Blogs > Lions Lowdown

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.


Report: Lions get their seventh-round pick back

After appealing the tampering charges filed by the Kansas City Chiefs in December, the Lions have now gotten back their seventh-round draft pick, according to a report by’s Mike Sando. That pick had been taken away prior to the appeal.

With the return of this seventh-round pick, the Lions will have six picks in the draft, April 28-30.

But, oddly enough, they will lose their seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft. They will still swap fifth-round picks with the Chiefs.

Were they guilty? Sounds like the answer was maybe just a little

The Lions have been mum on the charges and would not even confirm that they had appealed. That information was released inadvertently by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a few weeks ago.

No matter what the lockout situation is, the draft will go on. The Lions have the 13th overall pick to get things started.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions' Stafford and Twitter a match made in heaven

Matthew Stafford is a nice guy, but last season he just didn’t have much to say due to his shoulder injuries. It was understandable since he only started three games and the Lions didn’t want him to share any specifics about the injuries.

The Lions quarterback is rehabbing now following surgery on Jan. 21 and has found the perfect way to communicate -- on Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters.

His latest tweet came today (Wednesday) and sounds encouraging: “Icing down the shoulder after a long throwing session. Felt good again. Love rehabbing down here at andrews institute. Dallas this weekend!’’

The Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla., is run by Dr. James Andrews, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, who operated on Stafford.

To follow Stafford on Twitter -- @Staff_9. It’s a verified account.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions need a running back, is Leshoure the answer?

With the Lions saying good bye to Kevin Smith, they will be looking to add depth to the running back position behind Jahvid Best and Maurice Morris.

It’s one reason they had Illinois running back Mike Leshoure in for a visit today (Tuesday) at the practice facility in Allen Park.

Leshoure, who is 6-0 and 236 pounds, is a typical strong, physical Big 10 back. Last season he had 242 carries for 1443 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Illini. That works out to six yards per carry.

“I think I can bring versatility and leadership to an offense, especially for my position. I feel like I can run in between the tackles, but I can also run outside of the tackles and hit the perimeters at times to make guys miss.,’’ Leshoure said on the Lions web site.

The National Football Post has Leshoure rated as the second-best running back in the draft behind Mark Ingram.

He could easily fall to the Lions’ pick in the second round at 44th overall. It’s a matter of need and getting the best player who is still available on the board. It obviously also hinges on who they get with the 13th pick in the first round.

Each NFL team is allowed to bring in 30 draft prospects for visits.

The draft (April 28-30) is just over four weeks away. No matter what is going on with the lockout, there will be a draft.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)


Lions lose assistant coach to college ranks

Gunther Cunningham, the Lions defensive coordinator, is one who gives credit where it is due. Throughout the season he praised Daron Roberts, the assistant secondary coach, for his work.

Roberts is now leaving the Lions, per an ESPN report. He has accepted a job at West Virginia where he’ll be the special teams coordinator and inside wide receivers coach.

Roberts never played football beyond the high school level. He got his start in coaching by volunteering with the Kansas City Chiefs and then getting hired as quality control coach when Cunningham was with the Chiefs. He had been with the Lions for two years.

While he didn’t play football in college, Roberts is a University of Texas alum. He also has a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions give back to community in a big way

At least a few fans think the Lions have struggled in the past 10 years because they’re cheap. I totally disagree with that assumption. Just check out the payroll. (They were bad because Matt Millen drafted horribly, now they’re on their way back with a plan. It’s just going to take a bit to restock the shelves.)

One thing the Lions do that doesn’t get much attention is their program called Detroit Lions Charities.

On Thursday they announced they have awarded 92 grants totaling $372,173 to non-profit agencies in 2010-11.

For the 13th year a $60,000 grant will sponsor the Think Detroit PAL football league. Another $50,000 grant goes to the Communities in Schools for the Detroit Lions Academy, an alternative middle school.

Visited the academy this week and walked away totally impressed. Cheryl White, the principal, said when the academy was started in 2001 she thought they were the only recipients of Lions charity money because it wasn’t just a check, it was continuing support.

