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Draft day blog: Stafford in the fold, what's next?

I'll be heading out to Allen Park to commence draft-weekend coverage shortly – after I post this blog and cut the grass – but a couple quick thoughts on last night's deal and where the Lions go from here.

First, I know there's some shock and even outrage at the contract Matt Stafford got, $41.7 million guaranteed with a reported maximum value of $78 million. Most of that stems from Aaron Curry's well-played declaration that he'd take a Jake Long-type deal to go No. 1 and Lions' fans general frustration with the pick. The truth is, the Lions paid about what they expected it was going to take to sign a quarterback at No. 1.

At the NFL combine in February, I asked general manager Martin Mayhew if the struggling economy would impact salaries at the top of the draft.

“I can't see it happening,” he said. “I mean the salary cap went up. And you see the (Nnamdi Asomugha) contract that was done (for three years and $45 million). I don't see that as impacting. When you talk about the top players, there's going to be a market for those guys and that market consistently, since the beginning of time, has gone up. So unless the cap comes down at some point I can't see the market coming down.”

The Lions zeroed in Stafford early on in this process and, despite reports, were intent on signing him all along. They could have got Curry for less, but they wanted Stafford and will pay a shade over what Matt Ryan made as the top quarterback and third pick overall last year.

Now, what does the Stafford deal mean for the rest of the draft? I take Mayhew at his word that he's determined to choose the best player available. Yes, they'll draft a middle linebacker at some point because they don't have one on their roster, but they won't reach for one in the first round if it doesn't mesh with their board. Ditto for offensive line help and every other position you can name.

Since this is considered a draft deep in offensive skill positions and rush linebackers up top, that might lead to some interesting choices. I'm curious from the fans out there, if say Rey Maualuga and Robert Ayers are off the board, how would you feel about Brandon Pettigrew, the draft's top tight end, at No. 20? What if they land defensive tackle at 20 and then go back to offense for a center/guard combo like Louisville's Eric Wood at 33, ignoring the defensive backfield and middle linebacker spots until Sunday?

There should be plenty of options at both picks, players like Wake Forest cornerback/return man Alphonso Smith, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis and Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace, and we all know the Lions have plenty of needs (especially on defense). But with a few hours to kill and only the guessing game to play, I wonder what will it take for you to come away liking the Lions' draft?

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Blogger ClusterFox said...

To answer your question, what would it take?

I think they need to follow through with the BPA strategy like you suggest. I think alot of fans felt mayhem had orchestrated a great spot for us, then kinda squandered it with the contract Stafford ended up signing. But if they go back to what they were preaching and pick up everything that falls to them I'll be happy.

When you think about the Mike spot under Schwartz, alot of Curry's talents would be wasted. So I'd be just as happy with a late round thumper to groom, and hoping for a someone like Foote to come available.

BTW- I agree with the Pettigrew idea as a great addition to our run game, and a much needed outlet reciever with superior athletic ability.


12:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

always hated mowing the lawn. hopefully you enjoy it or don't mind doing it, dave.

i'd like to see them trade back from the 20 or the 33 spot or both and acquire more picks.

12:32 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that they are NOT going to fill all their need areas this year. They just can't. It's impossible.

They just have to get what they can and then fill more of the needs next year.

There will still be some holes after this weekend and some fans will complain(probably many of the same ones who cheered the Mike Williams pick, so take that for what it's worth) but this is going to take more than 1 year and more than 1 draft.

12:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


They have to do BPA. I will be extremely upset if they reach for guys like Lauranitis who really is overrated and doesn't fit that thumper MLB role in this defence or for inside pass rushers like Hood and Jerry who also are pretty much useless against the run (moreso in Hood's case). Give me any combination of Brace, Mack, Wood, Pettigrew, DJ Moore, Louis Delmas, Rashod Johson, Scott McKillop, Jasper Brinkley, Rey Mauluga and i'll be ok.

12:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LB at #20
OT at #33
Then all DEFENCE!!!

1:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that regardless of need the Lions need to draft the best player available.

If Knowshon Moreno is the best available at 20 or a guy like Percy Harvin is available at 33 then you have to take him. There are too many holes on this team to think that they can be fixed in one draft.

I do think however, if there is a good enough offer on the table, the Lions would be best suited to move back and accumulate picks and/or players.

2:04 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...

"I think that regardless of need the Lions need to draft the best player available."

"I think that regardless of need the Lions need to draft the best player available."

Amen. No matter what we do in the draft we're not going to contend for the playoffs, this year or next. Its not about us filling our current needs to do the best we can next year. Its about doing the right thing for our future.

If you have an offensive player ranked way ahead of a defensive player (bigger need) we have to take the better player. We aren't good enough to pass on a future Jason Witten for a Boss Bailey (for example).

3:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest "NEED" for the Lions has to be defence. They have to take the best player available on that side of the ball.

3:45 PM 

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