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Why the Detroit Lions should do the unthinkable....


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I am asking the Detroit Lions to do the unthinkable: to take a WR in the first round 4 out of the past 5 years. Calvin Johnson SHOULD be the pick. He is the #1 player in this draft and the surest thing to come out since Carson Palmer. He has all the tools you look for (Moss' height, TO's speed, Harrison's hands) with a great work ethic. For crying out loud, he ran the a 4.39 40 at the combine with a pair of BORROWED SHOES. Plus, he had a smurf of a QB throwing to him in college who didn't throw to him nearly enough, which prevented him from challenging for the Heisman. If you have never seen what this kid can do, then check out this catch:

But thanks to the joke of a GM we have, we find ourselves in a predicament, having drafted 3 WRs in the past 4 years. Charles Rogers was a publicity stunt; the hometown kid coming to revive his hometown team (Too bad the only thing he could revive was his crack pipe :P). Roy Williams is becoming an All-Pro wide-out, the crown jewel of Millen's only some-what successful draft (Kevin Jones, Teddy Lehman). Big Mike Williams, or BMW, for all intesive purposes is Bart Simpson turned wide receiver (Donuts, anyone?). I wouldn't plan on him being in Detroit past June 3rd.

I view that there are 3 "franchise players" in this draft: JaMarcus Russell, Adrian Peterson (if he stays healthy), & Calvin Johnson. I am scared that the Lions are trying to shy away from these "franchise" players. However, when you have so many holes and are as far from winning as the Lions are (2 or 3 years away in my books), you need to take the BPA. And for all you Lions fans who say "Well, the BPA theory got us BMW two years ago", Mike Williams was not the BPA, Shawn Merriman or Derrick Johnson were. Only a baffoon like Matt Millen had an out-of-work, overweight WR at #1 on the board at that point. I was screaming for them to take DJ, but it blew-up when Minnesota passed on BMW at #7.

This year there are many Lions fans who want them to either take Joe Thomas or trade down. Here is the problem I have with these options....

(1) In many years when there isn't a dominent offensive lineman, the best of a mediocre bunch become grossly overvalued. I'm not saying Joe Thomas is a horrible player, he could quite possible be a very good pro, but he's not this Orlando Pace that everyone is making him out to be.

(2) Why would you corner yourself into trading down? I have nothing against trading down, but it shouldn't be your only option! Of course if someone offers me an unbelievable deal, then by all means, I am taking it and laughing all the way to the bank. But unless that deal comes around, then I am staying right at #2.

(3) For those who think the Lions need to draft on the defensive side, normally I would agree, but when you have a pick in the top 3 or 4, you need to get a playmaker, no matter what side of the ball he plays on. Look at last years draft. If Reggie Bush becomes as good as they say he can be, how much will the Texans regret passing on a playmaker of his status. Although they strengthened their defense with Mario, they may have passed on one of the greatest offensive players of his era.

(4) As smart as it would be, the Leos will not take a QB. They have a head coach and an offensive head coach who do not believe in taking QBs early in drafts. Add that to a franchise who got burned by taking Joey Harrington, and you have a next to none shot. The only possibility of a QB is if Russell by some chance falls to them at #2, but then I think they would get a sweet deal and trade down instead of taking him.

Going by those four facts, the Detroit Lions have 3 options: Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, or trade down. I would pull the trigger in that order. One miracle situation would be a trade down and then still getting Peterson, but the chances of that are slim to none.

You know this league is messed up when (cue the circus music) the Buccaneers lose the coin toss and drop to #4, even though the player they lust for, CJ, is the #1 player in the draft. You'd think that there is no way they can get him. Yet they will get him because the Raiders won't take him, the Lions won't take him, and the Browns won't take him.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Feel free to criticize, scream, or, by some chance, agree with me.

I got to go take a Tylenol before my head explodes. :shocked:

GFB

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Well I don't agree with your reasoning (as detailed as it is), but I do agree with your advice.

My reasoning is, that is if he drafts another WR in the first round, even the most stubborn owner in NFL history, will finally wake up and fire the bastard. This more than anything, is what the Lions really need.

Millen is arguably the worst GM in the league. Long-suffering Lions fans deserve better.

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how abou this scenerio. Draft calvin williams. if he turns out as expected, then trade charles rogers for an upgrade for another position.

its the same theory i had for the Texans. Draft Bush then trade Dominic Davis for an upgrade to say the DL.

rogers is released any they wouldnt have been able to get much for him anyways

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Great player, bad idea

Right now the Lions should go after a player to fill in one of their troubled positions being Quarterback, if they went after Russell, I would have no problem with that, but going after Johnson would just be suicide

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Well I don't agree with your reasoning (as detailed as it is), but I do agree with your advice.

