With no Lions news going on right now, it is time to start delving into the NFL Draft. I am going to look at every position I think the Lions should consider, and perhaps even some they probably shouldn’t. I shall start today with defensive tackles, for obvious reasons.
It really might not be worth the effort to delve too deep into this position. As of now, it seems quite likely the Lions will go defensive tackle with their first pick, and then if they take another it won’t be until late. However, it is no guarantee the Lions will take Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, even if Mel Kiper Jr. has McCoy going to the Lions in his first mock draft. As such, it is probably worthwhile to delve in a bit deeper. You never know.
Suh and McCoy are far and away the two best DT prospects, and two of the best players available in this year’s NFL Draft. Suh is the slightly better prospect in the opinions of most, and he certainly drew plenty of accolades for his player in his senior year at Nebraska. He will draw a double team in the NFL, or he will create havoc for opposing offenses. He is the rare playmaker at defensive tackle, which is always a nice thing to have.
What makes McCoy intriguing is he is a particularly good pass rusher for a DT. He can stop the run, sure, but he also gets after the quarterback really well. A pass rushing defensive tackle would be a tremendous get for the Lions, and could potentially keep them from having to address their defensive end needs with a high pick.
Since the Lions are picking early in the second round, they might be able to get a good defensive tackle there if they go elsewhere with the second overall pick. Brain Price, Dan Williams, and Jared Odrick are all considered late first round prospects at the moment, but one of them could easily slip. Price is probably a first round lock, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams or Odrick fall to the Lions potentially. In his mock draft, Kiper has Odrick going 31st overall. It’s not unseasonable he could fall three more places. He’s a good player out of Penn State. Williams would be interested because, as mentioned in this edition of ESPN.com’s excellent Draft Lab series, his problems are mostly motivational. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel that Coach Schwartz could get the most out of him. Incidentally, Williams is a Tennessee alumnus, just like another certain defensive tackle with character concerns that Coach Schwartz used to work with; Albert Haynesworth. A total coincidence, of course, but if Coach Schwartz can get a poor man’s Haynesworth with Williams, that would be tremendous.
A name a lot of people know that will be there in the second round is Terrence Cody, the gigantic (listed at about 6’4”, 373 pounds according to ESPN.com) DT out of Alabama. Cody would be, of course, just a run stuffer and a two down player. The Lions would need another DT for their rotation, a good one, if they went for Cody. They would also need an upgrade at defensive end, because Cody isn’t getting after the passer. Still, if they go in a different direction in round one, Cody might be intriguing in round two. Or, if he slips, he could be a guy to trade up for late in round two.
I looked over the East-West Shrine Game rosters, and none of the defensive tackles stuck out to me. Jaron Baston of Missouri has gotten some good press in ESPN.com’s coverage of the practices. When it comes to the Shrine Game, you are looking at players that will be taken in rounds 5-7. Still, maybe there is a diamond in the rough there.
That’s all I have on defensive tackles. Hopefully the Lions just take Suh or McCoy and get it over with. As for the playoffs, I went 3-1 again last week, as the Jets pulled off an upset I did not forsee. Additionally, they knocked out one of my Super Bowl teams in the Chargers. This week, I’m going with the Vikings and the Colts to win. Whichever team wins the Saints-Vikings game I’ll be happy with, but I’ll conversely be kind of disappointed with whoever wins the Colts-Jets Super Bowl III rematch. Oh well, it’ll be an interesting Super Bowl matchup regardless.