Saturday, December 5, 2009

Time for an update...

11 games into their rookie years, it's a decent time to reflect on theLions draft class of 2009, and to look forward to the 2010 draft.

1. Matt Stafford- Although he has struggled with his interceptions, Stafford's overall game has been well worth the investment at #1 overall. Stafford has only been sacked 21 times in 10 games, which is over a 50 percent improvement from the Lions QB's last year. The offensive line is mostly intact. He must improve his ratings, but the Lions need to get him some more help before that is going to happen.

2. Brandon Pettigrew- His rookie season is over, due to a knee injury on Thanksgiving. His play has been up and down, but does show first round ability. Has had an issue with dropping passes, but it doesn't seem to be a major issue. He's a solid player, but he needs to get back healthy.

3. Louis Delmas- His play has been spectacular at times, but he's had some struggles. He's been fined four times in his rookie year, which is an astounding rate. He might think it's the price of doing business, and he's right to some extent, but he needs to corral his play as he deals with the issues that has caused the fines. He could be a future pro bowler if he does.

4. Deandre Levy- He's been a nice surprise. It was hard to picture him in the middle, where he was started in mini-camp, but he's turned into one of the Lions most versatile performers in recent memory in a hurry. He has played all three LB positions very well. The only question, is who is this year's Levy in this draft. Two more, and the Lions will be set at LB for a long time.

5. Derrick Williams- He looked to have explosion and playmaking skills at Penn State, but where did it go? Red flags should have gone up when he did not run well at the combine, although he ran much better at his pro day, and was excused for having the flu at the combine. The Lions missed this pick at the onset. Three other players would have made more sense here, such as Deon Butler, Mike Wallace, and Johnny Knox. All three were available, and ran better. All three have done much better as pros. Williams must develop.

6. Sammie Hill- For being a developmental type prospect, Hill has played nicely and has started most of the season. He had injury problems week 4 thru 8, but his return has improved the Lions run defense noticeably. He's a terrific value for a fourth round pick.

7. Aaron Brown- Has provided the team with a much needed boost in the speed department, and has improved recently with his play in the return game. He is what he is, a third down back, but he must improve his pass blocking skills. It's also important to note that the Lions had him lined up at split end on Thanksgiving day, where he had shown his ability to make plays with a 26 yard screen against the Browns. Is his future at WR?

8. Lydon Murtha- Has moved onto Miami as a left guard, which is a shame. I thought he'd be a perfect developmental left tackle on the cheap. Besides Williams, this is the biggest blunder by the Lions in this otherwise impressive draft.

9. Zack Follett- Has hit his mark as a special teams ace, and has made an impact. If this is all he is, it's still a worth while pick, but he also has value as a backup LBer.

10. Dan Gronkowski- Finally up with Pettigrew's injury, he showed some flashes in preseason. He was also a nice pick, and adds value with his speed/size.

Looking forward, as of December 6th, the Lions are in the fourth spot. It might be too low to draft one of the two DT's (McCoy and Suh), but that will depend on the QB. Right now the first three picks belong to Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and St. Louis.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Training camp AM practice, 8/06/09...

Well, I was at today's practice, I took my son and nephew. The biggest issue is that so many key players were out, but Coach Schwartz poo-pooed it to me when he walked by. Said most were dings, he wasn't worried at all. I asked him who #46 was, since he wasn't in the program or had his name on the jersey, he told me it was Carson Butler, who played at UM. Then he asked me if I was a Michigan fan, and I told him I was more of a Lion fan. While talking to me he was giving the boys autographs, and I was very appreciative for the information, which has obviously been released. Practice was fast paced, and different then I had ever seen. Last year, I had seen hitting, which I talked about, but this year, the players are flat out at game speed. The hitting going on is quite crazy for practice, but enjoyable. Matt Stafford was much sharper in my mind than Culpepper, who has a habit of holding on too long, but the offense looks good. Stafford struggled a bit in the red zone drills. I love how Stafford finishes every play like Favre, even runs, and he hides the ball very well in play action. Stanton also looked pretty sharp. Other players that stood out included Aaron Brown, who's built alot like Robert Smith; with his thin legs that are built for speed. Dan Gronkowski and Butler looked sharp, as the Lions QB's used the TE's quite often. Some guy, #81 I think, made some really spectacular grabs, and was kind enough to give the boys autographs, as was Kevin Smith, who does look thicker in the legs than last year.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lions 2010 Free agents...

