Talent trumps? Lions defend pick of Broyle

Ryan Broyles against Texas 2011 (getty)

Despite the naysayers that are disgruntled with the selection of a wide receiver in round two, general manager Martin Mayhew and co. have demonstrated that talent trumps need and Broyles represented the top player available. Analysis and quotes inside ...

The Detroit Lions selected wide receiver Ryan Broyles with their second pick (54th overall) in the second day of the 2012 NFL draft.

On the surface, the selection appeared questionable due to the fact that the Lions seemed to have more pressing needs.

General Manager Martin Mayhew and Co. have demonstrated that talent trumps need and Broyles represented the top player available.

"Ryan Broyles – best player on our board," said Mayhew. "Very productive guy; 48 career touchdowns – just tremendous production of a four-year career. Fits our offense, will be a great fit for us and really helps our offensive skill. (He's) another receiving weapon for our quarterback and we feel great about the pick."

One of the first concerns that were expressed with the selection amongst those outside of the Lions war room is the fact that Broyles is coming off of a torn ACL in November.

The injury didn't serve as a determent to the Lions interest, rather it may have been the enabler necessary for the team to have the opportunity to draft Broyles.

"We have the luxury of being able to rehab this guy very thoroughly, very carefully and just allow him to get healthy," said Mayhew. "If the guy were healthy now, he'd have been gone way before our pick. So we're just fortunate to have this guy on our team. We think he's a great talent."

Also, the Lions are confident that Broyles will be available to contribute this season.

"I wouldn't expect it to be a ‘redshirt (season),'" said head coach Jim Schwartz. "We've had other players, like (Brandon) Pettigrew get hurt on Thanksgiving, come back and I think started 16 (games) for us. Every knee injury is a little bit different but the predictability of ACLs has become a little bit better.

"He worked out – he didn't work out at the combine, he worked at his pro day; he wasn't 100-percent, but he was five months off his ACL and he seems to be ahead of schedule."

Broyles has been progressing in his rehabilitation from the injury and is currently at the point where he is able to perform the full regiment of weight room and running workouts. He is pacing to be ready for training camp.

"I'm in the therapy as hard as I can. I'm on pace," said Broyles. "I showed a little bit during pro day that I'm on pace to be ready for training camp so I'm just looking forward to this opportunity."

The other major concern expressed with the selection is in regards to the Lions already talented trio of wide receivers. This concern was amplified by the fact that the Lions took an undersized receiver in the second-round a year ago (Titus Young).

Broyles and Young are not the same player. Young is a burner who eventually projects as an outside receiver for the Lions while Broyles is a strong, possession receiver that figures to have the most impact in the slot. "He just has a knack for the game," said Schwartz. "He's very, very strong; he's not the biggest guy in the world – a little bit like some of the other receivers, there's a guy yesterday that went off the board that was similar size.

"I think Ryan benched like 23 times which is extremely rare for a wide receiver to get into the 20s. That's the kind of skill set that helps him. He's very, very quick; he just has great instincts like a lot of good punt returners and a lot of good run-after-the-catch guys have had."

The Lions drafted a player they felt would be a long-term contributor for the team. If their evaluation of Broyles proves to be accurate, the pick was the right one.

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