September 19, 2014
Sports of sorts

Lions draft exposé

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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Posted 2/26/09
Lions draft exposé

The 2008-9 Detroit Lions didn’t win a game after starting the preseason 4-0 in the second year under Rod Marinelli, who brought in a plethora of “his” guys — guys who were supposed to be hard-working and disciplined — from Tampa Bay and elsewhere around the league.

 

That was last year.

 

This year heading into the ever-important off-season of Free Agency (Feb. 27) and the NFL Draft, having already completed the Combine in Indianapolis, the Lions have made changes to the coaching staff – Jim Swartz as head coach (previously Tennessee defensive coordinator) and Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator (previously Kansas City defensive coordinator); cut several veteran players (a.k.a. players who’ve been a virus) like CB Leigh Bodden and WR Mike Furrey among others; and decided NOT to make changes in the front office by keeping GM Martin Mayhew and President Tom Lewand, although I actually haven’t found anything they’ve done terrible…so far.

 

Undoubtedly, this is the biggest rebuilding off-season in Detroit in a long time. Everything that was built up over the last 8 years — Passing offense, defensive scheme and stock-piled “so-called” talent — has come crumbling down and a completely new approach is in the works while none of the coaching staff or front office is releasing even the slightest of hints as to its makeup.

 

We, fans, do know a couple of things though. We need O-lineman and defensive players of all sorts. Now, that being said, I don’t think we’re in as bad of a situation as the hysteria and hangover from a 0-16 season suggests. I think we have a few pieces in place for starters and I think there are a lot of solid backups in place as well. Does that mean I think we’re playoff material this season? No. But, as you saw with the ‘Phins and Falcons last year, strange things can happen.

 

Players I think the team should keep, assuming they improve to NFL standards, are backup QB's Culpepper and Stanton; HB Smith; backup TE Gaines; backup TE Owens; LG Backus (was LT); C Raiola; RT Cherilus; DE’s Avril and White; backup DE’s Smith and Redding (was DT); backup DT’s Moore and Cody; OLB Sims; backup MLB Lenon; backup OLB’s Alexander and Nece; CB Smith; backup CB Wilson; SS Bullocks; backup SS Pearson; backup FS/CB Alexander; P Harris; K Hanson.

 

I think the Lions made a mistake with QB Orlovsky. To me, he showed major strides in proving his ability as an NFL-caliber QB but the front office let him leave because they told him he wouldn’t have a chance to compete for the starting job, which apparently is being given to Culpepper. It’s not that I don’t think Culpepper can get the job done, it’s that I think Orlovsky has a tremendous throwing ability comparable to Aaron Rodgers or even Peyton Manning; how he has such a quick release and how the ball seems to be on a line to receivers. I hate to see him go somewhere and turn out to be everything his talent suggests.

 

Regardless, I don’t like the Lions drafting ANY QB. Other concerns are more pressing and if those are met, Culpepper can surely man the helms for at least this season.

 

Below is a list of draft prospects I’ve researched and believe would be a good fit with the Lions, assuming they would be available at picks 1 and 20 in the first round. Also, I’ve included some prospects for later rounds I REALLY like.

             

 

Pick #

Name

Position

College

Build

Combine stats

Analysis

1

Aaron Curry

OLB

Wake Forest

6’2” 254 lbs.

4.56 40-yard dash; 25 bench reps; 37” vertical

Very versatile LB; can play all LB positions in 3-4 and 4-3 D’s; Monster-compare to Sims (Detroit), Merriman (SD), or even Lewis (Baltimore). No negatives. Never missed a game due to injury.

1

Jason Smith

OT

Baylor

6’5” 309 lbs.

33 bench reps; 5.22 40-yard dash

Excellent run blocking skills; should thrive in zone scheme; poor pass blocking.

1

Andre Smith

OT

Alabama

6’4” 332 lbs.

None

Amazing strength and natural football intelligence/ability; very poor character issues; speculation of weight issues but not solid evidence. Never missed a game due to injury.

20

Rey Maualuga

MLB

USC

6’2” 249 lbs.

4.82* 40-yard dash; 23 bench reps

Great instincts; flies to the ball; punishing hitter; good in coverage; sometimes over-pursues the play.

20

James Laurinitis

MLB

Ohio State

6’2” 244 lbs.

4.80 40-yard dash; 22 bench reps

Good instincts; terrific coverage skills; good open-field tackler; disciplined; not as physical as he should be.

20

Brian Cushing

OLB

USC

6’3” 243 lbs.

4.74 40-yard dash; 30 bench reps; 35” vertical

Amazing talent and strength; started as a freshman at USC; over-pursues at times; faced some injuries in college.

20

Michael Oher

OT

Mississippi

6’5” 309 lbs.

5.23 40-yard dash; 21 bench reps

Good form; good pass blocking skills; lacks physical run-block game.

33

C.J. Spillman

FS

Marshall

6’0” 197 lbs.

4.50 40-yard dash; 41.5” vertical

Polamalu-like safety; good speed; delivers punishing hits; playmaker ability; can be susceptible to play-action but usually recovers very quickly.

55

n/a

CB/KR

n/a

n/a

Less than a 4.40 40-yard dash

Any corner available who was solid in college but not getting press for combine…sleeper; must be a good kick returner.

75

James Casey

TE

Rice

6’3” 246 lbs.

4.78 40-yard dash; 28 bench reps; 36” vertical

Natural athlete (played baseball at Rice); great receivers; good playing speed; virtually no experience blocking.

 

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