How the Lions have done in the draft since 2008:
Total picks: 25
2010 starters: 10
2010 backups: 9
Other teams: 3
Out of NFL: 2
Injured reserve/PUP: 1
Look at it like this: The Lions have 10 players left on the roster from the eight drafts supervised by former general manager Matt Millen (2001-2008). There are no players on the roster from any draft from 2002-2006, an incredible drought.
But the two drafts supervised by general manager Martin Mayhew have yielded eight starters, one All-Pro (Ndamukong Suh), one franchise quarterback (Matthew Stafford) and of the 16 players drafted in those two years, 13 are contributing members of the team.
"The only way to be consistent over a long period of time is to be successful in the draft," coach Jim Schwartz said. "Our goal wasn't to turn this around, short-term. We want a team that can stand the test of time and the only way to do that is to draft well."
Best pick: Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, 2010 (first round, second overall): Suh made an immediate impact with 10 sacks. He was named AP Rookie of the Year and became the first rookie tackle named to the All-Pro team since 1951.
Worst pick: Linebacker Jordon Dizon, 2008 (second round, 45th overall): This was a typical Millen pick. He fell in love with Dizon's intangibles (tough, relentless) and ignored his obvious physical limitations. He was too small to play in the middle and too slow to play on the outside.
2010 DRAFT PICKS
- 1 (2) Ndamukong Suh, DT: The AP Defensive Rookie of the Year had a Lions record 10 sacks and lived up to all expectations, and was voted to the Pro Bowl.
- 1 (30) Jahvid Best, RB: Showed flashes of brilliance early, but season was torpedoed by turf toe injuries. Lions are still counting on him to be their featured back in 2011.
- 3 (66) Amari Spievey, SS: Converted from cornerback late in training camp, developed quickly and became the starter in Week 7. Strong run-stopper but needs work on coverage.
- 4 (128) Jason Fox, OT: Developmental tackle, slowed by lingering knee pain. He got some work at guard, but he projects to be a left tackle.
- 7 (213) Willie Young, DE: Showed great promise in preseason, but off-field immaturity set him back. He's going to need an impressive camp to keep his job.
- 7 (255) Tim Toone, WR: Mr. Irrelevant injured his foot and spent season on the practice-squad injured list.
- The Lions have essentially cut ties with RB Kevin Smith. They opted not to offer him a tender, which means he will be an unrestricted free agent whenever the new collective bargaining agreement is put in place. Knee, shoulder and hand injuries derailed Smith's career with the Lions.
- The Lions signed veteran CB Nathan Vasher to a one-year deal before the deadline last week. They opted not to tender CBs Tye Hill or Brandon McDonald.
- The Lions also offered tenders to CB Chris Houston, though he still plans to explore free agency, QB Drew Stanton, PK Dave Rayner, DE Cliff Avril, OLB Bobby Carpenter, DT Andre Fluellen and S John Wendling.
- If they gave out prizes for optimism, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would be well-adorned. During an interview on the NFL Network's Total Access program, Suh was asked if the sky was the limit for the Lions in 2011. "No question," he said. "There's no reason we can't be 16-0 as long as we put in that work ... as long as we stay healthy and put in that work, we should be happy with what we end up with."
Suh doesn't have a great track record with these types of statements. Remember, last year after a tough loss to the Eagles at Ford Field, he vowed that the Lions wouldn't loss another home game the rest of the season. They wound up losing three more.
- DE Kyle Vanden Bosch said he will try to organize workouts for his teammates in the event of a lockout. He said he was trying to secure a local gym for that purpose. Vanden Bosch said he expects to make a full recovery from neck surgery last December where he had two vertebrae fused in his spinal column.
- Most of the draft experts still have the Lions taking an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick. Mel Kiper, Jr., believes USC's Tyron Smith will be the pick. "Unless (CB Prince) Amukamara slips, and I don't think he will, the Lions aren't going to get the kind of cornerback they are looking for," Kiper said. "They are going to be looking for offensive tackles to help Matthew Stafford stay on the field for games one through 16 and beyond because I do think the Lions have a chance to be a playoff team if Stafford can stay upright."
- Of Smith, Kiper said, "There are going to be four tackles that go between 12 and 29 and right now, I think Smith will be the first off the board. This is a guy who was listed at 280, 285 pounds at USC, but he showed up (at the combine) over 300 pounds. You see the weight up and his athleticism, this is a guy who is versatile enough to play left or right tackle and you need that."