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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Lions' Mr. Irrelevant tries to make lasting impression

ALLEN PARK — Wide receiver Tim Toone doesn’t sound irrelevant. But since he was the final player chosen in the draft he is indeed Mr. Irrelevant. He embraces it and looks forward to the Mr. Irrelevant parade and festivities in Newport Beach, Calif.

What is more on his mind now, is trying to impress the Lions coaches throughout the three-day rookie minicamp which started Friday afternoon.

“I work hard, I’m just out there to compete with everyone. I want to make the play, I want to be able to get that first down, I think I bring that competitive edge they’re looking for in receivers. Just kind of a third-down guy, that slot guy that needs to get open and make plays to open up Calvin Johnson,’’ Toone said following practice.

He is a standout with his dreadlocks which he said he’s had for five years. Now he needs to be a standout with his ability as a wide receiver.

Suh, Lions rookies take the field for first time

ALLEN PARK — First-round pick Ndamukong Suh was on the Lions practice field for the first time in this afternoon’s opening rookie minicamp session. Even though we’ve seen game clips and know his size, he is an impressive looking tackle. Your eye is drawn to No. 90 on the field.

CB Amari Spievey, the third-round pick, experienced tightness in hip flexors during warm-ups so the decision was made to shut him down.

“He’s probably day to day,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said, adding that he’d like to get him on the field Saturday or Sunday. ‘One thing we don’t want to do is take something that’s minor and turn it into something worse.’’

T Jason Fox, the fourth-round pick who is coming off knee surgery, participated in individual drills only.

“We knew where he was in his rehab and we were comfortable. The one thing we wanted to

Minicamp sessions continue on Saturday and Sunday.

More on Friday’s workout later ...

Lions sign 7 rookie free agents

The Lions announced the signings of seven rookie free agents who are expected to participate in rookie minicamp which starts today and runs through Sunday.

They are: CB Aaron Berry (Pittsburgh), DT Robert Callaway (Saginaw Valley State), FB Matt Clapp (Oklahoma), TE Richard Dickson (LSU), WR Mike Moore (Georgia), WR Contrevious Parks (Stephen F. Austin) and LS Sam Scroggins (West Virginia State).

Check back later today for minicamp reports.


Lions fans shouldn't buy Super Bowl tickets just yet

Not a betting person, but love to check out the odds. an online betting site, released new odds this week following the NFL draft.

On Feb. 8, when Bodog first listed odds to win the 2011 Super Bowl, the Lions were one of seven teams at 100-to-1.

Since the draft, the new odds came out and the Lions are one of three teams at 80-to-1 odds (with Cleveland and Oakland). Four teams are 100-to-1 — Buffalo, Kansas City, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The Lions play the Bills, Rams and Bucs this season.

The top four teams considered Super Bowl favorites didn’t change from February to April, although the numbers did. Indianapolis (13-to-2) is now the favorite, followed by San Diego (8-to-1), New England (10-to-1) and New Orleans (10-to-1). Of those top four teams, the Lions play only the Patriots this season.

Comparing who will have more sacks in the 2010 regular season they have the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh at minus-200 and Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy at plus-160.

Something to chew on ...


Lions' LB Follett is one funny guy

In the latest video on his website, Lions linebacker Zack Follett is shown buying Barbie Band-Aids and feminine hygiene protection for the running backs who get in his way this season.

It’s a hoot. He’s wearing his Lions helmet, a ratty South Park T-shirt and goofy shorts while shopping at a local drug store.

See, he is already working hard to earn more playing time next season.

With the draft dust settled, a long look at the Lions’ roster shows no huge gaping holes to fill with the possible exception at linebacker. Two starters from last year, Larry Foote and Ernie Sims, are now gone.

But here’s the thing.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham loves Follett, a seventh-rounder in 2009 who played mostly special teams last season. Although toward the brutal end of the schedule the coaching staff put him on the field on defense occasionally. He did not let them down.

Follett is a hard-hitting, physical player who is a bit of a character. He tweets, he cuddles with real lions — you get the picture. He’s just the kind of guy that Cunningham loves. Follett will get coached up and have every chance to compete to start at the weak side.

The Lions could still sign or trade for a linebacker, but Follett will have a good chance to make his mark.

If you haven’t done so already check out his new video and his website at


Lions haven't closed door on Pacman Jones

Martin Mayhew has not closed the door on the possibility of signing free agent CB Adam “Pacman” Jones even though the Lions drafted CB Amari Spievey in the third round.

After the draft Mayhew, the Lions general manager, said they were evaluating everything.

“I wouldn’t say (Jones is) in play or not. Nothing’s really changed from the time we talked at the league meetings. At that time, I said the next step in the process with (Jones) would be to sit down and talk with him. We don’t have that scheduled; we haven’t planned anything about that. We’ll see how it goes,’’ Mayhew said.

