By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew wants 22 Matthew Staffords. But since legal troubles would probably abound if he started cloning his quarterback, Mayhew has to focus more on the NFL draft to fill out his roster.

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Although Mayhew said the team will be “buyers” before the NFL trade deadline, he also said the team was taking a look at its talent evaluation process prior to the draft.

Lance Newmark was promoted to the team’s director of college scouting in May this offseason. And with him will come a few changes to the team’s pre-draft process, according to Mayhew. There will be more evaluation overall, as well as more detailed looks taken at players from smaller schools.

“There are some things we’re gonna do a little bit different,” Mayhew said. “I’m not gonna get into a lot of detail. But we are gonna change some of our procedures and things that we’ve done in the past in terms of who we’ve evaluated, maybe getting some second and third looks on guys.”

Mayhew admitted that the Lions had hit on some prospects and missed on others.

For players coming out of lesser-known schools, Mayhew said the team doesn’t “evaluate them as thoroughly as we probably should.”

“We’re gonna take some hard looks at some of those guys, especially some of the combine guys,” he said. “We’re gonna do a little bit more evaluation. It’s gonna be a little bit more work for everybody involved but obviously it’s gonna be worth it, we think, in terms of the payoff for that.”

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Since Mayhew took over as GM in 2009, the Lions have drafted 51 players. Twenty-four of those are still on Detroit’s 53-man roster, several as solid contributors (DeAndre Levy, Ezekiel Ansah, Larry Warford). One is on the practice squad (defensive end Larry Webster) and one is on the reserve/injured list (cornerback Alex Carter).

Seven of the 51 are with other teams, including former first-round picks Ndamukong Suh (Dolphins) and Nick Fairley (Rams).

There is not a single player on the Lions’ current roster from either the 2010 or 2011 class.

Lions fans can take heart in the fact that NFL draft classes do tend to have plenty of turnover. Guys who are drafted in the later rounds often fall out of football, sometimes for reasons outside of talent level.

Many consider the Patriots, for example, to be the best franchise over the last 10 to 15 years. Out of the 67 players New England has drafted since 2009, 28 are not currently on an NFL roster. However, the franchise has clearly held onto enough quality players to win games consistently, including the Super Bowl last year.

Mayhew continued to reiterate that the team’s draft talent evaluation process would be, well, evaluated.

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“It’s like the coaching staff,” he said. “There’s constant evaluation that takes place.”