mock lion soup: please don't send it back!

>> 2.06.2009

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:

Word.

6 comments:

RIP February 7, 2009 at 3:48 AM  

I like your thought process on who to take at 20. Freeman would be a good choice. Although I would like the draft to be about defense, I give you anouther name for this spot. Duke Robinson. Fills a big void at the more difficult guard position, since centers has more of a tendacy to help the left guard against those huge nose tackles. Right guard is more like the left tackle of the interior linemen.

Ty February 7, 2009 at 9:03 AM  

Well, with the news of Mulitalo's release, that makes plenty of sense. Actually, even before that news broke I'd considered OG (it's clear that Peterman is not the answer), but looking at the talent pool made me think we'd be better off going with OG in the third or fourth rounds.

Part of it is the plain fact that this team has more holes than can be filled in one draft. QB, OG (x2), WR, DT, MLB, OLB, CB (x2) . . . we can't possibly draft them all in the first and second round. We'll have to go with the best available of those positions at whatever slot we're at.

Reverend Spielman February 8, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

I'm kind of stunned by the Freeman pick to be honest. While QB is a position of need, I think we can live with Shitna for another year or two. We can not live with the offensive line or CB. I'd rather reach for a corner to ensure you get him, then hope he falls to you at 2.1.

Ty February 9, 2009 at 8:43 AM  

Rev--

First of all, fantastic name my friend; we are well met. Second, I think this is going to bear repeating in a post of it's own: there are going to be holes unfilled. There are not enough high draft picks or available free agents to "plug in" a guy at every "hole". We "cannot live with" the offensive line, and we cannot live with the cornerbacks, either? Well, we cannot live with the defensive tackles, and we also cannot live with the linebackers. Moreover, even if we had eleven first round picks, most of them would not step in and excel right away, some of them would be total busts, and all of them would break the salary cap.

Thirdly, I was trying to approach this draft from the Lions' perpective, not from my own. Let's face this fact right now: one of these five 1st/2nd/3rd round picks IS going to be a QB of the future. Mayhew, Lewand, and Schwartz can't be thinking three months ahead--that's what got us in this mess. They have to be thinking three YEARS ahead . . . hence, Freeman.

Steve February 9, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

Ty--This is a solid pick of a player who is also rapidly rising up the draft boards, ala B.J. Raji.

The Lions will need a high-ceiling Qb to build around at some point, that's for sure. I put you in a rough spot as a co-GM, because a safer pick atop the draft board may have allowed you to reach for a more obvious "need" selection instead of drafting a "building block" in Freeman.

The "hole" card for Mssrs. Mayhew, Lewand, and Schwartz, in regards to picking a QB, is the untapped bounty of QB's awaiting in the '10 draft, and the near surety that they will be picking within the first 10 picks next season, too.

One nice thing, in regards to Freeman, I don't think the Lions would be overwhelmed with pressure to get him on the field, at least immediately, like selecting Stafford would.

Ty February 10, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

Steve--

You make a good point about 2010--although I REALLY do not like looking that far in advance on draft stuff. SO MUCH junk happens in the whole CFB season that changes from one thing to another--injuries, supporting casts, big wins, big losses, bowl performances, etc. If the Lions don't take a QB, I'll certainly be okay with that. I'm just saying, if you take a high-ceiling guy like Freeman, and take two years to groom him, the results could be incredible.

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