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More from Kiper: Curry's a middle backer, Ringer top local product

Here's a few more highlights from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's teleconference today:

• On whether Wake Forest's Aaron Curry can play middle linebacker, the position the Lions say they'll use him at if they draft him No. 1: “I think he's an outside linebacker. I think he's a versatile kid, he can do some things. I compare him to kind of like a Keith Bulluck type. People say Keith Bulluck didn't go to late. Keith Bulluck's been one heck of a player in the NFL for a long time and very consistent, very durable, very versatile.

“I think Curry can do it. I wouldn't count it out. I just think as an outside linebacker, he's not going to be a great pass rusher but he's a pretty decent one. And people underestimate his ability there and granted he's not going to be a great (rusher) but he'll be good enough, he can cover, he's a great special-teams player. But as a linebacker, drafting him based on how he does at that position, he's a complete linebacker.”

• On Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford and the knock that he's not a big-game quarterback: “People say, well, Matthew Stafford doesn't play great in big games. I beg to differ. The kid was 3-0 in bowl games. He led his team to a state championship in Texas in the high school ranks his senior year. They hadn't won a state championship in 40 or 50 years. So this notion that he hasn't won big games, he won three bowl games in a row ... plus the state championship his senior year. The kid has won games and he has done some things on the field that nobody else can do in terms of the throws he can make. There's a lot to be said about that.

“That's why these guys in the NFL are getting paid to be coaches, they're getting paid to tweak problem areas, to tweak certain things to make them better. This notion you have to be a finished product, what the heck do we have coaches for in the NFL? We got 20 coaches on these staffs it seems like. We got more coaches in the NFL now than we've ever had and it's their job to take a kid who's not a finished product and make him a finished product.”

• It's not a great year for in-state prospects. Michigan doesn't have a player likely to go on the first day of the draft, though Morgan Trent, Will Johnson, Terrance Taylor and Carson Butler (as a tight end) are all mid- to late-round possibilities. Brian Hoyer's in the same boat for Michigan State, and running back Javon Ringer may be the first local-college product off the board somewhere in Rounds 3-5. “He's not big but he can be a workhorse, he can catch the ball, he can block, great character,” Kiper said. “I think he's a third- to fifth-, third- to fourth-round type of guy.”

• Kiper said he expects Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman to be gone by the time the Lions pick at No. 20. Teams at 17, 18 and 19 – the Jets, Bears and Buccaneers – are in the market for quarterbacks. “I just think when you're that big and you have that kind of arm and you didn't have a great team around you, somebody's got to take you in the first round, especially when there's no other quarterback going until the fifth round,” Kiper said.

• On USC middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, whose pro day the Lions will attend April 1: “I thought his junior year he was more of the impact guy, made more big plays,” Kiper said. “This year I don't think he got off of blocks as (quickly), he didn't make the play at the line of scrimmage to be that type of player, that (Junior) Seau, wow-type player. He was more of a wow player as a junior. I think he could go in that 20 area to Detroit. They need a face of the defense at the middle linebacker spot.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

animal jr over rey ANY day, thank you. if both of them are there, for the love of poo, take animal jr if you wanna draft an LB.

dave - what do you think of the new lions logo?

1:58 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Never answered that a couple posts ago, did I? It's OK. Doesn't strike me as some revolutionary logo that will make fans forget the not-so-glory years. A reader e-mailed me a version that he came across on a message board a week or so ago so I've had some time to digest. The Lion definitely looks more ferocious. That's good. The "Lions" script, eh.

4:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think BEAST looks bad ass, esp up close. i've got him and bubbles as a background on my desktop and it looks like beast is gonna pounce on bubbles and totally make him his bitch.

all these 'fans' saying they should have went all out and completely redesigned the logo are nuts. you can't just go and completely overhaul a logo that has been with the franchise for most of its life.

i also do NOT want to see the throwbacks as the alternate uniform. would rather see the black and blue uniforms instead, but maybe that's just me.

4:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that j smith article was awesome. like you dave, i'm off the drafting curry #1 too. i've flip flopped between curry and smith and am now back to smith. that guy is def a rags to riches story and it seems like every smith that has played in the nfl, for the most part, has been very good.

i think it'll be jason smith with our first pick if we can't trade down. gotta build from the inside out.

5:12 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

If they don't take Curry, and Maulaluga and Laurinitus are gone, they could be in trouble. There is a big drop off after those three at the MIKE position. OLB is stacked but they already brought in Peterson.

6:55 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

I was working on my first mock a little bit earlier and I've got a decision to make at 20, DT or MLB. Both positions of need. At least the Lions have options at DT on their current roster. I've always been a Maualuga fan, but I'm hearing good things about Hood.

And on the logo, I do understand why they didn't totally start anew. I just wasn't wowed by what I've seen. I'd like to see it on a helmet up close and see the uniforms in person before giving an official thumbs up or down.

11:18 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the logo: Go big or go home. Why just doodle on the current logo? My wife--not a football fan--didn't even notice a change. I had to put the new and old logos side by side for her to see it. That's not really changing it. I think they missed an opportunity to go back and give us a cool take on the retro lion logo.

As it is: Not enough of a change for most people to notice. just enough change to piss me off because I have to buy new lions gear. Thanks, Lions.

8:55 AM 
Anonymous Steve said...

Dave I think you have to go MLB at 20, if they are gone at 33 we are screwed, where Hood, Jerry or Brace will for sure be there at 33.

9:07 AM 
Anonymous Steve said...

Do you know much about Stanley Arnoux? He was the starting MLB for Wake the last four years. He is smaller at 6'0 230, but he was second fastest 40 after Curry, 19 reps on bench, and he was a 4 yr starter. I am just afraid they are going to pass on MLB the first 3 picks and then you run out of options. Ellerbe is small 6'1 235, J. Phillips is 6'1 239. It just seems like we have to get one somehwere in teh draft, so why not try the guy who actually played the MIKE at Wake.

9:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


9:34 AM 

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