Jones would present a low-risk, high-reward situation. Because of his off-field troubles his contract is bound to be laden with morality clauses and such. If he has turned his life around off the field, his speed and ability to cover would be a bonus for the Lions or any team.

Weeks ago the Lions made a trade with Atlanta for CB Chris Houston who is expected to start.


When judging Lions' draft, don't forget key trades

When analyzing the Lions’ draft it’s important to keep in mind the players they got in return for draft picks weeks before the draft started.

Martin Mayhew (Who knew he was such a deal maker?) worked out deals to bring in LG Rob Sims for a fifth- and seventh-round pick; a sixth-rounder and conditional next year for CB Chris Houston; a seventh-rounder for veteran backup QB Shaun Hill and last season traded a 2010 seventh-round pick for S Ko Simpson.

These players have to figure in to any draft analysis. There are three possible starters right there. Add DT Ndamukong Suh, RB Jahvid Best and CB Amari Spievey as possible starters and things are certainly looking up for the Lions. And that doesn’t include free agents DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson.

How many games will they win next year? Let’s not rush to judgment so quickly. Saying they will win more really means nothing. Of course they will win more than two. We’ll have to see how everyone gels on both offense and defense before we jump into the guessing arena.

Still, so far you just can’t deny the Lions are a much better team than they were on March 4, the day before free agency started.


Drafting Best was Lions' best move

Martin Mayhew, the Lions GM, calls his new running back Jahvid Best “lightning in a bottle.”

Lions linebacker Zack Follett, who played with Best at California, said in a tweet on Sunday that Best is not as fast as he looks on tape, he’s faster.

With rookie minicamp that runs Friday through Sunday, we will get our first glimpse of Best and perhaps his speed.

Mayhew has strived all offseason to make this team bigger and faster. Best certainly will help in the latter category.

He ran a 4.35 at the Combine that was measure by laser. Of course, it’s not just the speed that matters. This guy can find holes — he said his vision is his strength — and bust through for long runs. He could be a huge difference-maker for the Lions offense.

It appears the Lions had another great draft. Picking Ndamukong Suh was a no-brainer. Trading up to get Best was the Lions’ best move over the three-day event.


Lions take WR Tim Toone with last pick

ALLEN PARK — WR Tim Toone from Weber State earned the distinction of being Mr. Irrelevant in this 2010 draft when the Lions made him the final pick (255th overall) on Saturday.

Toone, who is also a returner, told a newspaper last week that he expected to be signed as a free agent and to be drafted would be a bonus.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver visited the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins, but not the Lions. He is 25 years old.

Lions take DE Willie Young

ALLEN PARK — Lions went back to boost the defense by taking DE Willie Young (N. Carolina State) with the first of their three seventh-round picks Saturday.

Young, who is 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, will be a 25-year-old rookie. He was the 213th overall pick.

He started all 12 games for the Wolfpack in his senior season and was a team captain. He’s light on his feet for his size, closes fast to the ball and shows good range.

He’ll likely be a developmental player much like OT Jason Fox who was selected in the fourth round today.

Fox may sit out Lions rookie camp

ALLEN PARK — OT Jason Fox ended his senior season in the operating room instead of a bowl game. But he timed it that way on purpose so he would be ready to start his NFL career healthy.

The Lions drafted Fox, who played at Miami, in the fourth round on Saturday.

He will be absolutely fine to start the season. He said he’s good to go now.

“I feel like I’m really far along in the process, I’m probably right at 100 percent, close to 100 percent,’’ Fox said in a conference call.

The Lions will proceed with caution when it comes to the rookie minicamp which starts Friday. Fox is coming off surgery to repair a patella tendon, an injury that he played with his senior season.

“We’ll just see how he is. He told me that he felt really good and he’s close to 100 percent, but he’s all excited. We want to make sure we have him in the fall, not in the spring. Our trainers will look at him and determine what he can and can’t do,’’ offensive line coach George Yarno said.

Yarno sees Fox as a developmental player who they will play on both sides, at least initially.

Lions will develop OT #JasonFox

ALLEN PARK — Jason Fox, a 6-foot-6, 303-pound OT from Miami, was the Lions fourth-round pick (128th overall) today.

Fox, a versatile our-year starter at Miami, where he has played at right and left tackle.

George Yarno, the Lions offensive line coach, looks at him as a developmental player and said he’ll try him on both sides.

Yarno interviewed him at the Combine and talked to him several times afterward. Fox said it was not a surprise when the Lions picked him.

He’s the second addition to the offensive line this offseason. The Lions traded for left guard Rob Sims weeks ago.


