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.