first overall, and many experts don't even believe that he was the best QB in the draft. Then they took a TE with their second pick in the first round. They went offense twice, when they desperately needed defensive playmakers. They went with two players that, at first glance, seem to help the passing game, after they preached that they were going to emphasize the run.

They passed on the two best middle linebackers in the draft (which was a major need) after they fell into their laps at No. 33.

They drafted an undersized outside linebacker to start the third round, when the need was MLB, and all of the talk from coach Schwartz was about getting bigger.

Then they drafted a wide reciever, when recent pickups Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry were supposed to solidify that position.

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In the fourth round, they drafted DT Sammie Lee Hill from Stillman College. I had never heard of him...or the school he went to.

They drafted RB Aaron Brown in the sixth round. In 2008, Brown rushed the ball 99 times for 547 and three TD; not exactly impressive numbers.

The Lions then had three picks in the seventhround where they finally addressed the offensiveline with Lydon Murtha from Nebraska. Their final two picks in the draft were another OLB Zach Follett from Cal, and another TE Dan Gronkowski from Maryland.

So, at first glance, this is how I summed up the Lions' draft.

They took a question mark at QB who more than likely won't, and shouldn't, play this year and a TE that ran a 4.83 40 at No. 20 (with TE being a position that you can historically find quality at much later in the draft). Safety was a need, but not as much as OT, MLB, and DT. They took two OLB's when they needed a MLB, a WR, an unknown DT, and less than spectacular RB.

This sounds like the worst draft in history.

I was hoping for a draft more like the Cincinnati Bengals. They got their OT (I'm not a huge A. Smith fan, but the Lions would've had their choice of all the top OT's at No. 1).

They got the MLB that I wanted in Malualuga.

In the third round, I was hoping the Lions would take Michael Johnson or Jarron Gilbert. They had the chance to take either. The Bengals took Johnson with the 70th pick.

With the 98th, the Bengals took TE Chase Coffman, who is probably going to be a steal at that pick.

In the fourth round, the Bengals took C Johnathon Luigs out of Arkansas.

So, the Bengals sured up the offensive line with an OT and a C. They got the best MLB in the draft, a DE that was projected in the top 10 a few months ago, and a quality TE.

They hit almost every need that the Lions had—except DT.

But the Lions had one more pick than the Bengals, so they could've filled that need also by taking Ron Brace in the second round. 

Originally, I would've taken the Bengals' draft over ours. But now that I've calmed down and done a little research on the Lions' picks, I'm starting to warm up to their draft.

The Lions need a QB—of course they do, they always need a QB. Is Stafford the right one? I don't know. All we can do is hope and pray that he doesn't end up like every other QB the Lions have drafted over the years.

Pettigrew is a beast at 6'6" and 260 pounds. He has great hands, and a good TE is a young QB's best friend.

Also, with the way that he blocks, it will almost be like having two tackles on whichever side he lines up on. That will really help out our running game, which is also a huge of help for a young QB.

I really wanted Malualuga, but I also feel that Delmas was a great pick. If you look at the best defenses in the league, they almost always have a great safety (Polamalu, Ed Reed, Bob Sanders, Brian Dawkins), so this was a good pick.

They took DeAndre Levy, who plays OLB, but Mayhew said that he will play inside for the Lions. He's undersized, but his scouting report says that he is a big-hitter and regularly causes turnovers.

Also, if the reports are true about Larry Foote possibly coming to the Lions, they won't have to worry about MLB next year. Anyone that can start every game for the Steelers for five straight years will be a star in Detroit. Maybe Mayhew was thinking this way the whole time.

I didn't think that we were going to use a pick on a WR, but Derrick Williams was a solid punt returner at Penn State, and that is a big need. The same thing goes for Aaron Brown. I questioned the pick at first, but reports say that he is a good kickoff returner. So those two picks help out the return game, which is sorely needed.

I'm very interested in the Sammie Lee Hill pick. I had never heard of him, but scouts compare him to a more consistent Shawn Rodgers. If that's the case, then this was a great pick. Rodgers' departure was a major reason for the downfall of the run defense last year. He's a developmental player, but if he works out, he could be a phenomenal value pick.

Overall, like I wrote in the headline, when you have so many needs it's pretty hard to have a bad draft.

Nobody expects the Lions to be good this year, anyway. So as long as they can keep from putting Stafford in and getting him beat up physically and emotionally, they should be fine.

The Lions will have one more draft to fill the rest of their holes. So when Stafford does get into the game next year he will have a much more solid team around him, and a better chance for him to be successful.

Anyway, just like any other draft, only time will tell if the Lions had a great one or one of the worst in history.

One thing I can say about Martin Mayhew is that he has major guts. 

After following the worst GM in professional sports history, he could have gone with the safer picks, but Mayhew went with some of the riskiest picks in the draft.

I wouldn't have done it, but if it works out, he's a genius. If it doesn't, the Lions will be starting another rebuilding process with another GM in a few years.

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