My reasoning is, that is if he drafts another WR in the first round, even the most stubborn owner in NFL history, will finally wake up and fire the bastard. This more than anything, is what the Lions really need.

Millen is arguably the worst GM in the league. Long-suffering Lions fans deserve better.

But even though he has drafted 3 WRs, only one is going to be with the team in 3 months. And if it gets him fired, then it's even better. :D

Great player, bad idea

Right now the Lions should go after a player to fill in one of their troubled positions being Quarterback, if they went after Russell, I would have no problem with that, but going after Johnson would just be suicide

You wouldn't say that wide receiver is a position of need? They trotted the back-up quaterback Josh McCown out at wideout last year! I really don't understand how it's "suicide" to draft CJ. Mike Furrey played awesome last year, but he's not the long term answer. You give Mike Martz both Roy Williams and CJ, we would throw it until Kitna's arm falls off (Week 6, give or take a few weeks). Hey, who needs to run the football....

Of course, I would like to see a real QB in here too, but it's just not going to happen.

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Personally, I'd love to see Calvin suit up in honolulu blue, but I really think they have bigger issues than WRs. Kitna managed to be 5th? in the NFL in passing(yardage) with their lack of WRs last season. Not too shabby, although he also led the league in turnovers. Joe Thomas is expected to be a superstar, so I'm all for giving Kitna more protection in hopes to bring down those INT numbers. Drafting a QB isn't a bad idea at all, but I'd rather wait til round 2 or 3 and pick up Drew Stanton(I have a good feeling about him).

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Seriously dude, shut the fu*k up. Im not kidding. Talking about the damn Lions getting Johnson. You disgust me..... :mad:

Now remember this is coming from a Bucs fan who wants Johnson more than life itself and who is horribly paranoid about having the lions, raiders, and browns who all could do ANYTHING ahead of him. Thank you for making my night that much more restless....................

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The Lions should trade down, as should any team that has been at the top of the draft for several years in a row. The rookie salary structure is so f'd up that you can only afford so many top-5 contracts before they start to kill your cap (unless they all turn into stars, of course).

Players drafted in the middle to late first round turn into solid starters almost as often as top 5 picks, and cost a fraction of the salary that the big names do. Combine that with the fact that the Lions have multiple holes to fill, and you have an idea that's probably way too smart for Millen.

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Personally, I'd love to see Calvin suit up in honolulu blue, but I really think they have bigger issues than WRs. Kitna managed to be 5th? in the NFL in passing(yardage) with their lack of WRs last season. Not too shabby, although he also led the league in turnovers. Joe Thomas is expected to be a superstar, so I'm all for giving Kitna more protection in hopes to bring down those INT numbers. Drafting a QB isn't a bad idea at all, but I'd rather wait til round 2 or 3 and pick up Drew Stanton(I have a good feeling about him).

Who expects him to be a superstar? The same people who expected Robert Galley to be a superstar? I'm not saying he's Robert Gallery, he could possibly be a very good pro, but I don't think he will ever be worthy of the #2 pick. For every Orlando Pace there are ten Tony Mandarichs.....

Kitna can be a servicable option for the next two years, but he is not the long term solution. You can build the offensive line in other ways, it doesn't have to be through the number two pick.

The Lions should trade down, as should any team that has been at the top of the draft for several years in a row. The rookie salary structure is so f'd up that you can only afford so many top-5 contracts before they start to kill your cap (unless they all turn into stars, of course).

Players drafted in the middle to late first round turn into solid starters almost as often as top 5 picks, and cost a fraction of the salary that the big names do. Combine that with the fact that the Lions have multiple holes to fill, and you have an idea that's probably way too smart for Millen.

Yeah, the rookie salary cap may be messed up, but the NFL raised the salary cap some 20 million dollars this offseason, so that helps. If you make money a factor, you really need to question what your goals are; to win, or to make a profit.

Look at last years draft. The first 5 picks were:

1 Mario Williams DE North Carolina State

2 Reggie Bush RB Southern California

3 Vince Young QB Texas

4 D'Brickashaw Ferguson T Virginia

5 A.J. Hawk OLB Ohio State

Compare those players with the players selected between 10-20:

10 Matt Leinart QB Southern California

11 Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt

12 Haloti Ngata DT Oregon

13 Kamerion Wimbley OLB Florida State

14 Brodrick Bunkley DT Florida State

15 Tye Hill CB Clemson

16 Jason Allen FS Tennessee

17 Chad Greenway LB Iowa

18 Bobby Carpenter ILB Ohio State

19 Antonio Cromartie CB Florida State

20 Tamba Hali DE Penn State

I would take any one of those 5 players taken in the first 5 picks over any one of the players taken in the 10-20 range.