“Detroit Lions Charities is honored and privileged to partner with so many worthwhile charitable organizations that have demonstrated success in serving our community,” said Lions’ president Tom Lewand. “Their continued dedication to uplift the people of their communities is more proof of the commitment and pride citizens have for Detroit and the entire state of Michigan.”

They raise money through the annual kickoff luncheon, a golf outing (set for June 7) and a bocce tournament held at the Palazzo di Bocce in Orion Township. In 21 years the Detroit Lions Charities has raised almost $6 million.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Stafford has started to throw 2 months after surgery

The biggest question for the Lions’ offseason is the condition of Matthew Stafford’s shoulder following surgery on Jan. 21.

It appears there is good news and it’s from the young quarterback himself.

Stafford tweeted: “Just got done throwin shoulder is feeling good...stayin in athens with the boys for a few more unexpected days’’ Stafford, who played at Georgia, was in Athens, Ga., for the pro day this week.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters at the owners meetings earlier this week that he had full confidence Stafford would be ready for training camp.

Of course we don’t know when that will be.

While the players are locked out, Stafford is on his own for the rehab. But the team is able to monitor his progress even though they cannot speak to him.

Stafford’s Twitter account is @Staff_9 and is listed as a verified account.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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ESPN draft expert: CB Jimmy Smith possesses top 15 talent

Based on pure talent cornerback Jimmy Smith out of Colorado would likely be a top 15 pick in April’s draft.

Because of his position, the Lions have taken a close look at the 6-foot-2, 205-pound corner. He was one of the 30 players they selected to bring in for a visit so they could get to know him better.

Talent is just part of the story though. Smith’s off-field antics as a freshman at Colorado still follow him like a dark cloud. At the NFL Combine, Smith said he had learned from his mistakes which happened when he was a freshman and redshirt freshman.

Because of the question marks that surround Smith, Todd McShay, ESPN Scouts Inc. director of college football scouting, has Smith going early in the second round. It’s quite a change from when McShay first saw him on film.

“That's the whole thing, it's a risk-reward proposition. I remember watching tape of him when we first started really breaking down this group of cornerbacks in late fall. I said to myself no one's talking about Jimmy Smith, he's got a lot of talent. When coaching tape came in and I started watching more and more games I actually had him basically neck-and-neck with Prince Amukamara from Nebraska with what I saw on the field,’’ McShay said in a conference call on Wednesday.

“Then I started asking everyone in the league what's going on, why isn't Jimmy Smith right up there with those other guys? Am I mis-evaluating him because I don't see anyone talking about him and when the top cornerbacks are brought up he's not in the discussion.

“And then I found out obviously about some of the off-the-field stuff and character concerns. I hope he gets his off-the-field issues squared away and I hope he gets his mind right and is able to focus on playing football,’’ he added.

“If Jimmy Smith does, he has a chance to be a really good starting cornerback in the NFL. Because of that risk, there's a strong chance he goes from where he should be drafted in the top 15 picks from a talent perspective, falling all the way out of the first round,’’ McShay concluded. (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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ESPN's scouting expert McShay sees Lions drafting CB Amukamara

Todd McShay, ESPN Scouts Inc. director of college football scouting, thinks there’s a chance the Lions will be able to draft cornerback Prince Amukamara (Nebraska) with the 13th overall pick. That's how he has the pick in his latest mock draft.

Amukamara would appear to be a perfect pick for the Lions who have to beef up the secondary either through the draft or free agency.

However, Amukamara who is rated as the second-best corner in the draft behind Patrick Peterson, could be gone at that point.

“I think linebacker is the biggest need after corner when I look at Detroit and look at their impact players. I think they’re one or two impact players away at the linebacker spot,’’ McShay said in a conference call on Wednesday morning.

“The problem is at 13 who are you going to bring in that’s worth that pick. I think the answer is you’re not going to find someone. If it’s not Amukamara I get the sense that maybe offensive tackle becomes the spot that they go to,’’ McShay added.

