Draft no longer best part of season for Lions' fans
Going into this year’s NFL Combine and NFL draft is a little different for the Lions and not only because their first pick doesn’t fall until 23rd.
Three years ago they couldn’t make a mistake deciding which position to bolster through the draft because the roster was like Swiss cheese, full of holes.
Now the Lions’ needs are more specific.
Still their draft philosophy is basically taking the best player available from their draft board. (Note, their draft board while a secret doesn’t necessarily match any of the mock drafts you may see.)
Picking the best available player is within reason, though. Lions president Tom Lewand confirmed this week that they will not draft a quarterback with the 23rd pick in the first round.
“It was good to see Matthew Stafford stay healthy and a lot of young players starting to develop,’’ ESPN analyst Todd McShay said in a conference call on Thursday. “There’s a lot to build around there really is, they’ve drafted very well in the last few years. Running back is one position they’ve had some problems with, for the most part they’ve drafted well.’’
The Lions drafted Jahvid Best late in the first round of 2010 even though he had a history of concussions. He missed the final 10 games plus the playoff game this past season with concussion issues that may or may not be related to his past. The only problem with drafting Mikel Leshoure last year in the second round is that they didn’t project he would tear his Achilles on a fluke play during training camp.
Like most football folks, McShay sees the Lions needs at cornerback, offensive line and linebacker.
Left tackle Jeff Backus is expected to return, but he is 34 and has played a ton of football, 176 games over 11 years without missing a start.
At linebacker Stephen Tulloch, one of the Lions’ best defensive players last season, is a free agent as is Bobby Carpenter, a solid backup linebacker.
The NFL Combine is next week with the NFL Draft held April 26-28.
For Lions fans this used to be like Christmas, the best time of the year. Now that the Lions are winning it’s a little different. Important, but different.
For more on potential first-round cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dre Kirkpatrick, see TheOaklandPress.com.
(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Get Lions news delivered directly to your phone by texting the keyword "Lions" to 22700. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.)