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!
35 days remain until we can stop talking about the NFL draft prospects and start talking about the Lions’ incoming rookie class. 35 happens to be the average number of sacks per team during the 2010 season and that reveals good things about the Lions on both sides of the ball.
The Lions defensive line got a lot of publicity last season for their ability to get to opposing quarterbacks. The team total of 44 sacks was sixth best overall and gives them a +9 advantage over league average.
The offensive line has caught a lot of flak over the years but they allowed just 27 sacks for a +8 rating over the average, also sixth best league-wide. The defensive line obviously played very well last season but it is interesting to see that the offensive line performed nearly identically as well, at least by this limited measure.
Many have suggested that drafting an offensive lineman provides the most value for the Lions with their pick at number 13 due to the age of Jeff Backus and unknown health status of Gosder Cherilus. The scenario makes a lot of sense but could be equally applied to defensive end. Kyle Vanden Bosch has been a wonderful lead-by-example addition to the roster but is about the same age as Backus and is coming off a season-ending neck surgery. The Lions may feel that someone in the deep defensive end draft class may provide as much value as Nate Solder or TyRon Smith. We’ll know for sure in 35 days.