I would be thrilled if the Lions trade down, but only for the right deal. Personally, I'm not going to listen to deals unless it knocks my socks off.

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I would take any 5 of those players taken in the first 5 picks over any one of the players taken in the 10-20 range.

Of course I'd rather have all 5 top picks than a single player from the lower range. Not sure that's feasible, though.

I agree with the points you made, but in addition to the salary structure being out of whack at the top of the draft, the way picks are valued also makes it worth it to trade down. For instance, the top pick in the draft is worth 3 times the 16th pick in the draft, and I'd rather have 3 of the players you listed in the 10-20 range than a single one from the top, without even considering that the three players would probably be paid less combined.

Massey and Thaler, two economists, came out with a great paper a few years ago showing the utility gained from draft picks. Trading down is most certainly advisable; in fact, picks in the middle of the second round are the most valuable of all.

Massey/Thaler summary

PDF of full paper

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The Lions need someone to throw the ball, there will be plent of good names still around in the second and third round for other needs.

I agree with this... but I think that the Lions would be better served trading down to the 10-15 range, building the defense or O-line (Levi Brown?) in the first round, then picking up Drew Stanton at the top of the 2nd. Either that, or if they don't trade down, they should take Calvin Johnson, who is head and shoulders above any other player in the draft.

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I'm against taking ANY WR in the top three. Even Calvin Johnson. And the Lions, moreso than any other team, should have learned their lesson in taking WRs so high in the draft. Still trying to think of the last WR taken in the top-5 that was actually a good pick.

Do your scouting and land a gem like Marques Colston in later rounds.

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I am asking the Detroit Lions to do the unthinkable: to take a WR in the first round 4 out of the past 5 years. Calvin Johnson SHOULD be the pick. He is the #1 player in this draft and the surest thing to come out since Carson Palmer. He has all the tools you look for (Moss' height, TO's speed, Harrison's hands) with a great work ethic. For crying out loud, he ran the a 4.39 40 at the combine with a pair of BORROWED SHOES. Plus, he had a smurf of a QB throwing to him in college who didn't throw to him nearly enough, which prevented him from challenging for the Heisman. If you have never seen what this kid can do, then check out this catch:

But thanks to the joke of a GM we have, we find ourselves in a predicament, having drafted 3 WRs in the past 4 years. Charles Rogers was a publicity stunt; the hometown kid coming to revive his hometown team (Too bad the only thing he could revive was his crack pipe :P). Roy Williams is becoming an All-Pro wide-out, the crown jewel of Millen's only some-what successful draft (Kevin Jones, Teddy Lehman). Big Mike Williams, or BMW, for all intesive purposes is Bart Simpson turned wide receiver (Donuts, anyone?). I wouldn't plan on him being in Detroit past June 3rd.

I view that there are 3 "franchise players" in this draft: JaMarcus Russell, Adrian Peterson (if he stays healthy), & Calvin Johnson. I am scared that the Lions are trying to shy away from these "franchise" players. However, when you have so many holes and are as far from winning as the Lions are (2 or 3 years away in my books), you need to take the BPA. And for all you Lions fans who say "Well, the BPA theory got us BMW two years ago", Mike Williams was not the BPA, Shawn Merriman or Derrick Johnson were. Only a baffoon like Matt Millen had an out-of-work, overweight WR at #1 on the board at that point. I was screaming for them to take DJ, but it blew-up when Minnesota passed on BMW at #7.

This year there are many Lions fans who want them to either take Joe Thomas or trade down. Here is the problem I have with these options....

(1) In many years when there isn't a dominent offensive lineman, the best of a mediocre bunch become grossly overvalued. I'm not saying Joe Thomas is a horrible player, he could quite possible be a very good pro, but he's not this Orlando Pace that everyone is making him out to be.

(2) Why would you corner yourself into trading down? I have nothing against trading down, but it shouldn't be your only option! Of course if someone offers me an unbelievable deal, then by all means, I am taking it and laughing all the way to the bank. But unless that deal comes around, then I am staying right at #2.

(3) For those who think the Lions need to draft on the defensive side, normally I would agree, but when you have a pick in the top 3 or 4, you need to get a playmaker, no matter what side of the ball he plays on. Look at last years draft. If Reggie Bush becomes as good as they say he can be, how much will the Texans regret passing on a playmaker of his status. Although they strengthened their defense with Mario, they may have passed on one of the greatest offensive players of his era.

