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!
There may be a day when I can think of the number 16 and the Detroit Lions together without the 0-16 season immediately coming to mind. I don’t know when that day will be but I know it isn’t 16 days ahead of the 2011 draft.
The 2010 Lions featured 14 players (including the injured Jordon Dizon) that endured the 2008 season. Of those 14, I only consider six as important contributors: Cliff Avril, Jeff Backus, Gosder Cherilus, Calvin Johnson, Stephen Peterman and Dominic Raiola. Three of the 14 are special teams players (Jason Hanson, Nick Harris and Don Muhlbach), one is a backup quarterback (Drew Stanton) and one will not spend 2011 as a Lion (Kevin Smith). The other three are rotational or depth players (Dizon, Jerome Felton and Andre Fluellen).
The front office has done a remarkable job turning the roster over to remove the stink of the league’s first 0-16 season. The upcoming draft marks another opportunity to bring new blood into the organization; not in the sacrificial way that defined the Millen-era but in the rejuvenating way we have seen under Mayhew. The 2008 season ended without a win, a franchise quarterback and an average roster age of 27.5 years. The 2010 season with the league’s second longest active winning streak, a franchise quarterback (health pending) and an average roster age of 26.7 years. A younger, better team that has been assembled with a plan? Sounds good to me.