Sunday, April 26, 2009

Well, here it is. The Lions new logo. It shouldn't come as any surprise that they have a new logo...

Afterall, they have a new manager. A new coach. A new outlook on the future. A new game plan. A new quarterback. A new tight end. A new free safety.

I like the way the Lions went with the draft. They picked players that they needed but also picked guys that were the best at their positions. They didn't go offensive line, which I thought maybe they would, but let's put it this way: if you're an offensive lineman in the NFL, then you are one of the 100 or so best players at your position IN THE WORLD. What that means, is that any offensive line in the NFL can be better if it's coached better.

Take the Falcons for instance. In 2008 their front line unit gave up 17 sacks. Not bad at all. That EXACT same unit, with the exact same players in 2007?? 47 sacks. Now, you can't even begin to tell me that the players suddenly got physically better. They didn't. What they did suddenly get was much better coaching and personnel management. The Lions have that same type of mentality now. They have better coaching, a better game plan, and more than likely better player management.

Now let's take a quick look at WHO the Lions drafted in the first and second round.

First of all, is obviously Matt Stafford. I've been sold on Stafford for a while, and I think he's a good pick. Especially with Culpepper getting into shape. You can effectively let Stafford play the backup role for this entire season. Get him some game time when you're winning (or more than likely losing) and get him a season to learn the game. Here's what some experts had to say about Stafford, like you haven't already heard all of this:

"If you coach (Stafford) properly -- I'm not saying he's Hall of Fame -- he should be a very good starting quarterback in this league and should be good enough for the Detroit Lions." -- Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.“What a great step for the Detroit Lions. They got a long way to go. This is the first step. … This is a great pick.” -- Jon Gruden, NFL Network.

This is about how I feel about Stafford. I think he's a great pick, and I think he'll be a good solid QB for the long as they keep building around him. He might not end up being a Hall of Famer, but not every QB that has a successful career necessarily ends up in The Hall.

The second pick went with a tight end, Brando Pettigrew out of Oklahoma State. I was a bit confused by this pick at the time, especially with the lineman that were still available in the draft. However, the more I thought about it, the more this guy makes sense. He provides a good set of hands for whoever is throwing the ball to go to. He is a solid pass catcher that is AMAZING when it comes to blocking out defenders with his body. He should be an excellent tight end to go to whenever CJ isn't available. But other than this, the guy LOVES to block. I have a feeling he's the type of guy that WANTED to be a lineman but didn't get to be the right size. He puts a body on guys anywhere on the field. He should do an EXCELLENT job of bolstering the running game. The fact that he's such a solid blocker will also help when it comes to the passing game as far as him getting a block in, then moving down field. Like I said, the more I thought about it, the more I liked this pick.

Here's what some experts had to say about Pettigrew:

"What they've done is gotten the best tight end in the draft. He's an old-school tight end. Think Jason Witten when you think about this kid. He's not a blazer. But at the point of attack as a blocker, I think he's special. He ran a 4.8. He can accerlerate. He's got soft hands. He's a tremendous in-line blocker. He's a monster inside."-- Mike Mayock, NFL Network.With the first pick in the third round, the Lions put some money and a choice into a position that they really needed. They picked up a safety to bolster their defesive backfield. This means that this off season has pretty seriously addressed the defensive backfield. I don't know, but I don't think the Lions will be giving up record amounts of points again this coming season. Anyways...They drafted the highest rated safety in the draft with the first pick in the second round. Louis Delmas out of Western Michigan. This kid is absolutely amazing. He's one of those guys that hits everything that moves. He's not insanely fast, but he LOVES to hit. This love of hitting causes him to get out of positing every once in a while, but I think that's something he'll learn in the NFL as he's got better coaching. A lot of people questioned the guy's abilities because he comes from a small school, but his Senior Bowl performance was stellar. I'm a pretty big Colts fan, and honestly, Delmas reminds me an awful lot of Bob Sanders...

Here's a quick highlight film of Delmas from this past season against Rice...

Here's what an expert had to say about the Delmas pick:
“Delmas is the heat-seeking missile at free safety, most aggressive free safety I’ve seen. Good tackler. He's got average man-to-man skills, but when you talk about running that alley, he does it better than any free safety I've seen in a while. He hustles from sideline to sideline. Occasionally gets beat in play-action. Whenever you see Louis Delmas on a football field, typically a collision follows. And I like what Schwartz is doing here. They got the quarterback. Then they get a tight end who can block his tail off.” -- Mayock again

All in all, I was pretty impressed by the Lions draft. They drafted like they actually care for a change. They drafted some good players. They drafted quality positions that they needed. They drafted like they are actually trying to rebuild.

I look forward to seeing these three guys on the field this next season. I get a better and better feeling about this team the more and more I see what they are doing. They just keep doing more and more to impress me. I know it won't be a turn around in 09 like the Falcons had last year, but they are putting keys in place to get some quality wins in the next few seasons.

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