So, I’m listening to one of my brothers screaming in my ear on the phone about how the Lions royally screwed up in drafting Ryan Broyles in the second round of last week’s draft. He was beside himself on how the Lions could do something so stupid as to draft a “luxury” pick when there were so many players available at other positions that could have helped us right away. His reaction, and the others I read about from fans and heard on sports talk radio, made it sound like the Lions set themselves back five years with that pick.
It’s the most controversial pick that the lions have made since they drafted Brandon Pettigrew in the 1st round of the 2009 draft. The fact that both players catch passes from Matthew Stafford is the only similarity between the situations. When Pettigrew was drafted, an awful lot of the Lion faithful had abandoned the Leos after they became the first team in NFL history to go 0-16. The fact is, most didn’t give a rat’s ass who the Lions picked. It was the Lions, after all. The ones that did care, all 43 of us, couldn’t understand taking a tight end so early in the draft when we needed practically everything on the team replaced.
That was the first insight as to how Martin Mayhew was going to build this team. Surround the franchise with the best weapons possible. What good is having a gunslinger if has to walk around with one bullet? Granted, that was some bullet he had in Calvin Johnson, but a defense can stop any one player if they choose to. Greg Cosell is the producer of NFL films, he watches more NFL film than anyone on Earth. He had this reaction to the drafting of Ryan Broyles:
When you widen the lens, the bigger picture comes into focus. This team is built around arguably the best young passer in the NFL, Matthew Stafford. With that as the overriding principle, the offensive side of the ball can never be allowed to suffer due to neglect. If that happened, the Lions could not compete, no matter how much they fortify the defense. It’s a very similar philosophy to what Bill Polian employed with the Colts once he drafted Peyton Manning. You always make sure the offense has high-level players, especially at the receiver position. You take Broyles in the second round not only because is he a very good player, but also because he becomes another complementary piece that helps Stafford — and by extension the entire team — remain a playoff and Super Bowl contender. It’s the longer view, and the correct one.
This isn’t some hyped up overachiever who the Lions selected – he set an NCAA record with 349 receptions. “Most productive ever” should translate very well at the next level. He’s a monster in the slot position and will play quite a bit as a rookie. The Lions used the three-, four-, and five-reciver sets on 74.8% of the offensive snaps last season and there were only 10 attempts to receiver’s not named Megatron, Titus or Nate. Considering that Burlson is getting up there in age, this doesn’t look like a “luxury” pick to me.
The uproar over the Broyles pick tells me that the reason that so many people got upset is that they care about the Lions again. They lost it when they perceived the Lions to be taking a step backward. Come on now, you can finally admit it. You care about the Lions again.