Showing posts with label 2014 Draft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014 Draft. Show all posts

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Lions' Drafted for their New Coordinators, Not Need.

The Detroit Lions had obvious needs in their secondary last season, but the 2014 NFL Draft was not just about addressing last season's needs for the Lions, it was about giving their new offensive and defensive coordinators the tools they need to succeed.

New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi understudied under Sean Payton in New Orleans, where Jimmy Graham became a star and an integral part of their offense as an athletic hybrid TE/WR.

While most draft pundits were surprised when the Lions picked TE Eric Ebron at #10 even after the Lions had re-signed Brandon Pettigrew to a 4-year deal, it didn't take a genius to see that pick coming.

GM Martin Mahew was just trying to give Lombardi the mismatches he needed at the TE position to run his offense.

Pettigrew was too slow to fill that role, as was Joseph Fauria, who is better suited as a red zone threat than as an every down TE.

My only concern with Ebron is that many NFL teams have blown many of high round picks on TE's trying to find the next Graham, Gonzalez, Gates, Gronk, gtc.

Likewise, when many experts expected the Lions to take a CB in the 2nd Round like Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska, it simply wasn't going to happen.

New defensive coordinator in Teryl Austin certainly could have used an upgrade at CB, but he NEEDED an OLB who could rush the passer to run his defense to run his hybrid 3-4/4-3 defensive scheme.

And no matter how bad the Lions were at CB, Austin was not about to introduce those essential 3-4 packages featuring Ashley Palmer or Darryl Tapp at OLB.
Enter 2nd Round draft pick Kyle Van Noy, a pass rushing demon from BYU, who can both rush the passer and drop back into coverage.

Sure, a Mormon like Kyle Van Noy might have problems adjusting to life in Detroit to the extent that the moment his bike gets stolen he's likely to run back to Utah to be with his moms, but he fits the bill of the hybrid OLB/DE that Austin needs and was used to in Baltimore.

And don't be shocked when the Lions have fully transitioned to a 3-4 defense after another year or two.

Sure Detroit would need another edge rusher, which is why they'll only be playing more 4-3/3/4 hybrid fronts in the near future, but the transition has already begun.

Assuming that their current roster is retained, Ndamukong Suh would play 3-4 DE (think Haloti Ngata), Nick Fairley would play NT, and Ziggy Ansah could play the weakside end (think J.J. Watt rushing the passer and batting down passes with his long wingspan).

Van Noy would be one OLB, Tulloch and Levy would be the ILB's, and the other OLB would likely need to be a 1st or 2nd Round pick next year.

Of course, if the Lions lose both Suh and Fairley next year to free agency, no defensive front is going to work, but at least Kyle Van Noy's fiance, Marissa Powell, will still look good no matter how stupid she is.

Cornerback? That's still a need.

4th Round Pick Nevin Lawson is a developmental nickel back, not an starter outside to help fill in if Chris Houston is still injured, or simply done once the season starts.

But at least the Lions are in a position to hit the ground running under new coordinators Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin, and that should at least have everyone excited about what they can bring to the table.

That is, until we think about our needs in the secondary.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Drafting Mike Evans in the 1st Round would be the wrong move.

There are several reasons that the Detroit Lions should pass on Mike Evans should he be available when they select with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

First off, while many people have fallen in love with his production in college and his 40-yard dash time at the Scouting Combine, I have serious questions about his ability to run routes at the NFL level.

Evans not only benefited from playing pitch and catch with Johnny Manziel in college, but from Texas A and M's spread offense as well.

Mike Evans has several red-flags that scream "NFL bust."

And if there's one variable that can be used to predict which college WR's will turn into busts in the NFL, it's receivers who played in a spread offenses and never learned a pro-style route tree.

While Evans had a pretty good career in college using his size and running to specific spots to get open, my biggest concern after watching his film is his quickness and burst coming out of his breaks, and that scares the shit out of me considering that Mike Williams had similar limitations.

If this picture doesn't make you vomit in your mouth I don't know what will...And I'm not even talking about the Lions' busts at WR, I'm talking about Matt Millen's "Raidered up" black jerseys.

Speaking of size, my next concern is Evans' fit in the Lions' offense. With Calvin Johnson, Joseph Fauria, Kris Durham and (maybe) Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit has no shortage of tall receivers.

Now if Detroit is looking for a long term replacement for Calvin Johnson, I get it.

But if Detroit is just looking for a complimentary #2 WR, they might want to look at someone who's a little quicker and can easily beat the single coverage he'll likely see opposite of Megatron with his route running, whether he's playing in the slot or as the "Z" receiver.

Which brings us to the opportunity cost of drafting a WR in the 1st Round, or what you'd be giving up, relatively speaking, to select one.

With this draft being deep at WR but thin when it comes to lock down corners, the Lions need to consider trading down or drafting a CB like Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard in the 1st Round, because the CB's that will be available when they select in the 2nd Round will represent a significant drop in talent.

On the other hand, this is perhaps the deepest WR draft ever, with a "plug and play" safe option like Jordan Mathews of Vanderbilt who is expected to be available when the Lions select in the 2nd Round at pick #45.

While Jordan Matthews played in a pseudo spread offense at Vanderbilt, he demonstrated excellent route running ability at The Senior Bowl

Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe the Lions talent evaluators think Mike Evans is a sure thing.

Then again, maybe I'm right about his red flags, in which case not only would the Lions miss out on the lock down CB that they truly need, they could also be looking at their third WR bust with a top ten pick in the last 11 years, and their sixth when it comes to drafting WR's the first three rounds.