Lions like CB Spievey's physical play

ALLEN PARK — The Lions addressed a huge defensive need by selecting cornerback Amari Spievey in the third round Friday night.

General manager Martin Mayhew said Spievey, who played at Iowa, fits the Lions’ defense.

“It’s hard nowadays to find corners who are really solid tacklers, who are really physical players. This guy plays the game that way,’’ Mayhew said. “I think he’ll fit into our defense real well. He’ll come in, from Day One I think he’ll be a good player on special teams and compete for a chance to get a lot of playing time.’’

Lions' name game: Ndamukong and Jahvid

ALLEN PARK — Wonder what’s going on with the first names of the Lions’ top two draft picks? We have answers.

DT Ndamukong Suh — “you can call me Suh” — was named after a street in a small town in Cameroon, Africa, where his grandfather was a police chief. It literally means “House of Spears.”

His name is pronounced “En-dom-ah-ken Soo.”

New RB Jahvid Best’s dad used a little creativity for his first name. Jah means almighty in St. Lucia in the Caribbean where his dad David is from. So he combined Jah and the last part of David.

With Suh and Best, Lions' draft off to good start

All last season big plays were an issue for the Lions.

On defense they couldn’t stop the opponents’ passes and run of more than 20 yards.

On offense, they could rarely bust lose for a big gain.

They got help in both departments Thursday night when they drafted DT Ndamukong Suh and RB Jahvid Best.

Suh will not just help clog up the middle, he’s also a pass rusher. In fact, he’s a good combination of both. Along with new acquisitions DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and DT Corey Williams the defensive line is immeasurably better.

Best is known for his explosiveness. Long runs were his calling card at Cal. He touted his homerun ability in a conference call late Thursday night.

“(He has) the makings of some special things, tough to defend. This was a player we had a lot of good feeling for, and a guy that we had a plan for exactly how we were going to use him on offense,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said.

Thursday night was a great start to the 2010 draft for the Lions. You can never really evaluate a draft until the players have been in the system a few seasons. But this one is looking very good already.

Best a huge addition to Lions' offense

ALLEN PARK — As the first round of the NFL draft progressed, Jim Schwartz could feel his blood pressure rise.

The Lions coach wanted to draft running back Jahvid Best, but it would take a trade to do so on Thursday night. He was concerned Best wouldn’t be available today when the Lions had the second pick in the second round.

“This was a target guy we consider a blue-chip player. I think things get hectic on the sideline, Tom (Lewand) was on the phone making this trade and I wanted to grab the phone from him and start beating him with it to get him going,’’ Schwartz said.

The coach made the smart move and let Lewand, the team president, make the deal with the Vikings that moved the Lions up four spots to grab Best. Detroit gave up its second-round pick, a seventh-round pick (214th overall) and they flipped fourth-round picks.

At the end of the night, there were smiles all-around at the Lions practice facility.

Not only did they bolster the defensive line by drafting Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick, they addressed their concern at running back.

“He’s exciting, he’s lighting in a bottle. ... We needed a running back, we felt like there were three running backs in this draft we really liked. The other running backs got drafted and we felt we could move up there and get Jahvid Best and we made that move,’’ Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said.

Best had told reporters earlier this week that he had not had contact with the Lions. There was good reason for that. Mayhew was asked if he was laying in the weeds.

“Yes,’’ he said laughing. “We really liked him. It’s been a process. Jim has been very, very excited about the guy. We felt the smart thing to do was not to say too much about him.’’

The move caught Best off-guard.

“I was a little surprised, it wasn’t a team that contacted me a lot through the process. I’m fortunate to get picked up and I’m going to make the best of my opportunity,’’ Best said in a conference call.

The 5-foot-10 running back, who played at California, probably slipped in the draft because of concussions suffered in consecutive games last fall. Mayhew said Best was cleared by doctors at the Combine, by a concussion specialist and by Lions’ doctors. Best said the concussion is not an issue.

Best seems himself as another weapon in the Lions’ offensive arsenal.

He said one of his strengths is his homerun ability.

“I definitely can make a big play out of any play. And then I’m a complete back -- I can run, I can block, I can catch out of the backfield,’’ Best said.

That is what made him so attractive to the Lions whose offense last year did not display much big-play ability.

“This is a player that’s a weapon for us and with so many other weapons we’ve added on offense and the quarterback we drafted last year we have the makings of some firepower,’’ Schwartz said. “He’s a guy who can go the distance. We struggled with 20-yard runs last year, he’s got a lot of them.’’

Schwartz said he was hoping for two things in this draft. One was to draft Best.

