As we countdown to my favorite weekend in April, the NFL draft, I am going to go team-by-team addressing each team needs. From their I will select a player that I believe the team will select in the draft and a player that I believe the team should select. So, starting at the first overall pick, the Detroit Lions are on the clock…
Needs: OL, DL, CB, S, TE
The Lions, who went winless in ’08, are a team that needs help just about everywhere. They ranked last in the league in total defense, rushing defense, and 30th in the league in total offense. They could really use a playmaker on defense, but I don’t see a defensive player, other than Wake Forest’s LB Aaron Curry, worth taking at the number one overall spot. In addition to that, the Lions need a leader, especially at the quarterback position. The Lions got burned once by selecting a QB in the top 5 back in 2002, when they selected Joey Harrington. However, currently the Lions are juggling quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper, Jon Kitna, and Drew Stanton.
Who They Will Draft: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
The Lions need a face of the franchise and that is going to be Matthew Stafford from Georgia. Stafford has the size (6 foot 3 inches, 237 pounds) and the success (30 wins in his three years.) He is a quieter leader and he isn’t as flashy as the quarterbacks of the past years like Jamarcus Russell and even Matt Ryan. However, he is effective. Stafford is a typical dropback quarterback which the NFL prefers over spread quarterbacks. His stats won’t wow you (25 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 61.4% completion percentage last season) but his potential and his knowledge of the game will. Stafford is a work in progress like any college quarterback transitioning to the NFL, but he is a lot better off than raw talent like Jamarcus Russell.
Who They Should Select: Jason Smith, OL, Baylor
I don’t trust quarterback’s selected first overall. The past two quarterbacks selected first overall? The Raider’s selected Jamarcus Russell in ’06 and the 49er’s selected Alex Smith in ’05. Obviously, some teams have had success (Both Manning brothers were selected first overall), but a much safer pick is that of an offensive lineman. The Lions need help at that position and Jason Smith has proved himself to be the superior pick at that position, earning himself a score of 96 by espn.com. The Dolphins, who were 1-15 in 2007, passed on QB Matt Ryan first overall last year and selected OL Jake Long. The went 11-5 last season and won their division. Success can come from an offensive lineman, it just isn’t as glamorous