Posted on: April 14, 2010 4:01 pm

More Rush Defence & the draft

Just over a week to go before the NFL draft and it's still unclear what the Lions will do with their #2 overall pick.  But their options are really down to three things:

  1. Trade down
  2. Draft Ndomikong Suh
  3. Draft a LT (Russell Okung or Trent Williams being the likely candidates)
Option 1 holds the most allure to the Lions, because they could potentially still get a solid OT or defensive lineman with their new pick.

Option 2 is what might happen, for a number of reasons but the balance needs to be struck between:
  • How many snaps is a DT drafted that high going to play? This boils down to whether you're convinced that Suh can play the undertackle/3-technique on run downs and nose tackle/1-technique on passing downs, while being effective at both positions?
  • Is the DT a fit for the Lions scheme. I'd argue Gerard McCoy is not a fit because he's more of a one-gap penetrating tackle who fits better in a traditional 4-3. But the Lions run a 4-3 that operates on 3-4 principles where your DTs have to eat up blockers and try to collapse lanes. This would mean that your two-gap tackles are likely to be a better schematic fit, meaning players like Suh (or if they trade back Dan Williams) should be the targets.
  • Are you convinced that Suh's knees are healthy (2 surgeries - one for meniscus tear as a freshman, one that was precautionary)?
  • Does this improve the talent on the roster enough to justify the pick?
This last point is worth breaking down further.  The Lions have the following players on the current defensive line at each position (based on what the media has been told):

LDE Jason Hunter, Jared Devries, (Cliff Avril), (Andre Fluellen)
3DT Corey Williams, Andre Fluellen, Joe Cohen
1DT Sammie Hill, (Corey Williams), Landon Cohen, Terrence Taylor
RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Turk McBride, Copeland Bryan

In contrast to last year this would mean they've got options and talent for their scheme (ex. White wasn't a good fit to set the edge of the pocket for the run game or QB scrambles, whereas Vanden Bosch should be). Personally I think improving upon the bottom of their game day rotation (Fluellen or MCBride) with a top-rung impact player that can help them to hold the line of attack and really open up the LBs is a solid option. This would go further to solidify their run defense further and help to keep their secondary out of as much trouble as they had last year when no opposing QB worried about being able to step up in the pocket.

Of course, the fall back plan is Option 3 - which is what will happen if they aren't convinced that a DT is right for them.  Ideally this would provide them with:
  • An excellent pass-blocking young tackle
  • Options at LT (Backus vs rookie), RT (Cherilus vs Backus), and LG (Backus vs Sims vs Loper)
  • More stability on offense, which is statistically more consistant from year to year.
  • Less of a money issue as OT is already a premium money position
All three will help the Lions, and the 2010 Lions will already be better then the 2009 or 2008 Lions without any of these three options - so I can't wait to find out what they end up doing.
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 27, 2009 9:31 am

What to do with the #1 pick...

At #1, quite simply, I hope the Lions do the smart thing and open up contract talks with Aaron Curry, Jason Smith, BJ Raji and Matt Stafford.  The real point is that in making sure that their player is in the fold right away, the player has the best chance to succeed as a Lion.  That said, with the #1 overall pick you need a player that can help you - and I'm not sure that Stafford is that player yet - but the first 3 appear to fill important needs. 

Curry helps them at SLB, where they currently have an undersized marginal player in Ryan Nece. For one this would allow them to play alot of man under with his strength, opening up Ernie Sims on the other side and effectively boosting their size on defense.

Smith is a bit raw on technique because of his 2-point stance from college, but he has the build, strength and smarts to start out as a left-guard in year one and move to left tackle after learning about the speed and skills of the pro game.  Of course if he really shows well, the Lions could do a whole lot worse then Jeff Backus competing with Manny Ramierez for the left guard spot.

Raji fills a huge hole in the middle of the Lions defense where their top 1 technique DT is Chuck Darby, an undersized part-time player who is better suited in rotation as a 3rd down player.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com