(4) As smart as it would be, the Leos will not take a QB. They have a head coach and an offensive head coach who do not believe in taking QBs early in drafts. Add that to a franchise who got burned by taking Joey Harrington, and you have a next to none shot. The only possibility of a QB is if Russell by some chance falls to them at #2, but then I think they would get a sweet deal and trade down instead of taking him.

Going by those four facts, the Detroit Lions have 3 options: Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, or trade down. I would pull the trigger in that order. One miracle situation would be a trade down and then still getting Peterson, but the chances of that are slim to none.

You know this league is messed up when (cue the circus music) the Buccaneers lose the coin toss and drop to #4, even though the player they lust for, CJ, is the #1 player in the draft. You'd think that there is no way they can get him. Yet they will get him because the Raiders won't take him, the Lions won't take him, and the Browns won't take him.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Feel free to criticize, scream, or, by some chance, agree with me.

I got to go take a Tylenol before my head explodes. :shocked:

GFB

That's an interesting way to describe Johnson?s abilities as compared to current WRs. I would've thought you'd list Moss speed (Moss is only 1" taller than T.O. so height seems a push) But I digress. I hope the Lions do take him. And I think every NFC North fan would agree. And that is no disrespect to Calvin to say so.

The simple truth is that the Lions are more than one playmaker away from respectability no matter how you slice it. They?re playing shorthanded, uphill; whatever you want to call it because Millen is a dolt. And as playmakers go, even the most qualified WRs typically take 2-3 years to blossom. Moss was clearly an exception. The list of WRs who were instant game changers is a VERY short one. And count Terrell Owens as one who was not an instant success remember.

As much as we love to make coaches into geniuses?.the game simply isn?t that complicated. And it will always (and The Rock means ALWAYS?dated 1999 WWF reference yeah!) boil down to offensive and defensive line play. Great D-Lines make their linebackers better by eating blocks and make the secondary ?look? better by only making them cover for two seconds. And offensive lines are as, if not more, important than any other spot. During 2003 it looked like every RB the Packers drafted was a worthy starter. Green, Davenport, and Fischer all averaged over 5 yds per carry and Favre hardly ever got sacked. In retrospect, perhaps it had something to do with that killer offensive line? IF the Lions were a perennial .500 team looking to get over the hump, I?d say fine. Grab Calvin. But they aren?t. They?re neck and neck in a race to permanent ineptitude with the Raiders and Cards. Like my good buddy and talkshow host Steve Czaban always says: ?If a football team is like a car?..and the QB is the driver and the O-Line is the power train and the D-Line is the breaking system or whatever?..then the WR is the car stereo. You don?t want to be without one for sure?.but most of them are all flash and no substance, overpriced and loud. I don?t have the data in front of me nor care to look it up?but if you pile all the WRs of the last 10 Superbowl winning teams who stands out as not only great, but as they key to the title?

The Lions need quality players at lots of positions and taking your boy Johnson here at #2 would solve none of that. Roy Williams is already a top tier talent being wasted on a lousy team.

I haven?t researched these draft prospects at all this year so lump me in the ignorant category I guess. And to those many board members who are drooling over Calvin, I hope he has a tremendous career and that he is on my fantasy team for much of it. But the Lions need to take Thomas or Quinn or trade down. And since Matt is in charge you can bet they?ll do none of those three. So yay?..Green Bay is now 2-0 in 2007!

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I would take any 5 of those players taken in the first 5 picks over any one of the players taken in the 10-20 range.

Of course I'd rather have all 5 top picks than a single player from the lower range. Not sure that's feasible, though.

I agree with the points you made, but in addition to the salary structure being out of whack at the top of the draft, the way picks are valued also makes it worth it to trade down. For instance, the top pick in the draft is worth 3 times the 16th pick in the draft, and I'd rather have 3 of the players you listed in the 10-20 range than a single one from the top, without even considering that the three players would probably be paid less combined.

Massey and Thaler, two economists, came out with a great paper a few years ago showing the utility gained from draft picks. Trading down is most certainly advisable; in fact, picks in the middle of the second round are the most valuable of all.

Massey/Thaler summary

PDF of full paper

I think I wasn't clear. I meant to say that I would take any one of those first 5 picks instead of anyone of the players picked 10-20.