“If we didn’t get him (I was) just praying he didn’t go to Green Bay or Minnesota or Chicago and have to defend against a guy like this. We see a lot of tricked-up coverages against Calvin Johnson. A guy that can beat a linebacker one-on-one can raise hell with those kind of coverages,’’ Schwartz said.

“He’s a homerun threat .... “He’s a human highlight film. He’s got some special abilities, he’s got magic as a runner. It’s stuff you don’t coach and he can stop and start in a heartbeat and this guy is super fast.’’

No wonder Schwartz wanted him so badly.

Now he’s got him and his offense has been upgraded significantly.

Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at Follow her on Twitter @paulapasche.


Lions' Mayhew on Best: 'Lightning in a bottle'

ALLEN PARK — Martin Mayhew describes running back Jahvid Best as “lightning in a bottle.”

That explains why the Lions general manager worked a trade with Minnesota to move up four spots to draft Best with the 30th overall pick in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft.

The Lions gave up their second round pick, one of their seventh-round picks and they swapped fourth-round picks with Minnesota.

“We needed a running back, we felt like there were three running backs in this draft we really liked. The other running backs got drafted and we felt we could move up there and get Jahvid Best and we made that move,’’ Mayhew explained.

It was a banner night for the Lions who drafted defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick.

They seriously upgraded their defense and offense in a four-hour span.

Coach Jim Schwartz was thrilled with both moves.

And he thanked owner William Clay Ford for making the financial commitment that allowed them to take a second first-round player. For comments from Jahvid Best, check back on Lions Lowdown later.

Lions' Suh expects to make immediate impact

ALLEN PARK — Ndamukong Suh said he didn’t know that Detroit was drafting him until his cell phone rang after the Rams took Sam Bradford with the top pick.

“Coach (Jim) Schwartz was very happy and eager to tell me I was going to become a part of the Detroit Lions. It put a smile on my face,’’ Suh said in a conference call on Thursday night about 90 minutes after he was selected by the Lions.

The 6-foot-4 defensive tackle from Nebraska is confident he can come in and make an immediate impact on the defensive line. He appreciates the fact he’ll be working alongside veteran DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, who coincidentally is also a Cornhusker.

Suh said it doesn’t bother him that he is coming to a team that was 2-14 last season. He was in a similar situation in college.

“It doesn’t bother me at all, I went to Nebraska knowing they were coming off a not very good season in 2004, not going to a bowl game and so forth. I think our class came in and turned that around. ... I think I can come in and help the Detroit Lions organization do the same thing,’’ Suh said.

The fans who wanted the Lions to draft him, are counting on that.

Lions make the smart pick with Suh

ALLEN PARK — As expected, the Lions chose Ndamukong Suh with their second overall pick. It’s a can’t-miss deal.

The Lions had the worst defense in the NFL last season. It’s been improved with the acquisitions of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and Chris Houston.

Suh is the icing on the cake.

It’s good to see the Lions make a solid pick for the second straight year.

The tough work though comes the next two days with rounds 2-7.

Suh told ESPN’s Suzy Colbert he was tingly and it was amazing.

He was shown on the phone just before his name was announced talking to Lions’ management.

“They’re very excited for me to come and I am definitely looking forward to it,’’ Suh said.


Lions' Schwartz a happy coach so far

ALLEN PARK — Coach Jim Schwartz has to be a happy guy. The draft is still a day away and his roster has been upgraded significantly.

It’s a sign of good things to come for the Lions. (Yes, it’s been years since the words “good” and “Lions” have appeared in the same sentence.)

“I like where we’ve been so to speak. I think our philosophy and strategy going in, we were able to accomplish that — pinpoint a couple players that fit exactly what we were looking for and go out and get them,’’ Schwartz said talking about Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson.

Then Martin Mayhew went into trade mode which made sense because there were a limited number of unrestricted free agents due to the no-cap year.

“There weren’t going to be as many free agents available and we still had needs. I thought Martin has done a really good job there working some of those later-round picks for guys that have been starters, that have the possibility they may be starters for us,’’ Schwartz said.

Compared to what they went into last season with, this is almost a new team.

“There’s still a lot of room, but I like where we’ve been so far,’’ Schwartz said.


Lions release 2010 schedule

For a team that has not won on the road since Oct. 28, 2007, it probably doesn’t matter much where the Lions start the 2010 season. As luck will have it, it will be in Chicago, the site of their last road victory. The schedule was released Tuesday night. It will be a tough start to the season with three of the first four games on the road at division opponents — the Bears, Minnesota (where the Lions last won on Dec. 14, 1997) and Green Bay where Detroit has not won since Dec. 15, 1991. The Lions get a nice break weatherwise with a pair of games in sunny Florida — at Tampa Bay on Dec. 19 and at Miami on Dec. 26. Their last win in Tampa came on Oct. 19, 2000, and they have never won at Miami. They also play at the N.Y. Giants where they have not won since Oct. 24, 2004; at Buffalo where their last win was Dec. 22, 1991; and at Dallas where they have not won since Dec. 31, 2006. As expected, the Thanksgiving game will be at home against the New England Patriots.