With the help of Netrat's excellent page on the Lions contract situation, looking at the Lions free agent situation going into 2010, and the Lions surprisingly have most of their starters under contract for 2010, with just a few (Culpepper, Foote, Raiola, Loper, and Henry) exceptions. The Lions have already expressed interest in resigning Raiola, and will probably look at Loper hard as a long-term contract also. Culpepper and Foote could very well be temporary fill-ins while waiting for rookies at both spots, and the Lions will definitely need to hit the cornerback spot hard in the next off-season. What Netrat is missing from his spreadsheet is ages, and that would help guage what the plans are.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reading the tea leaves...

It's time to start separating the lies from the truth. I'm going to give my impression on what I think the teams are going to do. This isn't really a mock draft per se.
1. Lions- Matt Stafford, QB (backup plan- Jason Smith, OL)- I'm 90% convinced that Stafford will be signed and selected for the pick. The Lions aren't saying much, but the fact they haven't signed a backup QB speaks volumes right now.

2. Rams- Jason Smith, OL (backup plan- Eugene Monroe, OL)- I'm 100% convinced they will select a tackle, they don't have a good backup plan if they don't. They've made their plans obvious by releasing Pace, and not signing a LT.

3. Chiefs- Eugene Monroe, OL (backup plan- Aaron Curry, LB)- I'm not 100% sure about this, but the recent signing of Zach Thomas is a head scratcher. They could move Albert to LG, and reunite the Virginia left side. Scott Pioli does have connections with Virginia HC Al Groh, and would feel safe with this selection.

4. Seahawks- Aaron Curry, LB (backup plan- Mark Sanchez, QB)- If he's there, I believe the Seahawks are lying in wait to take Curry. Otherwise, this is a QB landing spot.

5. Browns- Michael Crabtree, WR (backup plan- Brian Orapko, DE)- I think the Browns absolutely feel a need to select Crabtree. I also think they could still trade Edwards for picks. They have a pass rushing need also.

6. Bengals- Andre Smith, OL (backup plan- Jeremy Maclin, WR)- The thing about the Bengals is they usually draft linemen high, and they don't scout well.

7. Raiders- Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (backup plan- Jeremy Maclin, WR)- The Raiders won't select a player like Crabtree they don't have a time for, but they will select a player like DHB that they have top times on. I'm almost ready to call this a lock.

8. Jaguars- Jeremy Maclin, WR (backup plan- Michael Oher, OL)- The Jaguars have had issues with the WR position for a long time now, and this has become the achilles heel of their team. I don't see many room for trades yet, but anything can happen.

9. Packers- BJ Raji, DT (backup plan- Brian Orakpo, DE)- One thing about the current Packers administration is that they will draft a ton of defensive linemen year in and year out. Other wise, they don't show their cards, and play it close to the vest. Raji is a guess, based on their desire to go to a 3-4; where they can put him at nose.

10. 49ers- Mark Sanchez, QB (backup plan- Michael Oher, OL)- I'm either thinking they're playing it coy by deflecting off Sanchez, or they're obviously not and will take Oher. This is a hard read right now, but is also a strong trading spot for the Jets.

11. Bills- Everette Brown, DL (backup plan- Orapko and Oher)- I'm sure the Bills will be looking to upgrade their pass rush, unless they trade their LT; then they would select Oher. If they can sign him, they'll take the best pass rusher.

12. Broncos- Brian Orapko, DL (backup plan- Robert Ayers and Jarron Gilbert, DL)- With everyone convinced the Broncos will want a young QB, I'm not sure that will happen until later in the draft. They have ammo to move up, but I think they will want to draft heavily on the defensive side.

13. Redskins- Michael Oher, OL (backup plan- Ayers and Gilbert)- I'm pretty convinced they'll select Oher if they don't trade back, which they don't usually do.

14. Saints- Chris Wells, RB (backup plan-)- I'm almost 100% sure this will happen. Lock this one up, unless there's a trade involving the Chargers.

15. Texans- Brian Cushing, LB (backup plan- Moreno, RB)- This pick makes sense, although I like Zac Diles. Cushing would play strong, and Diles would backup at both SLB and MLB.