McShay has four defensive linemen, two quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton), two wide receivers, two offensive tackles, one linebacker and one cornerback (Patrick Peterson at seventh to San Francisco) going in the first 12 picks.

In the second round of his mock draft he has the Lions taking OG Danny Watkins from Baylor.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Would fewer kick returns be good for the NFL?

The NFL owners, who are meeting in New Orleans, are likely to vote Tuesday on what could result in a huge change to the rules.

In the interest of cutting back on injuries (at least that’s what they say), they are looking at moving kickoffs from the 30-yard line back to the 35 where they were in 1994. They were moved back to the 30 to add more excitement to the game in the form of kickoff returns. From the 35-yard line there were fewer returns.

So now the fewer returns, in their eyes, could mean fewer injuries. Where do you draw the line?

These same owners have also wanted to increase the season from 16 games to 18 games which would definitely cause more injuries. So it’s difficult to imagine injuries are forcing this move.

Coach Bill Belichick spoke out against the change on Monday. Reportedly other coaches agree with him.

Don't know what the Lions think. But you know they've got a good weapon in returner Stefan Logan.

What do you think? Let me know.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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NFL's Goodell can't sugar-coat the truth

If one thing is clear to fans during the NFL’s lockout of the players, it’s that they will be the ones who will eventually pay. Not figuratively, but literally.

The league already makes $9 billion a year in revenue and, obviously, that comes from the pockets of the fans.

In an online live chat on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked how the lockout will impact fans. The question included the line “fans are and should be frustrated.’’

Goodell’s response was: “The fans should be frustrated and I share that frustration. We need an agreement that will ensure the future of the game. We are well aware of the rising prices for fans attending our games. We are trying to slow the growth of costs so we can be affordable to the broadest number of fans possible. We recognize what the fans are going through.’’

Actually if both sides were concerned about the fans, a deal would already be in place. It’s that simple.

And fans are right, eventually they will pay for this with higher prices for tickets and merchandise.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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If lockout lingers, it could be an advantage for the Lions

The NFL lockout is clearly a lose-lose situation, especially for the fans. However, depending on the length of the lockout, the Lions could be sitting pretty.

At least prettier than the eight teams that have hired new coaches in the offseason -- Carolina (Ron Rivera), Dallas (Jason Garrett), Cleveland (Pat Shurmur), Denver (John Fox), Minnesota (Leslie Frazier), Oakland (Hue Jackson), San Francisco (Jim Harbaugh) and Tennessee (Mike Munchak).

The longer the lockout drags on, the less time those new coaches will have to get to know their players and install their schemes. The two exceptions are the Vikings’ Frazier and Dallas’ Garrett who were both interim coaches last season after the firings of Brad Childress and Wade Phillips.

The Lions have a good core group of players who have either a season or two under coach Jim Schwartz. Obviously there will be newcomers in draft picks and free agents, but at least most of the players know the system.

If you’re looking for an advantage for the Lions’ 2011 season, that may be it.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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NFL to release schedule in April

Despite the lockout of the players by the owners, the NFL will release its 2011 schedule as planned sometime in mid to late April per No date has been set. Last year the schedule was released the same week as the draft.

We do know that the Lions will be on the road at New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Denver, Oakland, Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota. At home they will face Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, Atlanta, Carolina, San Francisco, Kansas City and San Diego.

This year’s draft is scheduled for April 28-30 and will go on no matter what is happening with the lockout situation.

Here’s a sobering thought, the opening Sunday of the season will be Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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The 7 people in every NCAA Tournament pool

First, we're taking a brief break from discussing the Lions and instead taking a look at the NCAA Tournament pool and those participate.

Second, got this list from I can't take credit for something I didn't write, although in this case I wish I could. Enjoy.

The 7 People in Every NCAA Tournament Pool

1. The guy who takes it way too seriously

Why He’s Doing It: He’s in this and 15 other pools as a way to fill the void left by his high school basketball career. (They could’ve won Districts!)

How He Picks Teams: Based on a 55-point system he developed while skipping a week of work, which combines the analysis of more then 150 experts.