2010 Lions schedule

Sept. 12 at Chicago; Sept. 19 Philadelphia; Sept. 26 at Minnesota; Oct. 3 at Green Bay; Oct. 10 St. Louis; Oct. 17 at N.Y. Giants; Oct. 31 Washington; Nov. 7 N.Y. Jets; Nov. 14 at Buffalo; Nov. 21 at Dallas; Nov. 25 New England; Dec. 5 Chicago; Dec. 12 Green Bay; Dec. 19 at Tampa Bay; Dec. 26 at Miami; Jan. 2 Minnesota. (All games at 1 p.m. except Thanksgiving game which kicks off at 12:30 p.m.)

Lions' Vanden Bosch impressed so far

ALLEN PARK — While the Lions have been working out since March 16, today (Tuesday) was the first day of official Offseason Training Activities where both the offense and defense were on the field.

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was signed as a free agent from Tennessee, said it’s too early to really gauge where the defense is, but he likes what he sees.

“I was really surprised at the talent level, and like I said, the attitude. You wouldn’t know the difference if this team won two games last year or if this team was in the playoffs last year,’’ Vanden Bosch said. “Everybody has a real work-like attitude, there’s excitement and everybody is ready to get going.’’

Vanden Bosch has been working exclusively at right end. He’s well aware that the Lions defense has been among the worst in the NFL the past few years.

“I’m surprised — statistically not being a very good defense last year — I’m surprised at the talent level on this team and how good we look,’’ Vanden Bosch said. Since he played at Nebraska, he watched as many Cornhuskers games as he could last season to see DT Ndamukong Suh. Like everybody else he was impressed, but he'll leave the decision making up to the Lions personnel folks.


It's huge that new Lions want to be in Detroit

In the trade for tight end Tony Scheffler the Lions have found yet another quality NFL player who actually WANTS to be in Detroit.

That is huge. This team has won two games in two seasons and somehow Martin Mayhew has found guys — many through trades — who want to play for the Lions.

Scheffler, who grew up in Chelsea and played at Western Michigan, is geeked. He told a reporter he wants to "restore the roar." He will not be alone.

Left guard Rob Sims who grew up near Cleveland and played at Ohio State sees the potential too. After four seasons of playing in Seattle, not exactly a football mecca, he can’t wait to get back to football country.

Defensive tackle Corey Williams is excited about getting back to the NFC North where he excelled for a few years with Green Bay. He never fit in Cleveland, he should step right in with the Lions.

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch could have gone most anywhere and chose Detroit. Same for WR Nate Burleson.

What the Lions so desperately needed — besides a new wave of talent — was players with the right attitude. It seems they got both so far and they haven’t even drafted yet. Join me for an online pre-draft chat noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday at

New Lions TE Scheffler wants to restore the roar

Tight end Tony Scheffler, who the Lions got from the Broncos in a three-way trade today, is thrilled to be coming home to Michigan. He grew up in Chelsea and attended Western Michigan.

Scheffler told Mike Klis of the Denver Post he wants to “Restore the roar!”

And, if exclamation points mean anything, the happiness goes both ways.

LB Ernie Sims confirmed the trade with this tweet: “I’m n Philly!!!!” So he must be happy about the deal that sent him to the Eagles. It’s a new start for Sims who was drafted in 2006 by Detroit.

Lions trade for TE Scheffler, ship Ernie Sims to Philly

The Lions have acquired tight end Tony Scheffler from the Broncos in a three-way trade that also ships linebacker Ernie Sims to Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Denver will send a seventh-round pick to Detroit, according to the report. The Broncos will receive a fifth-round pick from Philadelphia.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for the 27-year-old Scheffler (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) who attended Chelsea High School and played at Western Michigan.

In his four seasons with the Broncos he’s had 138 receptions for 1,896 yards and 14 touchdowns. Last season he started in nine of the 15 games he played and had 31 catches for 416 yards.

The Lions were in the market for a tight end after the retirement of Casey FitzSimmons which was announced last week. Also they could have concerns about Brandon Pettigrew who is recovering from ACL surgery.

The 25-year-old Sims, who struggled with injuries last season, was drafted in the first round (ninth overall) by the Lions in 2006. He had 49 tackles in the 11 games he played last year.


Lions' Mayhew: This is good year to pick at No. 2

Martin Mayhew, the Lions’ general manager, prefers to remain tight-lipped about the Lions second overall pick in the NFL draft which begins on Thursday night.

