The underwear olympics are underway in Indianapolis which means that Draft season is officially upon us. After falling to a 4-12 record last year, general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz have to nail this draft or it could be their last as running the Detroit Lions.
I still can’t get over how fast everything fell apart for the Lions last year. They entered the season as Sports Illustrated cover boys, ready to take on the big boys, then remembered that they’re the Lions, finishing with an eight-game losing streak to earn a top five pick. The reason for the fall from grace was the lousy drafts the Lions have had since about forever.
After last year’s disaster of a season, Mayhew’s drafts are shown in a different light, and it’s not a pretty sight. Sure, he nailed the first rounders, Matthew Stafford, Ndumakong Suh and Nick Fairly, but the rest of his picks have been non-contributors. Had Mayhew done a better job of drafting, the Lions wouldn’t be drafting fifth. Sure, there are a couple of nuggets he found like Sammie Lee Hill and Willie Young late in the draft, but those are erased by second pick blunders like Titus Young and Jahvid Best. Last year’s draft was Mayhew’s most perplexing to date. First rounder Riley Reiff couldn’t crack the starting line up and as much as I like Ryan Broyles’ game, his history of injuries is worrisome. Bill Bentley looks like he could be a starter in this league, and Jonte Green could be a serious contributor in the future but we’ve got nothing from the rest of the draft class.
There seems to be only two ways the Lions can go with their fifth pick. They could pick a defensive end to fill a huge hole left by the Lions cutting Kyle Vanden Bosch. If Cliff Avril leaves, which it sounds like he might, then the pick almost becomes a no-brainer. However, Draft guru Mike Mayock of NFL Network believes that none of the defensive ends in this draft are worthy of a top five pick. If the Lions are dead set on the ‘Best Player Available’ theory like they claim to be, then they’re out of luck if they want to fill that hole on defense with their first round selection.
The other way the Lions could go in the first round is selecting a offensive lineman. In my mock draft, I have the Lions taking tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, but that projection was on the assumption the Chiefs would take a quarterback with the first pick. It now looks like no quarterback is worth the first pick, so I think the Chiefs will take tackle Luke Joeckel instead. My feeling is, if Mayock is right then the Eagles likely will take Fisher with the fourth pick. Where does that leave the Lions? Is Mayhew going to take a DE if he isn’t the BPA?
It’s obvious from his previous drafts that Mayhew likes to gamble on his picks. Chance Warmack of Alabama is said to be the best guard to come along in a generation. He would add power to the Lions pathetic running game. Mayhew needs a sure thing with that first pick to save his job, so he might just take a Chance.