Where He’ll Finish in the Standings: Just out of the money. But it’s OK — he “totally won” every other pool he was in.

2. The guy whose alma mater is in the tournament

Why He’s Doing It: Not really a basketball fan, but his alma mater — Something Something Directional State at Someplace (there may also have been a “Tech” in there) — is in the Tournament for the first time in 50 years!

How He Picks Teams: He’s picking the alma mater, the Fightin’ Embarrassments, to win it all even though they’re so bad they were slotted for the play-in game. The rest of the field will be picked by his cat.

How He’ll Finish in the Standings: In second-to-last place … but he would have won it all if he hadn’t picked his alma mater.

3. The trash talker

Why He’s Doing It: Literally the only reason he’s doing it is to have a chance to look at your bracket and say something like: “Really? Them? That’s, uh … interesting.”

How He Picks Teams: What teams he picks are not important. What is important is what team you picked, because it will always be the wrong team and this will bring great joy to his big, stupid face.

How He’ll Finish in the Standings: Out of the running for money, but one place ahead of you because the universe hates you and you will never be truly happy.

4. The husband-wife or girlfriend-boyfriend team

Why They’re Doing It: They’re taking this as an opportunity to become closer with one another.

How They Pick Teams: Together, as partners. Whether they win or lose is irrelevant because they’re sharing in this fun activity!

How They’ll Finish in the Standings: In last place and separated by the time The Masters rolls around next month.

5. The boss

Why He’s Doing It: To fit in with everyone else and show them that he’s a pretty cool guy. But mainly to keep an eye on everything and make sure no one is using too much company time or property.

How He’ll Pick Teams: He’s read every self-help and leadership book ever written by a coach, he uses their terrible advice each day in the office and he’s picking their teams to get to the Final Four BECAUSE THEY KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE!!!

How He’ll Finish in the Standings: In the money. Money he doesn’t need. And money he’ll use to upgrade to an even douchier Bluetooth earpiece.

6. Random woman who knows nothing about sports

Why She’s Doing It: She initially thought she was signing up to bring jello to a coworker’s office birthday party.

How She Picks Teams: Cutest mascot or, if neither mascot is cute, whichever team’s colors come closest to reminding her of spring. Oh, how she loves spring! Where She’ll End Up in the Standings: 1st place!

7. You

Why You’re Doing It: To have some fun, gain a rooting interest in the NCAA Tournament and maybe win some money.

How You’ll Pick Teams: Using the knowledge you gleaned from whatever college basketball you watched this year, a couple minutes of additional research, and then some hunches and upset picks.

Where You’ll End Up: Way out of the money, but glad you did it. (Note: this is the general “you.” Not you you. You’ll be TICKED.)

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Lions' season ticket sales up, but season now in jeopardy

After a strong finish to the 2010 season, Detroit Lions season ticket deposits -- both renewals and new season tickets -- are up from this point last year.

Too bad the 2011 season is in jeopardy after the NFL owners locked out the players after negotiations broke down on Friday and the NFLPA filed decertification papers.

Season ticket holders were to receive notice from the Lions on Saturday about the lockout situation.

“I think it’s important to maintain great communication with them. The bottom line is they want us to play ffotball. they’re not interested in which side has what,’’ Lions president Tom Lewand said on Saturday “... They’re interested in watching Lions football. We understand that, we get it, that’s what we’re focused on as well. We want to play football we want to build on the last four games last year.’’

It’s all in the courts for now.

However, it’s not like everything has gone dark at the Lions offices and practice facility.

Lewand said the team is focused on preparing for the 2011 season. In fact, he must have said it about a dozen times during a conference call with beat writers on Saturday morning because he can’t say much else.

The next step is up to a federal judge who will decide if the lockout is legal and will stand. If he rules against the lockout, free agency could open and the doors to the practice facility would be open for the players’ offseason workouts.

If the lockout stands, everything except the draft will be on hold until an agreement is reached.

Lewand said the team is prepared for every contingency when it comes to free agency. It was set to start March 4, but only if a new collective bargaining agreement had been reached.