But he does say that it’s a good year to have the second overall pick. That is not always the case.

“I would say this year being at No. 2 is a lot better than being at No. 2 the year (2003) we drafted Charles Rogers in the terms of the number of concerns you have with different players,’’ Mayhew said.

“The players that are there now, a lot of them — I’ve talked to a lot of people in the last week or so — head coaches and people who’ve been around these guys. A lot of these guys are solid, off-the-field character guys, relatively healthy guys, high-effort guys, very motivated, intrinsically motivated type of guys. There’s a good pool to pick from,’’ he added.

What he wouldn’t add — and who can blame him — is which of those highly motivated, high-character guys he will pick.

Join me from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday for an online, pre-draft chat at Also, follow me on Twitter @paulapasche.


Lions need a second-straight quality draft

Spending the day immersed in NFL draft info — while writing my five-part pre-draft series which starts on Sunday — only reminds me that the seven rounds of the NFL draft are indeed a crap shoot.

It’s a credit to the management of any team if they can pull off quality drafts year after year. The Lions did it last year, picking up five starters who they are using as cornerstones of the franchise. They need another quality batch to keep the momentum going. It starts with the second overall pick, but that could be the easiest decision they will make over the three days of the draft. It’s the later rounds that often pay off.

In gathering info I use a variety of sources and it’s amazing how they can differ on their ratings of players.

How much weight do you put on the fact that Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes tried to gouge out the eyes of a defender last season? Should it matter that his older brother was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison? Should it? I have no clue.

What about linebacker Chris McCoy from Middle Tennessee. The Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview on his negatives: “Lacks bulk and functional strength and gets knocked backward on contact.’’ Makes you wonder why he’s in the book.

Oh well, it’s all for fun — unless you’re Lions management ... Join me noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday for an on-line pre-draft chat at

Roethlisberger's behavior a black mark on NFL

Rape charges won’t be filed against Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but don’t be surprised if he is suspended for at least several games.

This week 572 pages of records of the alleged incident in Milledgeville, Ga., were released by police and they are damning. Records include witness statements from the alleged victim and her friends.

According to The Smoking Gun, the alleged victim’s statement in part said, “Ben asked us to go to his ‘VIP’ area. . . . We all went with him. He said there were shots for us, numerous shots were on the bar, and he told us to take them. His bodyguard came and took my arm and said come with me, he escorted me into a side door/hallway, and sat me on a stool. He left and Ben came back with his penis out of his pants. I told him it wasn’t OK, no, we don’t need to do this and I proceeded to get up and try to leave. I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom. He followed me into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. I still said no, this is not OK, and he then had sex with me. He said it was OK. He then left without saying anything. I went out of the hallway/door to the side where I saw my friends. We left (the club) and went to the first police car we saw.’’

District attorney Fred Bright concluded he didn’t have enough evidence to file charges, but he had some interesting advice for Roethlisberger: “It is unclear, it is foggy, what exactly happened in that bathroom, but if I was there coaching him I’d say, ‘Ben, you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to put yourself in a position where you’re alone in this dingy bathroom with you and this girl. That’s foolish. Grow up. You need to be a role model. You need to be a role model for your team, your city, the NFL. You can do better.’ And I hope he’s learned something from this. I really do.’’

Well said.

Roethlisberger just might have some down time to think about it.

Rumors have been floated that the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback could be traded, but who would want him?


Lions' Mayhew expects to keep 2nd pick

ALLEN PARK — Martin Mayhew, the Lions general manager, expects the Lions to use their No. 2 draft pick next Thursday instead of trading down.

“Right now if I had to guess what’s going to happen, which I hate to do, I would lean toward us being at two and picking. We’ve had some conversations with teams about moving back. At this point I would anticipate being a two,’’ Mayhew said Thursday at a pre-draft press conference.

Of course, he would not say who the Lions are leaning toward with that No. 2 pick. He wouldn’t even say how many players are in the running. He would say that the top of the draft board is loaded with talent and the top players rank very close to each other.

Mayhew said if he does trade down it will be for a specific player and he won’t go too far down the board.


Concussion forces Lions TE FitzSimmons to retire

The concussion Casey FitzSimmons suffered on Dec. 6, the last of several in his career, forced the long-time Lions tight end into retirement. He made the announcement through his agent on Wednesday. He is just 29.

“This has been a very difficult decision. I feel like 2009 was one of the best seasons of my career, because I was so consistent and was able to contribute in a variety of ways. If it wasn’t for the concussions, I would not be retiring,’’ he said in a statement.

“It’s frustrating because the rest of my body is still capable of playing at a high level in the NFL. However, given the seriousness of the risk associated with continuing to play, I have to listen to the advice the team has given me.’’

