If you asked me last Wednesday which of this past weekend’s events was more likely to occur — Nick Fairley falling to the Lions, or the United States finally killing Osama Bin Laden? — I would’ve just laughed off the question as a ridiculous hypothetical, like picking between the sky falling and the oceans turning into wine.
Not to directly compare the two events, as Bin Laden’s death is far more important than anything football-related, but that was one hell of a weekend, right?
I’ll first address the Fairley pick. Even though Prince Amukamara was there for the taking, I love that Martin Mayhew went to his draft board, took the best player available — a player, sitting there at #13, who had spent much of the past several months at the very top of many mock drafts — and ignored a glaring need in order to assemble a potential defensive line for the ages. They say, “Go big or go home,” and Mayhew went big. I mean, just look at the possibilities:
My calculator tells me there are 81 possible combinations with Avril, Lo-Jack and Suh rotating at left end, Suh, Fairley, and Williams at 3-tech, Williams, Hill, and Fairley at 1-tech, and KVB, Avril, and Lo-Jack at right end.
What’s crazy about that number is it doesn’t even completely take into account the versatility of Ndamukong Suh. Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham haven’t been afraid to show some interesting looks on defense, and that has included rushing Suh from linebacker depth. You may remember Suh’s sack of Tom Brady on Thanksgiving, when he lined up at middle linebacker:
Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and whomever ends up starting in Minnesota: Consider yourselves on notice when the Lions roll out a line of KVB-Fairley-Williams-Avril with Suh acting as a blitzing ‘backer. Also consider insuring all your limbs. My only worry about this Lions D-line is that they’ll take too many unwarranted penalties for excessive tackling of the quarterback.
As for the rest of the Lions draft, I’m quite pleased as well. Boise State’s Titus Young had a lot of success at one of the best college football programs in the country, and he could be the legitimate third wideout which this team has been so desperately attempting to find. As someone who watches a lot of Big Ten football, I can say confidently that the Lions got a good one in Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure — as has been noted by pretty much everyone, his skill set is a perfect complement to what Jahvid Best brings to the table. With only two picks to work with on the last day of the draft, Mayhew and his crew picked up developmental players at positions of great need — it’s rare to find a home run pick in the fifth and seventh rounds, so grabbing depth players with upside is a sound strategy in my eyes.
Did I mention Osama Bin Laden is finally dead? Lions fans had a lot to be happy about before Sunday night, and that news puts one giant cherry on top of the weekend’s, um, sundae. I know Monday isn’t a day normally reserved for celebration, but if you’ve got a flexible schedule like me (read: unemployed blogger), crack a beer, set off some fireworks, do something … the Lions had perhaps the best draft in the league, and the most notorious terrorist of our lifetimes has just met his maker thanks to the tireless efforts of our troops (for which I cannot thank them enough). It was a great weekend to be an American, and Detroit’s draft helped make it an even better one for me and the rest of the Lion fanbase.