Jared Gaither: Detroit Lions a Possible Destination for the Ravens OT?

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterMarch 30, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 7:  Jared Gaither #71 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the side line as steam comes off of his face in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Recently, On NFL's Total Access, Jason La Canfora speculated that Jared Gaither is available and that the Washington Redskins—desperate for tackle help—could make a play for the area native.

Jared Gaither, currently an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, could be the long-term answer at the same position for the Detroit Lions tomorrow for the price of one draft pick.

Those pesky draft picks inevitably spark debate.

Do you stockpile them them like the New England Patriots? Or do you trade them away at the drop of a hat like the Chicago Bears? Do you trade up and get a few elite players? Or do you trade down and get quantity over quality?

In conventional football wisdom, teams are built through the draft, not through free agency and trades.

Those other avenues can patch up positions or even put a team over that playoff hump. But the majority of teams with long-term success are built through successful scouting and drafting. 

For someone searching for a reason the Detroit Lions are 2-30 over the past two seasons, there isn't a better answer.

Now, that is conventional wisdom.

An exception exists to every rule.

Another general rule is that supplemental draft picks don't usually amount to much. Gaither already proved that one wrong.

The high school tight end and basketball player moved to offensive line for the Maryland Terrapins and began a terrific ACC career until academic issues derailed his college eligibility.

The Baltimore Ravens selected Gaither in the fifth round of the NFL Supplemental Draft and began grooming him as the left tackle of the future.

Then the Ravens selected Michael Oher in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

With Marshal Yanda filling in well at right tackle due to injury last season and Oher performing rather admirably on the blind side, tackle is suddenly a position of strength for the Ravens.

La Canfora—once upon a time the Detroit Red Wings beat writer for the Detroit Free Press—knows the Washington Redskins well. Between Detroit and NFL.com, he worked for The Washington Post. It can be reasonably assumed that his finger is that much closer to the pulse of the Redskins than the normal national speculator.

So if Gaither is available for draft pick No. 37, isn't is reasonable to assume that he may also be available for draft pick No. 34?

With that pick, the Lions could be targeting an offensive lineman—a tackle like Rutgers' Anthony Davis or a guard like Mississippi's John Jerry. Gaither is only a few years older than Davis and a few months older than Jerry.

In addition, Gaither is already a proven commodity with minor injury history and a physical specimen 10 years younger than Jeff Backus.

With No. 34 spent on Gaither, it would free up the No. 2 overall pick to be either traded—as Martin Mayhew would like to do—or spent on Ndamukong Suh—as most mock drafts assume.

Complicating matters is Gaither's recent assertion that he wants to be a Baltimore Raven for life. However, this is the NFL, and that decision might not be up to him.

Just another option in the long line of offseason possibilities.

Michael Schottey operates Blue And Silver Pride and is a Detroit Lions featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He also serves as a team correspondent for DraftTek.com and is a guest blogger for Mlive's Highlight Reel. Check out his Podcasts and add him on Twitter!


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