More on Garrett, Bradford
I've been told a report that characterized Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as the No. 1 candidate to be the next Lions head coach is not true by a person familiar with the search.
That's not to say Garrett couldn't eventually emerge as Rod Marinelli's replacement, but it's premature speculation for now. First, Martin Mayhew was serious when he said he was going to conduct a thorough and open-minded search. Second, any leaks about front-runners for the position are surely not coming from the Lions.
Beyond that, if Wednesday's report about Garrett's candidacy is true, that he initially rebuffed overtures to interview with the Lions only to change his mind because of a) his falling star in Dallas and b) the likelihood Detroit drafts Sam Bradford No. 1 overall, I think that would be cause for concern in Lions camp. It's January. The Lions aren't wed to taking a quarterback atop the draft (though it's a definite possibility). And more important, Mayhew and Co. want someone who will carry out their philosophies and fit within the structure of the organization. I'm not sure an assistant who has to be convinced to interview, if that did indeed happen, is that type of guy.
When all is said and done, I still think the Lions end up with a defensive-minded coach, someone like Leslie Frazier or Jim Schwartz. To be fair, that falls in the speculation category, too.
Sitting here watching the Oklahoma-Florida game and the four most impressive NFL prospects to me have been Bradford, his Oklahoma teammates defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and tight end Jermaine Gresham, and Florida receiver Percy Harvin. All are underclassmen who've yet to declare their intentions, and the first two the Lions have to consider with their first-round picks.
Bradford may not have Matt Stafford's arm strength and some will mark him down for his interception right before half, but he's so accurate I believe he'll be special. Every throw he makes no matter how easy or hard gives his receiver a chance to make a play. Hidden yards are so big in the NFL, and Bradford always seems to lead his receiver just enough on that underneath crossing route or drop the fade to the spot where his guy can get it.
McCoy's a third-year sophomore and frankly I don't know how he stacks up with the rest of the draft-eligible tackles he may be a top-five guy but bottom line is he can play. To my untrained eye, he appears to have a great first step, enough so that he'll be a pass-rushing threat in the league, and his interception, as simple as it was, was a thing of beauty. Furthermore, tackle is a position of need even though the Lions spent two picks (Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen) on the position last year.
One other draft note, this doesn't totally rule out the Lions taking Stafford No. 1 overall, but I've been told they only scouted one Georgia home game this year the Sept. 6 game against Central Michigan. That was before Mayhew took over as general manager. Now, a lot of scouting is done by watching film on campus mid-week (and I'm told the Lions were spotted once in that capacity, too), but for comparison's sake Lions representatives made it two USC home games to watch the Trojans' star-studded defense (and presumably quarterback Matt Sanchez) in person. Again, that may not mean anything, but it could, too.