16. Chargers- Knowshon Moreno, RB (backup plan- Tyson Jackson, DL)- This is a talented team without any obvious needs, and they'll have to replace LT2 soon. Sproles isn't an everydown backer in their eyes, and their GM has let that be known.

17. Jets- Josh Freeman, QB (backup plan-)- This is such a natural fit, so I'll call this a lock now.

18. Broncos- Jarron Gilbert, DL (backup plan- Brandon Pettigrew, TE)- Gilbert's star is rising fast, and he's almost a lock to go in the first round. I wouldn't be shocked if the Lions didn't love him at #20. He's very versatile, and has a body he can grow into. Very projectable.

19. Bucs- Robert Ayers, DL (backup plan- Maybin)- This is not a spot where I see Harvin going. Ayers could go much earlier. He's a good player on a bad college team, and those players usually fall.

20. Lions- Rey Maualuga, LB (backup plan- Malcolm Jenkins, Peria Jerry)- The Lions have let it be known how badly they need a MLB by not carrying one on their current roster, so they'll need to draft more than one. If Gilbert is available, I believe the Lions could also pop him, plus there's a strong chance they'll trade down here. I believe they wouldn't be crazy about the players available here.

21. Eagles- Shawn Nelson, TE (backup plan- Jenkins)- The Eagles have a need at TE, and Nelson is an underrated player. Some players are falling.

22. Vikings- Alex Mack, C (backup plan-)- The Vikings need a center obviously, and they do draft linemen high often.

23. Patriots- Aaron Maybin, DL (backup plan- Jenkins)- Still, not a single CB has been taken. There will be a ton taken in the 2nd round, though.

24. Falcons- Brandon Pettigrew, TE (backup plan- Jenkins)- I believe this could be a lock, if Pettigrew is there.

25. Dolphins- Pat White, QB (backup plan- Clay Mathews)- I believe they are crazy enough to pull this off.

26. Ravens- Malcolm Jenkins, CB/S (backup plan- Mathews)- The dam breaks! Finally, a corner! (if he ends up at corner, of course).

27. Colts- Peria Jerry, DT (backup plan- Vontae Davis)- As long as they have a need at DT (which seems like a long time), they'll have to continue to take them. This is a good fit.

28. Eagles- Clay Mathews, LB (backup plan- Barwin)- Mathews has some versatility, and could give the Eagles alot of options. Kind of surprised he's still there.

29. Giants- Kenny Britt, WR (backup plan- Robiskie)- The Giants have been connected with Britt, although they are famous for sticking to their board regardless of position.

30. Titans- Ziggy Hood, DT (backup plan- Barwin)- The Titans have to replace Haynesworth, and Hood's a good player.

31. Cards- Donald Brown, RB (backup plan-)- The Cards have a strong need for a full-time RB. Brown is solid.

32. Steelers- William Beatty, OL (backup plan-)- For a great team, they have an ordinary line. I'd be shocked if they didn't go linemen here.

33. Lions- Sean Smith, CB (backup plan- Connor Barwin, DL)- Smith is versatile, and could be slotted in at corner or safety. He can run with bigger WR's, and will get alot of practice against Johnson.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My futile attempt at a seven round mock draft...

Lion's picks:

1. Matt Stafford, QB
1b. Rey Maualuga, LB
2. William Beatty, LT
3. Cornelius Ingram, TE
3b. Dorell Scott, DT
5. Mike Wallace, WR
6. Stanley Arnoux, LB
6b. Lydon Murtha, OL

I expect the Lions to receive 3 comp picks; one in the fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My list of the top 100 prospects in the 2009 draft...

