Rob Sims to the Lions, Martin Mayhew for the Win

>> 4.06.2010

Rob Sims Detroit Lions  The Lions have traded a fifth-round pick, plus reserve-roster DE Robert Henderson, to the Seahawks for LG Rob Sims and a seventh-round pick.  The acquisition of Sims, a 26-year-old left guard with three seasons atop the Seahawks’ depth chart, for a fifth-rounder would have qualified as a steal.  Getting a seventh-round pick in return for Henderson, himself a 2008 sixth-rounder who’s never made an active roster, is gravy.

As I wrote last week, the Seahawks were willing to deal Sims so cheaply for two reasons: One, he’s a poor fit for new Seahawks OL coach Alex Gibbs’ zone blocking system; two, he’s a restricted free agent on a one-year tender, who will walk after this season without a long-term deal.

That brings us to the draft.  On first blush, this eliminates Russell Okung as a possibility for the Lions—with well-compensated starters at LT, LG, C, RG, and RT, paying Okung $40,000,000 to either ride the bench, or relegate one of those starters to the bench, makes no sense whatsoever.

However, Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com thinks Martin Mayhew's about to make no sense. Since Sims has signed his RFA tender, by definition a one-year deal, the Lions have nothing invested in him but a fifth-round pick.  If they don’t sign him to a long term extension before the draft, then Okung can sit on the bench for one year, and then force Backus to slide inside for 2011.

Kowalski correctly points out, as I have over the past few months, that the Lions are drafting for the long-term; the 2009 and 2010 draft classes will become the core of the team for 2011 and beyond:

But drafting a player with a #2 overall pick? That’s a massive investment. If the Lions stand pat and draft Okung—or Suh, or Berry, or whoever—then that player must be a cornerstone of the roster for years to come. If the Lions are convinced that one of those players is going to be a perfect fit for the team, on and off the field, with Hall of Fame upside . . . well, they’re going to take him, Chester Pitts be damned.

Now, Sims is not Pitts--he's much younger, just entering his prime.  But if Sims isn’t extended before the draft, then there’s no reason to believe he’s going to be here in 2011, and therefore no reason to believe the Lions won’t draft an offensive tackle.

Still, I think the Lions don’t draft Okung at 1.2.  I don’t think he’s the right type of player for what Scott Linehan wants to do on offense, and I don’t think that the Lions want to spend that much money into three offensive tackles—or really, spend 1.2 money at all.  I think they want to trade back, and take a tackle who’s a better fit, like Oklahoma’s Trent Williams, or Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga.

Not only would one of these players be a better fit for the Lions, but if they were drafted at, say, Seattle's 1.6 spot, they'd cost practically half the price that Okung at 1.2 would.  Seattle, as we know, is desperate to replace aging LT Walter Jones, and could certainly use an upgrade at RT as well.  Seattle’s clearly not afraid to spend money to reshape their franchise in new HC Pete Carroll’s image, and they’re clearly not afraid to make deals with Martin Mayhew and the Lions.


6 comments:

Mike g.,  April 6, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

Holy crap mayhew better watch out he is starting to make the lions look like dare i say an nfl team!!!!

SomeChoi April 6, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

After my initial enthusiasm over Mayhew stealing Williams, Houston, and Sims, an uneasy feeling is starting to settle in: what do the trading partners know that we don't? For Corey Williams, he has a hefty 2010 salary, so it's understandable why neither Cleveland nor anyone else wanted him. But, for Houston and Sims, they have low contract numbers. It certainly looks like we stole them. But then, I thought: even if they don't fit the scheme, they would still be decent backups for little impact on team payrolls. And why didn't another team at least offer a 4th rounder for Sims or a 5th rounder for Houston?
Oh well, I'll probably be riding the waves of excitement and uneasiness all the way to our season opener. Then at that point we could say with certainty either "we really got a steal" or "so that's why no one else wanted him".

Dave M,  April 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

If the Lions are going to take a tackle it's going to be Trent Williams. He was a tremendous run blocker in college and showed better athleticism at the combine than even Okung.

That being said, the Lions probably aren't going to find a trade partner. If I was Mayhew, I'd take substantially less than the trade value chart demands.

Seattle is likely unwilling to move up for a QB after trading for Charlie Whitehurst and we know that the Redskins won't be any longer. That really only leaves the Browns, Raiders, and Bills with long term QB needs.

At that spot, assuming whatever team they trade with takes Clausen at #2, good players will be pushed one spot back. The Lions would be looking at either Eric Berry or Trent Williams/Bulaga.

witless chum April 6, 2010 at 5:34 PM  

Kowalski has been pushing that McNabb ruins the Lions for a trade down to a team seeking a QB, because that team would just deal with Washington at four, for a cheaper price, now that it's known they won't be taking a QB.

Now, this hasn't been done in awhile, but could the Lions really be jerks and force a trade down by actually picking the Emu at number 2 and holding him hostage for the best offer.

Yeah, teams would know they weren't going to keep him, but so long as two teams were willing to bid against each other for the number 2 QB on everyone's board, could it work? It's high-stakes, but you might be able to shock people into panic while they're on the clock.

I don't think Mr. Ford would approve playing that kind of hardball, because he seems like he thinks of the NFL owners a group of gentleman that behave as gentlemen.

But it would be awesome if Mayhew pulled it.

Notsince57,  April 6, 2010 at 7:13 PM  

I hope it isn't Bulaga. Brandon Graham beat on him like a drum in this year's UM/Iowa game. He might be a great run blocker but that certainly doesn't qualify him to be the LT of the future.

NorthLeft12,  April 9, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

I really do not understand the love for Trent Williams. The tape of him playing LT for Oklahoma should erase most of the questions on that score. He is a Right Tackle. We have a Right Tackle. Long term we need a Left Tackle.
And this run blocking nonsense, if Williams is such a good run blocker, along with the rest of his all pros at Oklahoma in 2008, why didn't they lead their conference in rushing? OSU outrushed them by over 400 yards and almost a yard per carry more per rush. Oklahoma State has led the conference in rushing for the last four years. Yes, the four years that Okung has been a starter. During those four years OSU has never had an RB drafted into the NFL. Only two other linemen were drafted into the NFL at that time too. So how is it that Okung can't run block?

And lets get real Ty, an LT is supposed to pass block first which Okung does better than any other Tackle in this class. Period. Not even close. Okung is stronger, taller and weighs only five pounds less than TW, more durable [47 straight starts],and still has upside. Well, Williams runs a faster 40 you say. Hmmm, does that make him a better blocker? Rhetorical question.
Okung has the size, durability, athleticism, strength, intangibles, and pass blocking skills to be an All Pro LT. His run blocking is good but can be improved. I would much rather have that as a weakness than anything else. And from what I have read in scouting reports, his potential to improve in every part of his game is very high. Why do people have such a hard time in recognizing the obvious?

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