Will The Lions Draft The Best Available?
By: Tony Ortiz
This is a tough time of the year for reporters who cover NFL teams. Why?? It’s the week of the NFL Draft, when all 32 teams engage in what I like to call an over-the-top game of ‘liar’s poker’, where no one wants to tip their hand before the draft begins, and those teams are ‘on the clock’. G.M. Martin Mayhew implied as much, as he met with reporters in Allen Park. He told the media that he wouldn’t talk about specific players or any kind of strategy that the team would be using, which is fair, since no one else in the NFL is doing it, either.
Still, there were a couple of interesting items that came out. Mayhew confirmed that the Lions will still “take the best player available [at #23 in the first round] regardless of position. It’s about not reaching for a particular position. If [the Lions] have something that we perceive as a need, we won’t go past 5 or 6 good players to choose a guy who plays at a particular position”. That fits in with his overall views on the draft, where Mayhew has insisted that the Lions are building a team, not amassing a collection of talent – a strategy that has NEVER worked here in Detroit.
Mayhew also called the running back position a critical one, adding “I think it’s an important position for our football team. We’ve felt that way and we’ve drafted that way in the past”. He also didn’t rule out adding a young quarterback, either in the draft or in free agency. The Lions have a need for one, after Drew Stanton left last month in free agency. Mayhew admitted that he also keeps tabs on the other teams in the NFC North in the off-season, saying “you’ve got to be aware of what they’re doing. But, [the Lions] still want to find the best players available. It’s not a case of ‘team A’ gets a tall receiver, so we [the Lions] need to draft a tall cornerback. It doesn’t operate that way. Just like they’re trying to find ways to beat [the Lions], we’re trying to find ways to beat them”.