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Here's how the Lions should draft

I'm on my way to the airport for a flight back to Detroit and I know the NFL draft is still two months away with lots of evaluations to be made, but after spending five days at the combine here's what I think the Lions will do in the first round:

Pass on Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford and draft either Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry No. 1 overall. Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is the only other player I see in the No. 1-overall mix right now, but Smith's brute strength (he bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 times on Saturday, 10 more than Monroe) seems a better fit with how the Lions want to build their team. Curry is a great player and a good story, but he doesn't provide the same type of positional value at strong-side linebacker.

With the 20th pick (obtained in the Roy Williams trade), I'd look at Ohio State middle linebacker James Laurinaitis or USC's Rey Maualuga if they're still on the board (Laurinaitis probably stands a better chance of being there at this point). Either one would be the leader of the defense for years to come and fill a huge hole. A quarterback like USC's Mark Sanchez (if he drops) or Kansas State's Josh Freeman makes sense, too, considering the state of the roster, and free agency will dictate the Lions' needs at cornerback and defensive tackle, two more viable options though my next-in-line choices.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

trade down

j smith/e monroe/a curry [1]

james l/j freeman/m sanchez [20]

that's my order of preference for the first round.

dave, you haven't answered my question about the OP filing for bankruptcy and what that means for you.

5:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron Curry or Jason Smith at No. 1overall.

Laurinitis or Moore (CB) at No. 20 overall.

9:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave I love your blog and the fact that you are typically first to report most news..but how can you do a blog titled this is how the Lions should draft and then give out several options for both picks...If that is the headline I would expect a real pick...with that said. Jason Smith #1 and Laurinitus at 20...if he is gone Maulaluga or Brian of those three will be available so you take the one that is.

9:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stafford No. 1. Get the QB of the future now, let him sit behind Donte. He'll win a Super Bowl in 5 years. OK, a playoff game.

Then go defense the rest of the way.

12:31 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

OK, I'll be more specific. With the right to change my mind as things shake out over the next two months, I'd go Baylor OT Jason Smith with the No. 1 pick. I think Rey Maualuga is the best middle linebacker, so if he's there at 20 I'd take him. I don't think he will be though (ditto for Mark Sanchez), but James Laurinaitis should and he'd be my pick over Josh Freeman. My point was taking either Smith or Curry over Stafford is the right decision at this point.

As for the bankruptcy, it's business as usual for the paper right now. It's my understanding that we're still profitable and this is a way for the parent company to restructure its debt obligations. Hopefully I'll be around to bring you more Lions news and insight in the future.

1:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you better be man.

i agree with you about j smith, e monroe, or a curry over stafford. too much risk involved that we can't afford to roll the dice on with stafford. we gotta hit on pretty much all our picks and even then, we'll still only be halfway back to a decent team. thanks ford and millen, way to leave this team in absolute shambles for someone else to pick up.

1:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curry at 254 lbs = 4.54 & 4.57 40

Willis at 242 lbs = 4.51 40

Mayo at 241 lbs = 4.54 40

Pretty good company.

3:58 PM 
Blogger Jason said...

Do you think the injuries at the combine to Brian Orakpo and Rey Maualuga will make a difference when it comes to draft day?

4:28 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

They could if they're serious. For Maualuga, there already were some concerns about his ability in pass coverage and he ran a 4.83 in the 40 he got hurt on. If that injury's bad or if there were some concerns during his medical visits over the weekend then he could fall a few spots and might be there at 20. Ditto Orakpo, though I think he started as a little better prospect than Rey and thus remains less likely to be there.

The think with either of those guys or Crabtree, their tape speaks plenty about the players they are and as long as they'll be ready for camp they won't fall too far. Think Jonathan Stewart last year who went 13th despite the foot injury.

5:19 PM 
Blogger Jason said...

Thanks Dave, I appreciate your insight.

5:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i keep going back to what schwartz said about not drafting positionally specific, and drafting the best player possible with the pick. that leads me to believe that aaron curry will be our first pick. i can only hope we trade up and snatch jason smith or eugene monroe before they get picked up though cuz we NEED an LT.

5:40 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I thought your post about Andre Smith mouthing and acting his way down the draft board was interesting. I'd personally take him at the number 20.

When this whole thing started I said I would love to see us move both bacus and raiola to guards. Draft LT and that Center out of Cal with the first picks in the 1st and 2nd rounds respectively. Use that 20th pick to nab a LB like Maulauga or J.L. . That being said.

I'd really love to see us if at all possible explore the possibilities of convincing someone to trade so we could move down to the 3 or 5th spot plus get another early second round pick. then maybe trade that second and one of our 3rds to move back up in the first. I think if the lions play their cards right they can really improve through the draft. To me I like the idea of getting Curry (only if we can trade down) and possibly landing a OT and that CB from Illinois if we can. but its the lions and we will see what they do.

10:50 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave nothing for two days...please don't tell me you have been working on MSU stuff.

11:13 AM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Got some MSU stuff to do tomorrow. Just wrote for the paper yesterday and had some other things going on. I'll have regular updates on here throughout the offseason, though.

11:37 AM 

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