So . . . I made my pick over at the Next Season Sports interblog mock draft.
Whoo boy, did it not go as I planned. As I explained over there, I believe strongly that the Lions are going to look to get bigger up front and through the middle of their defense. DT and ILB are the two biggest needs--you cannot stop the run with Cory Redding and Landon Cohen in front of Paris Lenon. It's just not going to happen. Unfortunately the DT everyone can't get enough of, B.J. Raji, went at 1.10. The next best DT is Peria Jerry, and not only is he a undersized three-technique DT, he went at 1.19! There are no other DT's I'd consider. ALL of the ILBs were gone: Curry, Maualuga, Cushing if you shift him over, and Laurenitis--who I actually think will be the 1.20 if he's there, BTW. Since Steve from www.detroitlionsblog.com drafted 6'-7", 260# LB/DE Michael Johnson with the first pick, I decided he could flex pretty much anywhere in the front seven except NT in a 3-4 or OLB in a 4-3, and moved on to the next biggest need: Cornerback. Unfortunately, the top two corners were both gone, including Vontae Davis to the Bears at 18. I felt that one of the next two corners, Alphonso Smith and D.J. Moore, would be there at the 2.1, so . . . damn. What next? I really feel like this is the doomsday scenario for the Lions--there's a bunch of offensive skill position guys here, but nothing the Lions really need--and considering how much they need, that's saying something! I went with the next most pressing need . . . quarterback of the future:
(photo by Getty Images)
That's right, I took KSU quarterback Josh Freeman, all 6'-6" and 250 pounds of him. I went into my reasoning quite a bit over at NSS, but basically it's like this: Freeman is the next Culpepper. He's huge, he's mobile, he's athletic, he's got a gun, he's got a fumbling problem.
Why, if I am such a rabid anti-Cpep guy, would I pick Freeman? Well, I kind of see "Culpepper" as his downside. Culpepper never really had to learn to "play QB", since streetball was so effective in both college and the pros. Culpepper merely shredded I-AA compeition with raw talent, but Freeman was battle-tested against superior Big 12 teams. Often, Freeman was the only thing going for his Wildcats, leading them in rushing and throwing all over everywhere. Further, he ran a pro-style offense at KSU--which also featured a significant no-huddle package, proving he can diagnose defenses and run an offense on the field. Freeman possesses a lot of the indicators for quick success in the NFL (in the mold of Flacco, Ryan, and Roethlisberger). Yet with no expectations for the Lions in 2009, he can sit and be groomed for a year or two. Freeman, as a late-first-rounder--as opposed to Stafford as a #1 overall--could easily be billed as a project. Linehan can teach him to play like he taught Culpepper, maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Freeman shouldn't get the kind of "start him now" pressure that Stafford at 1.1 would recieve--and I'd hope the Lions front office and staff would be on the same page about being patient with him.
You know, when it comes to football blogs, a YouTube clip is worth ten thousand words: