By: Eric Thomas
Two weeks until the NFL Draft. First of all, I miss the old days of the draft. I think fondly about the Saturdays where the thing begins at noon. I sit there and watch an oddly distracted Chris Berman look like he would rather be anywhere else for several hours of useless speculation and Mel Kiper. Now the NFL, in their thirsty desire for everyone’s money and time, does only the first round in primetime.
I know that this is the third year they have done this but I still hate it. Thanks for taking one of my favorite days in sports and ruin it. As a Lions fan it was often the only day that I walked away with hope for years. Coming off a 10 win season makes this way less crucial, but I still long for days past. While we’re at it, get off my lawn.
With that out of the way, my draft hopes have been a bit of a moving target. I argued against guards and encouraged a running back pick. As the Polaroid has been shaken a bit, things now seem a little clearer. The running back class is pretty poor, and it looks like some pretty good talent will be available in later rounds. Also, the bad teams at the top of the draft (as bad teams often do) seem intent on grabbing offense. This has left a glut of excellent defensive talent (read that: Tide) raining down on the Lions heads. Possibly. Here is my wish list.
1 Dre Kirkpatrick (CB ‘Bama) or Jonathan Martin (OT Stanford). If both of these guys are on the board, I would not want to be Martin Mayhew. Martin would be an absolute steal, the kind of guy that would play tackle for the Lions for decades. Just like Jeff Backus. However, the Lions have signed Backus for two years. Kirkpatrick is a shutdown corner who played on the best defense in the country last year. In the early mocks, there was no way either of these guys dropped this far, but the Lions might get lucky. There are also experts who point at Stephon Gilmore, and I am a little reticent. Sure he has the measurements and all accounts say he is a really nice kid, but the SC D got torched a couple of times. Bama did not, and they played in the tougher division of the SEC.
2. Mark Barron (S ‘Bama) I would love this pick. Set him next to Louis Delmas and I the defense gets better immediately. You got to take Kirkpatrick if he is available but I would really love this guy in a Lions jersey. He isn’t quite as fast as you might want in a safety but the guy can hit. He isn’t just a run stuffer either; he can go get the INT. He nabbed 12 of them his career with the Tide. He reminds me of a Brian Dawkins kind of player, and it seems like a defense is almost 20 times better when you have great safeties.
3. Dont’a Hightower (ILB ‘Bama) Yeah I like the idea of grabbing some of the Tide D. Hightower is another one. Big, strong and can blow up the run. Pretty good idea now that Chicago is committing to the run. Having a dominating inside linebacker to stand behind a good defensive line sounds really good to me. He would really help against the short slant passes GB favors but we will still be risking the bombs.
4. Mike Adams (T Ohio State) if they grab him I understand why but the guys above here would make more sense. Gosdner and Backus need a replacement and Adams would do well. Maybe start him on the right side and Backus on the left to get some nice UM OSU competition.
5. Courtney Upshaw (OLB ‘Bama) Some mocks are listing him as a DE, too. This is usually where you get a little scared. Upshaw is a talent but he is a tweener. NFL scouts are not really sure what to do with him. I am worried about his lack of speed at LB, and we really don’t need DE.
Guys I wouldn’t like:
Zach Brown (LB UNC) lousy division and he doesn’t tackle well. He is really fast though.
David DeCastro, Cody Glenn (Both G) No guards in the first round.
Jerel Worthy (DE MSU) … great talent, but we really don’t need D-line this year.
Janoris Jenkins (CB) – I would like to thank Mikel Leshoure and Nick Fairley for ending that nonsense.