1. Matt Stafford, QB; UGA: Much has been debated as to his ability to become a top QB, but he is to me the most talented player in the draft. He just turned 21 years old, and is one of the most talented QB's I've ever seen. He has a big arm, and plays with a moxie of a more experienced player. He has big game experience, and is 3-0 in bowl games at Georgia.
2. Aaron Curry, LB; Wake Forrest: Easily the best defensive player in this year's draft, Curry can be found in every play during a Wake game. He's never far away from the action. He destroyed the combine, showing elite level athleticism to show that he'll be a force to be reckoned with at the next level. For some teams, he'll prove more valuable at the will, but I believe he'll move inside to the mike, where he'll cause havoc.
3. B.J. Raji, DT; BC: Although not quite up to the talent level of the top two DT's from 2008's draft (Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis); Raji is no walk in the park for the opposition. He has an excellent motor, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He does split gaps, so there are times when he misses, but he does hit home runs from time to time.
4. Jason Smith, LT, Baylor: It's hard to believe that he's only played left tackle for three years, so he does show an upside. At this moment, I believe Eugene Monroe to be the better player by the slimmest of margins; although projecting down a few years I feel that Smith will have the better career.
5. Eugene Monroe, LT, Virginia: He is pretty technically sound, and takes good care of his QB. He'll be known as a reliable LT, just not an elite one. I feel he's pretty close to his ceiling, and should be able to start from day one.
6. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: The fact that he isn't able to provide a 40 time doesn't bug me as much as the fact that his height is only 6'1", when it was thought that he was two inches taller. There are some signs of buyer beware with him, such as the foot injury. He's a really good player, I just don't think that he's a great player.
7. Everette Brown, DE, FSU: I've used Andre Carter comps on Brown before, and I believe that is who he is. The difference between him and Orakpo is that he's got more moves, and plays more physically at the point of attack. They're both superior ends/olb's. Transitional types.
8. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas: Orakpo comes at you from the same direction, but you have to be on your horse to catch up with him. He does ride out of the picture often, so he has to improve on playing the run.
9. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: Maclin might have more natural talent than the more heralded Michael Crabtree, but he also needs to show more consistancy catching the ball. He has good ability in the open field, and has return capabilities.
10. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: I see Moreno as a cross between Reggie Bush and Kevin Jones, if that is possible. He's not a franchise back per se, but he's a solid #1 type who can carry the mail and catch out of the backfield.
11. Brian Cushing, LB, USC: Cushing is exactly the same type of player that Chad Greenway is, and could be a Pro-Bowler type soon. He can help alot of teams in a lot of ways.
12. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: He's a throwback to the type of TE that used to be more prevelant back in the day. He's the type that you can use against the top pass rushers to help in pass protection, he has great hands, and can help in the passing game with big catches; and he also blocks well in the running game. He's a rare bird, a three down TE.
13. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: My instincts tell me that this is too high for him, but he can be a solid system QB if he goes to the right team. There is a huge gap between him and Stafford. Sanchez needs to go to a west coast type offense.
14. Andre Smith, T, Alabama: This is as far as he should fall, although he'd be a tough cat to pull the trigger on. If anybody shouldn't be invited to New York for the draft, it's Smith.
15. Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State: He jumps out with his super first step. He reminds me of Terrell Suggs. Very similar 40 times, and very similar players.
16. Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois: He's got to show that he's not going to bust like his brothers, but it would concern me. He's a good player, who should be better based on his athletic ability.
17. Chris Wells, RB, OSU: He's a safe player to take, as long as he is healthy. He got nicked up a bit, but nothing too major. He reminds me of Jamal Lewis.
18. Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi: He has alot of energy for a 300 lber, and is a pretty good slasher type.
19. Michael Oher, T, Mississippi: He's extremely similar to Gosder Cherilus. Even makes the same mistakes, although he's a better left tackle than Gos.
20. Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: A ready made player that will have a predictable career playing two downs, and getting a couple of sacks, but plays the run extremely well on the left side.
21. Rey Maualuga, LB, USC: He isn't quite the player I thought he'd be, but he is solid if he healthy's up. He hit a snag at the combine when he reinjured a sore hammy. He'll be a consistant MLB who isn't going to help in passing downs.
22. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, OSU: He's a cover two corner who might move to FS in the NFL. He has good size and can hit, but he can get exposed.
23. Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest: He's Dre Bly reincarnated. Exactly the same type of ball snatching ball hog who's good for about 7-8 int's per year. Great ball skills, but a better tackler than Bly.
24. Larry English, DE/OLB, N.Illinois: He's got a nice motor with nice pass rush skills. He'd be higher if he projected to play better against the run.
25. Leshean McCoy, RB, Pitt: Really the most legit HR threat in this draft, he also might turn out to be J.J. Arrington.
The rest...
26. Alex Mack, C, Cal 27. Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC 28. Clint Sintim, OLB, UVa 29. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee 30. Sean Smith, CB, Utah 31. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland 32. Clay Matthews, LB, USC 33. Louis Delmas, S, WMU 34. William Beatty, LT, UConn 35. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida 36. Max Unger, C, Oregon 37. Eric Wood, C, Louisville 38. Donald Brown, RB, UConn 39. Brian Robiskie, WR, OSU 40. Shawn Nelson, TE, So.Miss 41. Nate Davis, QB, Ball State 42. Connor Barwin, DE/TE/LB, Cinci 43. James Laurinaitis, LB, OSU 44. D.J. Moore, CB, Vandy 45. Evander Hood, DT, Missouri 46. Eben Britton, RT, Arizona 47. Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose St. 48. Brandon Lewis, CB, Oregon State 49. Darrius Butler, CB, UConn 50. Ron Brace, DT, BC 51. Zack Follett, LB, Cal 52. Michael Johnson, DE, GTU 53. Rashad Johnson, S, Alabama 54. Asher Allen, CB, Georgia 55. Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers 56. Kenan Lewis, CB, Oregon State 57. Pat White, QB, WVU 58. Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina 59. Andre Brown, RB, NCState 60. Darry Beckwith, LB, LSU 61. James Casey, TE, Rice 62. Marcus Freeman, OLB, OSU 63. Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma 64. Mohammed Massaquoi, WR, Georgia 65. Duke Robinson, OL, Oklahoma 66. Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina 67. Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State 68. Scott McKillop, LB, Pitt 69. Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty 70. Deon Butler, WR, Penn State 71. Jon Luigs, C, Arkansas 72. Louis Murphy, WR, Florida 73. Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona 74. Antoine Caldwell, OL, Alabama 75. Patrick Chung, S, Oregon 76. Cody Brown, DE/LB, UConn 77. Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State 78. Fili Moala, DT, USC 79. Victor Harris, CB, VT 80. William Moore, S, Missouri 81. David Bruton, S, Notre Dame 82. Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue 83. Glen Coffee, RB, Alabama 84. Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida 85. Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin 86. Tyronne Green, OL, Auburn 87. Jamon Meredith, OL, South Carolina 88. Mike Mickens, CB, Cinci 89. Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn 90. Javon Ringer, RB, MSU 91. Paul Kruger, DE, Utah 92. Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Richmond 93. Kyle Moore, DL, USC 94. Dannell Ellerbe, LB, Georgia 95. Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida 96. CQ Shipley, C, Penn State 97. John Phillips, TE, Virginia 98. Phil Loadholt, OL, Oklahoma 99. Terence Taylor, DT, UM 100. Darcel McBath, S, Texas Tech

