Posted by Bob Biscigliano in Detroit Lions
In the distant past, I despised the Lions Bye week because it would be an extra week before I saw my favorite team play again. The last six years though, bye weeks have been even more difficult to handle because they, more typically than not, serve as another week I have to live with the stale, skunk-rank, taste of defeat in my mouth and listen to commentators and Jay Leno make jokes about how bad they are. Normally, I try to keep busy to make the days fly by, but yesterday's disposal of Matt Millen has put the Lions atop discussion boards and I can't possibly get away from thinking about them.
It's pretty obvious that Matt Millen was hated in Detroit. Most of that hatred stemmed from his absurd drafting strategies that led to terrible players which of course leads to terrible results like we have seen the past 6 years.
While everyone in the world, including McCain and Obama, is debating about who the Lions next General Manager should be, I'll take the liberty to tackle the next concern: what that GM should do come draft/free agency time. So, no matter who the GM is, whether it is Bill Cowher or Hilary Clinton, this article will probably serve as an authority on who he/she should draft and sign during the off season to make this a much better football team. (Coaching issue aside)
Let us assume for this article's purpose that the Lions finish this season 4-12, with the 4th worst record in the NFL. This is of course after the Lions presumably start 1-10 and win 3 out of their last 5 games just to piss fans off. Anyway, this still gives the Lions a top 5 pick and overall, we're happy because there seems to be a lot of good talent in the 2009 draft class.
So who do the Lions select?
It's obvious that Millen picks Greg Carr WR from Florida State or a kicker, leaving no room for discussion amongst Lions fans. Luckily, he's gone and we can start thinking logically in terms of what the Lions need and what will make them a much better football team in 2009.
The Lions NEED defense. If the first three games are any indication of how the rest of the season plays out, the Lions are going to need plenty of work done on the defensive side of the ball. As cliche as it is, defense wins championships and the Lions haven't won one since 1957. For as long as I have been conscious of the Lions, they've had some sort of an offense (minus the first few Post Barry years), but never any defense. It's sad they've only had 5 noteworthy defensive players the past 15 years (Blades?, Spielman, Porcher, Bly, Sims). Therefore, with a top 5 pick in 2009 the Lions should seriously consider a defensive stud. If I was the Lions GM I would select, with the 4th pick of the 2009 Draft......
Malcolm Jenkins from THE Ohio State University.
I hate to admit this, but Ohio State produces winners. I have only one fact to back that up with though. Everytime I watch Monday Night or Sunday Night Football, which the Lions have not been on in years, it seems each team have players that introduce themselves being from "THE Ohio State University" in their starting lineup. If Monday and Sunday Night Football is designated for the winners and good games, then the Lions will need an Ohio State man. (Jared 'Chip' Smith would agree with me here)
In all seriousness though, this will be the best defensive player available at pick four in addition to being a position the Lions need help with the most. Although I really like Tyson "Javon Kearse-esque" Jackson, the Lions will probably miss out on him. Even so, the Lions have some young guys they can still develop to play the D-line adequately, all while Ernie Sims holds down the LB corps. It doesn't matter if we can or can't stop the run with our D-line and LB's, if we can't stop the pass. All game last Sunday, I heard Dan Miller calling out on almost every passing play that the 49er receiver O'Sullivan threw to was "wide open." Any football guy knows that the passing game opens up the running game and vice versa. Without a pass defense, we'll forever give up 200 yards rushing per game.
Jenkins can be the building block to stop that. Jenkins has size, speed and the ability to read QBs with the best of them. Not only is he good, but he'll bring an energy and excitement to the Lions defense that we haven't seen in a long time, if ever. If you don't believe me I highly suggest you watch the following YouTube video:
I rest my case.
Now, you're also probably wondering who the Lions should go after in the free agent market. If the Lions new GM were truly dedicated to bringing in a winning football team, they wouldn't stop short at signing just one big FA. Obviously, who the Lions sign depends largely on when the Lions plan on winning. If they are going to rebuild for a couple years, then I'd sign a younger guy to a longer contract. If they plan on winning now, I would sign an older guy who has won before and can provide leadership, in addition to still being able to play at a high level. That of course is all GM101 which can be learned playing franchise mode in Madden.
Since I'm an optimist, and am hoping the Lions will want to win next year after rebuilding these final 12 weeks of 2008, I am going to drop a few names who I think we should go after to help us win in 2009.
SS Lawyer Milloy- Atlanta Falcons
Lawyer Milloy, Esq. will probably want to get one last solid contract and I'm willing to bet we could buy him. Atlanta is in their first year of rebuilding and Milloy doesn't have too many years left in this league. If we can sign him to a nice lucrative two year contract, I think he could really help stabilize our defensive backfield while also serving as a good mentor to the younger DB's.
DE Julius Peppers- Carolina Panthers
I don't think we have any shot, but it's fun to think about. If this was in fact Madden Franchise mode, he'd be on my Lions team.
G Chris Snee- New York Giants
Again, I don't think we have a shot. He's the son-in-law of Coughlin, so I doubt Snee will leave as long as Coughlin is there. Could create really awkward Thanksgiving dinners. Then again, he wouldn't have to go to Thanksgiving meals with the Coughlins if he was on the Lions. Interesting.....
Lastly, this may be hard to do, but we need to re-sign Roy Williams. He is an elite WR and will only make Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Lions offense better. Of course, if the Lions think there is a better chance he leaves after the season, I hope they trade him during the season to get something in return. If he doesn't re-sign, or we trade him, perhaps we could go after a Lee Evans or former UofM WR Amani "It's not a tumor" Toomer during the offseason. Or we could just draft another WR in the first round.... ha!
Of course this is all way too soon to be anywhere near accurate. All these players could Brady/Weis their knees, thus shattering not only their knees, but all my hopes and dreams of who the Lions should get this off season. It sounds crazy, but the Lions could also go 13-3 and win the Super Bowl and bring everyone and their tomagotchies back for next season. I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.