The NFL draft, April 28-30, will go on and the preparation continues for that.

Another big question looms for the Lions and the other NFL teams. When the players return, how will team unity be affected.

For success, players must respect the coaching staff and management. That goes

“We have a lot of respect for our players, I personally have a lot of respect for the guys in our locker room what they’ve done tio help build our program over the last couple of years. that level of respect isn’t going to change one bit,’’ Lewand said.

“I know those guys want to play football and I have both personal and professional relationships with a lot of those guys in the locker room. But more importantly organizationally we have a lot of respect for them and they are obviously critical to what we are trying to accomplish as an organization and football team,’’ he added.

While other NFL teams had announced possible furloughs and layoffs prior to the lockout, that is not in the immediate future for the Lions.

“Nothing immediately. We aren’t going to get into specifics about what the plans are, but at least in the near term as we prepare for the draft as we get ready we are not making any modificiations there’ll be no changes in staffing as a result of the lockout, there’ll be no changes in salaries as the result of the lockout right now,’’ Lewand said.

And then again he mentioned they are focused on getting ready for the 2011 season.

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

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Lions' Lewand says hope, expectation is to play football in 2011

Lions president Tom Lewand said the Lions’ focus continues to be on preparing for the 2011 season, despite the fact the NFL owners have locked out the players following a breakdown in negotiations on Friday followed by the NFLPA filing for decertification.

Lewand spoke to beat writers on a conference call on Saturday morning.

“From our perspective what’s most important right now is No. 1 getting ready to play football in 2011. Everything we’ve done since the season ended in 2010 has been geared toward that.

“Obviously with things like preparing for free agency, which is not taking place right now, preparing for the draft which will take place and getting ready for that. Our coaching staff has spent considerable amount of time recapping the 2010 season going through the cu-tup process, re-doing the playbook much as they have following every season.

“Our preparations continue. Nothing that’s happened in the last couple weeks, nothing that’s happened in the last couple of days is going to change that focus for us. Our focus continues to be on the 2011 season. Our hope and our expectation is that we’re playing football this year,’’ Lewand said.

Like everyone else he is uncertain when free agency will start. Reports are that it could happen in the next few days, weeks or months.

Lewand said they are prepared for every contingency.

Also they have mechanisms in place where they can monitor the progress of the rehabilitation of any player who was injured playing football last year. They can’t talk directly to the players, but can keep track of their progress.

He noted that a letter was sent to season ticket holders on Saturday morning explaining the situation. Lewand said season ticket deposits have started coming in and the numbers are up over where they were last year.

Lewand said he doesn’t expect any staff layoffs at least while preparing for the draft which will take place April 28-30.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Collective bargaining not way to go for NFLPA

The NFL has issued a lengthy statement regarding the lockout notice that was issued just after midnight.

Here’s one interesting point especially with collective bargaining being a hot topic issue in Wisconsin and around the country: “At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham ‘decertification’ and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement.’

Something to think about.

Will have more within the hour of how the lockout affects the Lions, following a conference call with team president Tom Lewand.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Three possibilities today for NFL

It’s a huge day for the NFL and NFLPA with a 5 p.m. deadline today (Friday) to get a new collective bargaining agreement done.

Here are three possibilities:

1. A new agreement is reached by 5 p.m. Don’t hold your breath. This seems a remote possibility after all the sniping that went on between both sides last night on Twitter.

2. The owners and players union agree to another extension. If smart minds prevail, this will happen. The mediator needs to stand strong here. The owners can blame the players and vice-versa. However many fans will just see it as a greed issue and they don’t care who is right. They have little sympathy for two groups trying to split $9 billion in revenues. That’s $9 billion -- with a B. They want football.

3. The players union could decertify before 5 p.m. Then they would likely seek an injunction to prevent a lockout. Conflicting reports say getting an injunction could take from as little as a week to months.

Stay tuned.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions take a look at Jimmy Smith, projected first-round CB

Jimmy Smith flashes an Isiah Thomas like smile. The cornerback from Colorado oozes personality, but he carries off-field baggage and was well coached on what to say at the NFL Combine.

