Lions Finish Highly Successful Draft
(ALLEN PARK) - If one draft is the measuring stick, then there's no need to worry about Matt Millen's ability to run the Lions selection board. Millen completed a masterful two-day draft effort with a flurry of trades to make even the seventh round selections meaningful for the Detroit Lions. The Lions restocked their moribund franchise with talent at nearly every position and then used the undrafted route to grab a couple of more prospects. A closer look reveals Detroit got a ton of talent Round One: Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan State University - This was as much of a no-brainer as one could ever expect. While Rogers isn't Barry Sanders, he will likely have as much impact to this team as any rookie since Barry and has the potential become the best reciever the Lions franchise has ever fielded. At 6' 1", 205, Rogers has the speed (4.2, 40) the hands and the attitude required to be the best Grade A+ Round Two: (Rodney) Boss Bailey, LB, Georgia - What a surprise for Detroit when this prospect, thought be a mid-first round selection, was still on the board at #34th overall. Detroit grabbed the fastest linebacker in the draft. Some scouts compare Bailey to a young Derrick Brooks. While Bailey isn't as sure a tackler as Brooks, he has all the tools needed to become a star. Linebackers coach Richard Smith is probably licking his chops at the thought of having this guy. Detroit's Millen says they'll line him up at strongside linebacker initally, but Barrett Green's reign atop the weakside position could be over. Grade: A Round Three: Cory Redding, DE, Texas - Somewhat of a surprise that Redding, thought to be among the top five ends in the draft was still available in round three and Millen wasted little time tabbing him to become a Lion. Redding will immediately jump into the mix at the left end spot opposite Robert Porcher. Redding will be battling exclusive rights free agent James Hall for playing time. There is some speculation that Robert Porcher will move inside to tackle, allowing Detroit to release Luther Elliss and his huge contract ($5 million per season). Most likely Porcher will continue at right end, with Hall, returning sack leader Kalimba Edwards (6.5) and Redding fighting for the other starting position. Detroit desperately needs to find someone to get to the passer. Bailey will figure into rush as well. Grade: B Round Four: Artose Pinner, RB, Kentucky - This is a curious, head scratching choice. While it's clear Detroit was looking for a speed back who can catch the ball out of the backfield, Pinner doesn't really have all that great speed (4.6, 40) and isn't the quickest guy either. With Onterrio Smith of Oregon on the board, we openly wonder if he wasn't the tightest guy with Lions QB Joey Harrington in college, because he certainly seemed to fit what Detroit needed better than Pinner. We'll give Millen the benefit of the doubt on this one. Grade: C Round Five: James Davis, LB, West Virignia. - [Acquired this pick from the Washington Redskins] Davis will join fellow Mountaineer Green in the Lions newly revamped corps. Davis was all over the field for West Virginia, lining up at safety, linebacker and defensive end. He'll have a tough row to hoe to fit into the playing group with so many veterans now in the Lions backer group. But Davis says he'll give it everything he has. "Yeah, I'm ready, said Davis. "I didn't really pay that much attention, because I was really nervous about the situation. I really wanted that phone call. I look at it as being ok. When it happens I've got to be prepared, I've got to be ready. Nothings going to stop me because I'm going to go out and play my hardest." He'd better, his future, at least early on, appears to be special teams. Grade: C- Round Five: Terrence Holt, S, North Carolina State - (6' 1", 208) (100 tackles, 3 interceptions, 7 passes defensed.) Rated the fourth best safety in the draft, Holt, (the brother of St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torrey Holt) is a true free safety in the mold of the ball hawking free safeties of yesteryear. A special teams dynamo, Holt blocked two punts in a 65-19 rout of Navy and in 2001 blocked four field goals to tie the NCAA mark set in 1982 and has seven career field goal blocks (Thirteen combined career blocks). With two Lions safeties well past thirty, Detroit desperately needed to get some young blood in the deep secondary and if Brian Walker falters again in 2003, Holt could end up getting some playing time. Likely to get a roster spot on the strength of his special teams ability initally but don't count this kid out of the mix for playing time in the secondary. Grade: B Round Six: David Kircus, WR, Grand Valley State. - This was a pick every Michigan native was cheering for. Kircus really opened some eyes in his pro day, running a 4.4, 40 and a 6' 2" ought to be a good fit at the "X" receiver position in the Lions west coast offense. First round pick Charles Rogers is penciled in at the "Z" position and with Az-Zahir Hakim still on the mend (hip injury), look for Kircus to get early reps there at what is effectively the #2 receiver position. But be assured, Kircus will make the team and he will be one of the team's better receivers. Grade: B Round Seven: Ben Johnson, T, Wisconsin (6' 6" 329-lbs) Detroit shook off the memories of first round bust Aaron Gibson to grab another Wisconsin tackle. Like the typical Wisconsin tackles he is a dominating run blocker, registering 81 knockdowns and ten blocks resulting in touchdowns. Struggles in pass protection and will have to learn quickly to make the roster. Will compete for the final spot among offensive linemen. Grade: C- Round Seven: Brandon Drumm, FB, Colorado (6' 1" 233) [Detroit traded Aveion Cason to Dallas for this pick] A tough blocker who will take on opposing tacklers in the mold of current Lions starter Cory Schlesinger. Drumm started every game for the Buffaloes and was an effective lead blocker for Chris Brown. Has demonstrated the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and will either make or not make the team based on his special teams ability. One of the longest shots to make the roster. Grade: D Round Seven: Travis Anglin, WR, Memphis - (6' 4" 192) [Detroit's compensatory pick] How the Lions managed to get a top ten rated receiver in a receiver poor draft with this pick is really hard to understand. This kid is raw but talented. He played three years as quarterback before being moved to receiver. He responded by leading the team with 55 catches for 740 yards and five touchdowns. With the Lions receiving corps being rebuilt on the fly, Anglin has a shot to stick. Grade: C+ Round Seven: (Daniel) Blue Adams, CB, Cincinnati - (5' 9", 182) [Detroit traded Larry Foster for this pick.] A real longshot, Adams had a steady if unspectacular senior year. To give you an indication of what kind of player this is, he tied the Cincinnati career mark for interceptions with former Lions Joselyn Borgella. A little fighter who made his mark with tough press coverage, seems to have a second gear to catch up with receivers when beaten. Adams will have to unseat Jimmy Wyrick if he expects to make this team as he isn't a very effective special teams player. Grade: D Overall, the Lions did a nice job restocking the roster with at least three likely starters and several reserves from this draft. Detroit will turn their attention toward undrafted free agents. Detroit announced they have already signed Kircus teammate Curt Anes, the QB from Grand Valley State and Avon Cobourne, a running back who was West Virignia's career rushing leader.
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