The brutal truth
ALLEN PARK While Lions fans may be losing their patience (and for good reason), its going to take the Lions (1-7) a while to dig out of the hole that was dug by Matt Millen in his eight years as the Lions general manager.
Want proof? Millens five drafts from 2002-2006 yielded just one player (Ernie Sims) who is still with the team today. Thats atrocious. NFL teams build through the draft. The top picks are, of course, important, but the middle- and late-round picks are what differentiate the NFLs elite teams from the bottom feeders. (Of course, Millen wasted top picks too.)
Players drafted from 2002 to 2006 should be in the peak of their NFL careers. And what do the Lions have to show for it? One guy.
Under Martin Mayhew in April, the Lions drafted what appears to be a quality class. All nine draftees are on the regular roster or the practice squad. Safety Louis Delmas, a second-round pick, is arguably the best player in the secondary. Linebacker DeAndre Levy, a third-round pick, has excited the coaching staff, along with fourth-round pick Sammie Hill, a defensive tackle. Matthew Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew were gimmes.
It appears the Lions are heading in the right direction with Mayhew and his gang, along with the coaching staff. But its going to take a while to overcome the damage that Millen incurred on this team. No one wants to hear that, but its the brutal truth.