Smith, who is projected as a first-round pick in the NFL draft, reportedly (per is meeting with the Lions today. He is one of 30 potential draftees they are allowed to bring to Detroit to get to know better.

Smiles and charisma are one thing, but expect Lions general manager Martin Mayhew to dig deep. Smith had some problems with the law -- involving drugs and alcohol -- early in his career at Colorado.

He explained it this way at the NFL Combine: “I got an MIP (minor in possession of alcohol) my true freshman year at training camp. I walked outside with a red cup that had nothing in it and you can't have a red cup in Boulder so I got caught for that. It was lack of judgment.’’

He didn’t dodge questions about his past at the Combine, he was prepared on how to handle the situation.

“Just going in that room and being honest, that’s all I can control. Like I said I went to college and I made some mistakes, but all of them were freshman and sophomore year, actually my redshirt freshman year, so two freshman years,’’ Smith said.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects Smith as a late first-round pick. He has him rated as the third best cornerback in the draft after Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Prince Amukamara (Nebraska).

The Lions need a cornerback, but when they pick at No. 13 Peterson and Amukamara are expected to be gone. Kiper said Smith would be a reach at the 13th spot.

But if Mayhew, a former NFL cornerback, likes him then perhaps that could change. Smith is 6-2, 211 pounds, a good-sized corner.

“I have long arms so I don't have to be all the way in the hip pocket of the receiver. Sometimes I think the quarterback has to place the ball perfectly or I can get my hand in there,’’ Smith said.

The NFL draft is April 28-30, no matter what happens with the current negotiations.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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ESPN's Kiper: Lions could draft OT Tyron Smith

Before the NFL Combine, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper had the Lions taking cornerback Jimmy Smith (Colorado) with the 13th overall pick in his mock draft.

Now he’s expecting the Lions might go with offensive tackle Tyron Smith out of USC.

In a conference call today (Wednesday) Kiper said he does not think CB Prince Amukamara will fall to 13th to the Lions. He said that’s “a little early” to draft Jimmy Smith out of Colorado. He expects Jimmy Smith, who has off-the-field concerns, to go in the 20-30 range.

“(The Lions) might not be able to go corner,’’ Kiper said.

Then he mentioned Matthew Stafford needs protection to keep him upright through 16 games and into the playoffs. Yes, he sees the playoffs as a possibility.

Kiper said he thinks four offensive tackles will go in the first round and that Tyron Smith will be the first to go.

“Some would argue that (13) is too early,’’ Kiper said.

Behind Smith he ranks offensive tackles in this order -- Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College) and Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin).

Tyron Smith played right tackle weighing 280-285 at USC, but weighed in at 307 at the NFL Combine. He’s always played at right tackle, but Kiper said he could be moved inside at least early in his career.

Kiper said another option for the Lions would be to trade out of the 13th spot. While last year picks from 10 to 20 were the hot spot for trades, Kiper expects trades are possible all the way through the first round this year.

The NFL draft is set for April 28-30. Even if there is a lockout, the draft will happen.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Suh says no reason Lions can't finish 16-0

Is Ndamukong Suh a little crazy or does he know something we don’t?

The Lions’ defensive tackle thinks the sky is the limit for the 2011 Lions -- no question. That’s what he said on the NFL Network’s "Total Access" show.

“I don’t see there’s a reason why we can’t be 16-0. As long as we put in that hard work throughout -– I don’t know if we’re going to have OTAs, but throughout camp and getting ready for that 2011 season — as long as we stay healthy and are putting in that work, I think we should be happy with what we end up with,’’ Suh said.

The Lions finished last season at 6-10 so 16-0 would be quite a jump. The team hasn’t had a winning season since 2000.

How crazy is 16-0? Let me know what you think.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Would an 18-game season change everything?

With the NFL/NFLPA negotiations back under way today, money is not the only issue. One huge question remains: Will the players agree to lengthen the season to 18 games?

The owners want to give up two of the four preseason games and extend the season.