Monday, February 16, 2009

Senior Bowl Positional Detail: Safety

North Squad:

1. William Moore, 6-00.1, 223 lbs.- He really struggled all week long, and his ranking is falling fast. Doesn't have the size necessary to move to LB, although that could happen. Gets lost in coverage.
2. Patrick Chung, 5-11.1, 207 lbs.- He had an outstanding week, and showed great awareness and ball skills. He might not be the best athlete, but his preparedness is top notch. He's always where he needs to be.
3. Louis Delmas, 5-11.2, 197 lbs.- He's slowly moving up to the top of the safety class, although I remain skeptical. He is very good in coverage, although his ball skills need to improve. He needs to continue his good Sr.Bowl week with an outstanding combine to clinch the top spot, although this isn't the best class of safeties.
4. David Bruton, 6-01.6, 210 lbs.- Very good size, will have to see what his speed is. Always seems to be a day late and a dollar short, but I think he needs to move closer to the line, and be an "in the box" type.

South Squad:

1. Derek Pegues, 5-09.3, 193 lbs.- For his size, he likes to get his nose dirty. He has decent coverage skills, and can tackle.
2. Chip Vaughn, 6-01.0, 218 lbs.- He struggled in space with coverage, and didn't tackle well. He needs a good combine.
3. Michael Hamlin, 6-02.0, 207 lbs.- He's got a nice nose for the football, and makes plays. He's either a mid 2nd to an early third rounder.
4. Rashad Johnson, 5-11.4, 195 lbs.- Very experienced, very steady player with some ball skills. He makes plays. Solid second rounder.