FitzSimmons, who was signed by Detroit as an undrafted free agent out of Carroll College (Mont.) in 2003, played in 99 games over seven seasons for the Lions.

Lions' new CB Houston votes for Suh

ALLEN PARK — New Lions cornerback Chris Houston is not shy about who he’d like to see the Lions draft with their second overall pick next week. He’s all for Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh because it would make his job in the defensive backfield easier.

The 25-year-old Houston, a second-round pick out of Arkansas in 2007, arrived a few weeks ago in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons where he had been a three-year starter. The Lions gave up a sixth-round draft pick this year and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2011.

Houston thinks he will fit right in, although he understands he’ll have to compete for the starting role.

“My skills I think are I have great speed and I can be physical with the press technique. The coaches are establishing that within the db group. They want us to be more physical and (defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) and coach (Jim) Schwartz like that in me and I think I can give that to the team,’’ said Houston Wednesday morning in his first meeting with the Detroit media.

Also, veteran free agent cornerback Lito Sheppard is visiting the Lions Wednesday and Thursday, according to


Kiper thinks Lions can't go wrong with Suh or McCoy

Draft day is approaching fast and still we wonder who the Lions will take with the second-overall pick, if they keep it and don’t trade down.

Obviously we won’t know until about 7:50 p.m. on April 22, but still two in the running are defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) and Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma).

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper loves them both.

“You could flip a coin on these two based on how they played and how they transitioned character-wise. Both of these kids are raved about by people within those programs -- coaches, players and teammates and opponents,’’ Kiper said in a conference call.

“Everyone raves about Suh and McCoy. Gerald McCoy is a phenomenal talent. To get those guys at pick No. 2 or 3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will just sit there and take which one is left. … In terms of the Lions, if you get either one of those players, I will be very surprised if down the road either of those players was considered a disappointment,’’ Kiper added.

DeVries thrilled to be back with Lions

It says something about Jared DeVries that after 11 seasons with the Lions, the veteran defensive end is thrilled to be back. DeVries signed a one-year $1.7 million contract on Monday, after being unsure of his future since the Lions released him in early March.

He knows he’ll have to compete to start at left defensive end and he is up for the challenge. DeVries started 29 games from 2006 to 2008.

“Well my vision is to be the starting left end, but obviously I’ll have to compete for that like I do every year. That would have been my role last year had I not gotten hurt, but like I said, it’s good to be back around the fellas and the competition is good and I look forward to it,’’ DeVries said in a conference call on Monday.

DeVries tore his Achilles in training camp last August and was out for the whole season. He said he participated 100 percent in workouts on Monday.

“Whatever the guys did, I did. I said that all along. The Achilles is the not the problem. There’s some calf strength that I’m still working on daily, but if we had to play tomorrow, I think I could go out there and compete,’’ he said.

DeVries said he thought the Lions had been concerned about his Achilles, even though he felt all along he would be back 100 percent.


Lions to host draft party at Ford Field

The Lions, who currently own the second overall pick, will host a draft night event at Ford Field on Thursday, April 22, from 7-9:30 p.m. The price is just right — free.

Fans can watch the draft which starts at 7:30 p.m., on Ford Field’s video boards. Also there will be tours of the Lions locker room, interactive youth clinics, an interactive area on the field including an obstacle course and quarterback challenge, and a chance to buy 2010 Lions gear at the pro shop.

This marks the first time the first round of the NFL draft will take place in prime time. Each team will have a 10-minute window to make its pick. Rounds two and three will start on April 23 at 6:30 p.m. and rounds four-seven will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday.


Haynesworth to Lions? Not as crazy as it sounds

Other than health care reform and the sticky situation with Afghanistan’s president, the possible trading of Redskins’ DT Albert Haynesworth must be one of the most discussed topics in Washington, D.C.

Haynesworth is not off to a good start with new coach Mike Shanahan who wants him to be a nose tackle in his 3-4 system. According to the Washington Post, he plans to skip voluntary workouts even though it was just one year ago that the team gave him a seven-year, $100 million deal.

How does this involve the Lions? Well, along with the Rams and Titans, the Lions are reportedly interested in acquiring Haynesworth.

This makes complete sense when you consider that Haynesworth played for coach Jim Schwartz who was his defensive coordinator while with the Tennessee Titans. Also, Haynesworth played alongside DE Kyle Vanden Bosch who will now line up for the Lions.

Add the fact that Lions GM Martin Mayhew has been extremely active in trading in the past month and tongues should be wagging. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting today that the Redskins are not interested in trading Haynesworth. That makes sense too since they paid him a $21 million bonus on April 1. But ESPN’s John Clayton reports that a trade of Haynesworth is “very possible.”

