Join us each day as we count down towards the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The countdown runs from 50 to zero and the number of days remaining will inspire the post for that day. Think of this as your NFL draft paper chain that loses one link each day!
Any Lions fan that followed the team through the Matt Millen era has seen a number of interesting draft “strategies”. After all, it stands to reason that the best way to draft an All-Pro receiver is to keep selecting a wide receiver until one finally pays off. And when there is a fourth rounded graded prosepect that might-maybe-possibly could become something more (because the “bar is high” and “we play with good pad level”) the best way to ensure you end up with said player is to use a second round pick on him.
With 46 days left until the 2011 first round, I took a look at the players the Lions have drafted number 46 overall in their history. Familiarizing myself with these players revealed a shockingly effective draft strategy. Take a look at the players drafted number 46 overall by the Detroit Lions:
I will admit, it takes a bit of stat searching to fully reveal the genius of the draft strategy that popped off the page at me when looking at the guys named above. Notice how the first three guys on the list don’t have a link? Pro-football-reference.com is a great source of historical data but they don’t even have a player page for those guys. The next three guys do have PFR pages but clicking the link and giving each page a quick glance shows that none of the three had any significant contributions to the Lions or any other NFL team. Those guys make up the first six players in team history to be drafted number 46 overall. What do they all have in common? Isn’t it obvious? Monosyllabic first names, of course!
We see an obvious shift in the Lions draft preparations somewhere between the mid-60s and mid-70s based on the fact the organization has used its last two number 46 overall selections on guys with disyllabic first names. The adjustment led to much better results. David Hill turned into a fine pass catching tight end while Curtis Green spent nine years with the Lions and collected 29.5 career sacks.