Of course, this would mean more money in their pockets. But they aren’t the ones suiting up for the long haul. At the end of a 16-game season, bodies are bruised and battered and there’s still the playoffs (for some teams).

It will be interesting to see what happens if this goes through. Will coaches rethink the way they use players through the season? Will they move them in and out more often? Does this mean depth is more important than ever?

More questions than answers at this point.

Would you prefer an 18-game schedule or are you comfortable with 16? Let me know what you think.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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NFL talks: Immediate future hinges on today's actions

This is the day that could determine the immediate future of the NFL. On Thursday the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a 24-hour extension of the current collective bargaining agreement.

Today (Friday) if they agree to a short-term extension of a week or so, that could only mean they are closer to a new agreement than not.

Michael Silver’s excellent piece on spells it all out.

In it, he writes that “for the first time key figures in each camp believe a deal is highly achievable.’’

It’s not a done deal, but certainly there is optimism.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Report: Lions' RB Kevin Smith not offered contract

According to reports, it appears RB Kevin Smith’s days in Detroit could be over. Smith was not offered a tender by the Lions and will become an unrestricted free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Smith, a Lions’ third-round draft pick in 2008, was slowed down this past season by a number of injuries. He was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 20 due to thumb surgery. He was coming off ACL knee surgery in 2009. He also had shoulder issues.

In 2010 Smith played in just six games with 34 carries for 133 yards.

The Lions will rely on Jahvid Best, a first-round pick in 2010, along with veteran Maurice Morris. They could pick up another running back in the draft or free agency.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

NFL talks ongoing as midnight deadline approaches

With tonight’s 11:59 p.m. deadline fast approaching, there are reports that the NFL wants to extend the deadline for contract negotiations. The current collective bargaining agreement expires tonight.

This afternoon both sides are still meeting with a mediator.

An extension would be a good sign that perhaps both sides think they can get a deal done in weeks, not months.

If there is no extension, the owners will likely declare a lockout and the NFLPA could announce union decertification. If the union does not certify before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, they would have to wait six months.

A decertification could be their best weapon, they would then ask a judge for an injunction to prevent the lockout. Many experts think if the NHL players would have decertified back in 2004, they could have avoided a year-long lockout.

Stay tuned here for details as they come along.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions tender Avril at 1st and 3rd round levels

The Lions proved that defensive end Cliff Avril will play a role in their future plans by tendering him at the first- and third-round levels. Avril confirmed the action through his Twitter account.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has said he planned to tender a number of potential free agents.

Avril, 24, is a restricted free agent. After the NFLPA collective bargaining agreement is resolved, he could sign an offer sheet with any team. If the Lions didn’t match the offer, they would receive that team's first- and third-round draft picks.

Avril tweeted, “Looks like I'll be in the D one more year atlease.... Yall kno I love the D.’’ (@CliffAvril)

Avril, who played at Purdue, played and started in 13 games last season, finishing with 8.5 sacks and 33 tackles. He has 19 sacks in his three NFL seasons.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Indianapolis ideal situation for Super Bowl XLVI

Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the NFL Combine that wraps up today, will host the Super Bowl next February. Indications are it should be an ideal situation that Mother Nature won't be able to wreck.

The stadium is located downtown in a thriving area full of restaurants and drinking establishments.

Also, the downtown is connected by a system of tunnels and indoor walkways that will take the weather out of the equation if it’s cold and nasty like it was in Dallas several weeks ago.

Indianapolis gets snow and ice and knows how to handle it, unlike Dallas. On Thursday night an ice storm there was followed by about 5 inches of snow. It took a solid 10 minutes to scrape my car windows and I was not looking forward to the drive. I had about a 15-mile drive in from the northern suburbs. I was directed to take a snow emergency route that took me within a block of the stadium. It was like taking Woodward to Detroit only it was more residential, it was scraped and salted by 6:45 a.m. and there wasn't a hooker in sight. It was an easy drive on a horrible snowy day.

If you ask me it all sets up for a good situation for a Super Bowl.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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