The more I think about it, the more I begin to believe that my beef isn't toward them taking CJ at #2, but against taking Joe Thomas at #2. Sterling, weren't your beloved Packers burned for taking Tony Mandarich instead of some running back named Barry Sanders, who was a playmaker. Mandarich was obviously overhyped, which tends to happen to offensive lineman at the top of the draft. Offensive lineman taken between picks 20-50 seem to pan out more than offensive lineman taken in the top 10-15 picks. If you want to trade down at pick Thomas, that's fine with me, but #2 is way too high in my opinion.

I think #2 is too high for Quinn as well. I think the earliest he should go is #4 (I know thats where the Bucs pick, but I am talking about the pick, not the team.)

As I have said, there are only three players I deem worthy of the #2 pick; Jamarcus, Calvin, & Adrian. And if they don't want to take one of those three, the Lions should trade down instead of reaching.

I can't wait for the draft! (Maybe because it's the only thing the Lions allow me look forward to. Let the Kool-Aid flow!) :D

GFB

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I think I wasn't clear. I meant to say that I would take any one of those first 5 picks instead of anyone of the players picked 10-20.

Agreed. But I?d rather have one of the 10-20, a third and somebody else?s #1 next year. See SD Chargers for how to trade down and fleece an over-eager team.

The more I think about it, the more I begin to believe that my beef isn't toward them taking CJ at #2, but against taking Joe Thomas at #2.

I didn?t want to come out and say that, but yes?that appears to be your real stance here.

Sterling, weren't your beloved Packers burned for taking Tony Mandarich instead of some running back named Barry Sanders, who was a playmaker.

Yup?..We passed on Barry. Best RB I ever had the pleasure of watching and we passed on him. To be fair though, Mandarich was one of the all time biggest busts at ANY position and everyone was fooled. Plus, RB is different than WR. You HAVE to draft the once-in-a-lifetime RB. (Yes Texans, you messed up). Also, as good as Barry was, the lack of quality players around him in essence wasted his career and resulted in how many titles? Life isn?t TECMO?you need depth everywhere.

Mandarich was obviously overhyped, which tends to happen to offensive lineman at the top of the draft. Offensive lineman taken between picks 20-50 seem to pan out more than offensive lineman taken in the top 10-15 picks. If you want to trade down at pick Thomas, that's fine with me, but #2 is way too high in my opinion.

Which is fine. But I would stress that is only YOUR opinion. Most have Thomas rated over D?Brickshaw who went where? #4 last year? And I don?t think D?Brick was a bad pick for the NYJ either. Look?.if you?re worried that Thomas will be a bust I can?t alleviate that concern. There is always that chance. And if the possibility exists to sell off the pick to a team looking to move up so be it. But you seem overly sour on high draft choice tackles and I?m not sure there?s a lot of evidence supporting that fear. Surely, you are correct in that teams like New England get great value out of their 4th and 5th round O-Lineman, but can you reasonably expect the Lions do draft so carefully? It?s like flipping houses for profit. It SEEMS easy?..but it takes a keen eye and lots of know-how and if you don?t have those qualities, maybe you should just go with the slightly more expensive sure thing and leave the speculating to the pros.

I think #2 is too high for Quinn as well. I think the earliest he should go is #4 (I know that?s where the Bucs pick, but I am talking about the pick, not the team.)

That?s a separate topic, but I don?t see the negativity regarding Quinn as fair. I think it?s overflow from how annoying Notre Dame is in general. Its not that kids fault who he played against or how overrated his squad was. I think he?s got every chance of being successful as a pro.

As I have said, there are only three players I deem worthy of the #2 pick; Jamarcus, Calvin, & Adrian. And if they don't want to take one of those three, the Lions should trade down instead of reaching.

Because you?re a pro scout? I don?t mean to be a jerk here?.but I?m not sure what you (or I for that matter) DEEM means a hill of beans.

I can't wait for the draft! (Maybe because it's the only thing the Lions allow me look forward to. Let the Kool-Aid flow!)

GFB

Lastly, let me add that IF the Lions pass on Johnson and he becomes the next great WR?it wouldn?t necessarily mean the Lions should have taken him. There are more variables than that at play. I think it?s distinctly possible Barry or Deion could have failed in Green Bay. I think its possible that under any number of circumstances Favre could have been a failure elsewhere. I think under different circumstances with a crud team Jerry Rice could have had a solid, but not exceptional career. Even though the cream usually rises to the top, the system; supporting cast and scenarios an athlete finds themselves in greatly influence the path of their career. Jordan sans Pippen? Does he win 6 rings?

If you TRULY love Calvin Johnson, don?t doom him to Detroit??root for someone else to take him and for him to actually do well. Once the Fords see the light or die??.and Millen gets his walking papers then MAYBE, just maybe the Lions will be ready to build a quality organization.

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