With Mayhew pulling off so many trades, nothing would be surprising.

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Rob Sims happy to be with Detroit Lions

ALLEN PARK — Put new Lions guard Rob Sims in the happy-to-be-with-the-Lions camp. The Lions pulled off a deal with Seattle for Sims on Monday and he passed his physical on Tuesday.

After meeting fellow teammates and coaches on Tuesday, he said the mood seems better in Detroit than it was in Seattle where they won five games last season. He agrees with coach Jim Schwartz that the Lions are a team on the verge.

After spending four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2006, he’s happy to be back in football country. He grew up in Ohio and played at Ohio State. Geographically, Seattle is out of the football loop and Sims noted that all they do is drink coffee and chit-chat. Football is not a huge deal out there, but it is to Sims.

Sims, who signed a one-year tender with the Seahawks last week, hopes to earn the starting spot at left guard which is where he’s played with the Seahawks. The 26-year-old guard wants to prove he’s worth a big long-term contract.

Read more about Sims in Wednesday’s Oakland Press.


Report: Lions trade for left guard Rob Sims

The Lions have made a trade with Seattle to bring guard Rob Sims to Detroit, according to a twitter report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Lions will send a fifth-round pick to the Seahawks.

The trade will fill the big, gaping hole at left guard and help solidify the offensive line.

Sims started 14 games for the Seahawks in 2009. He became expendable with the arrival of new coach Pete Carroll and a new system.

Sims was a fourth-round pick (128th overall) by Seattle in 2006. He played at Ohio State.

It’s the third major trade of the offseason by Lions general manager Martin Mayhew. He also traded Cleveland for DT Corey Williams and Atlanta for CB Chris Houston.

Of course Lions are interested in trading down

Rumor of the day is that the Lions are willing to trade down from their second overall draft pick.

It’s old news.

Of course they’d like to trade down. Getting a defensive tackle would be huge, but paying an untested rookie $30 million or so is not exactly a dream scenario.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said on Feb. 26 at the combine that trading down is an option.

“I think it will be tough. I think to me when I talk about draft I’m usually looking for value. You’re not going to find value in the top five or top six or seven even. You’re going to get a quality player, but you’re going to pay a premium price for that player. So the opportunity to move back is very attractive to us,’’ Mayhew said.

That’s pretty straight forward. But the problem is finding a team that wants to move up to draft Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. Just before the combine word had leaked that the Lions were interested in moving down.

“I think in a way it’s a good thing that got out because now teams know if they want to move up, we’re open to going back,’’ Mayhew said at the time.


Trade for Sims would be another great deal for Lions

Give credit to Lions general manager Martin Mayhew. With a 2-30 record the last two years, free agents are not exactly lining up to move to Detroit. The top two he signed — Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson — jumped at the move because they are familiar with the coaching staff.

So Mayhew has made deals. He traded a pick to Cleveland for defensive guard Corey Williams which was a steal. Also, he made a deal with Atlanta for cornerback Chris Houston. Detroit got the best of both of those moves.

Now the Lions, along with Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland, are in the mix for a deal which would ship the starting left guard Rob Sims out of Seattle. Sims signed a one-year $1.1 million tender with the Seahawks this week which cleared the way for a trade.

It would be another great move for Mayhew and the Lions because Sims would fill one of their biggest holes at left guard.

Seattle is reportedly looking to trade him because he would not fit in with the zone-blocking scheme that new coach Pete Carroll will install.

Sims started 14 games at left guard for the Seahawks last season.

There’s only one reason some Lions fans might not like him. He was a fourth-round pick in 2006 out of -- Ohio State.


Ford Jr., soaks it all in while Lions make draft picks

Bill Ford Jr., will not say who he thinks the Lions should take with the second overall pick. That’s what the Detroit Lions vice chairman told Frank Beckmann on WJR on Thursday morning.

At the end of the day, Ford says he is just a football fan. He’s been a Lions fan since forever, so obviously he has a great interest in the Lions’ draft.

He will be there on draft day, but won’t chip in his two cents.

“The one thing I learned along ago, first of all I don’t think Martin (Mayhew) would ask me because he knows better, because I just might give him an answer,’’ Ford told Beckmann. Mayhew is the Lions’ general manager.

Ford will be in the Lions’ war room and take it all in on April 22 when the draft starts. He still remembers being impressed by coach Jim Schwartz during last year’s draft. Schwartz got his start in player personnel and it showed.

“One of the things I noticed in last year’s draft was Jim’s interaction with the scouting department and with Martin was very different than with most coaches. Having been through all the scouting and preparation from the personnel side itself, his ability to translate for the scouts exactly what he’s looking for in scouting language was quite remarkable,’’ Ford said.