Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Draft Preview (part 2 of 3): "The Lions should draft Woody Dantzler!"

A piece of evidence was brought to my attention earlier today [see here], suggesting that Mel Kiper Jr. not only reads my blog, but has also suddenly become self-conscious about his trademark slicked-back Tall Hair look. Who says that everything you read on Twitter is garbage?

In fact, I recently began entertaining the idea of opening my own Twitter account. I figured I haven't been acting Narcissistic enough over the past month or so, and tweeting could be just what the doctor ordered to make up some of that lost ground. To add fuel to the fire, loyal Bromolyte Nitch suggests that I give live Twitter updates (is there any other kind?) with my thoughts on each Lions draft pick as they happen this coming week. Seemed like a great idea at the time. However, blessed as I am with the ability of foresight, I began to envision what my Twitter account would eventually become if I went through with this: after a honeymoon period of a week or so where my tweets are chock full of depth, philosophy, and intellect (maybe an Edgar Allen Poe quote or two), it would quickly deteriorate into something more in the ballpark of, "aww man, jus took a wickd dump! reminds me of 1 dat @Nitch had back in college! #FECES! #HOLIDAY DINNER AT THE DORMS!"...
With that in mind, it's safe to say that I've put any more thoughts of a Twitter account on hold, at least for the time being.

Okay, time to shift gears. The two most exciting parts of the NFL offseason are almost here at last: the draft, and the beginning of NFL-sanctioned Organized Team Activities! And in order to put off talking about the draft for a little bit longer, let's talk about OTAs first.

OTAs, of course, are those special team bonding activities that take place in the months before training camp starts. It's okay if you've never heard of them before; I never had heard of them either until a few years ago, when the ESPN Bottom Line reported that Brent Favre hadn't been attending them for the Vikings. So what exactly is an OTA? Think little things, just some good clean fun to really bring everyone together before practice starts, like the memorable tug-of-war games at the annual Bengals staff picnic, or the New York Jets cramming into Mark Sanchez's living room every Wednesday night to share a bowl of popcorn and watch Friends DVDs. And to keep their football skills sharp during the OTA period, who can forget about those spirited games of Pass Defender?!

For those who don't know, Pass Defender is a classic backyard football game played with three players, each taking turns as the thrower, catcher, and defender (pass defender, to be specific). Bromolyte Big Mitchy claims to have invented this game circa 1999, but I'm actually fairly certain that it was first invented sometime in 1906, the year in which the forward pass was legalized, making "Smear the Queer" obsolete. In Pass Defender, the offense has four downs to score a TD; if they do indeed score, both offensive players get a point. If the the defender stops them, he gets a point. Turnovers are worth two. First to ten wins. Now in our backyard football primes, it was usually myself, Big Mitchy, and Bitts playing this game, but we threw an exciting twist into the game when Ahh Chreese W. joined us after school one day, adding a pass rusher to the equation. I really thought that Chris's presence could revolutionize the game of Pass Defender as we knew it; unfortunately, he got expelled from school a week later for threatening to shoot up the place and we never saw him again. True story.

Now that we're all up to speed on OTAs and the nuances of Pass Defender, I suppose I can't put off talking about the draft for any longer. So then, who should the Lions get? Ten years ago, my friend TS thought he had the answer. With a triumphant wave of the index finger, TS was convinced that with the 3rd overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, "the Lions should draft Woody Dantzler!"  You may or may not remember the former dual-threat quarterback from Clemson, and he didn't end up getting picked by the Lions, or anyone else in entire draft. The moral of the story here is that projecting specific players that your team should pick, especially when your knowledge of the situation borders on non-existent, is not a very good idea, and it only makes you an easy target for satire in the future. So than rather than try to pinpoint specific players that may not even be available by the 23rd pick, I'll give a round-by-round rundown of the positions that I would like to see the DTLs pick. My following mock draft all goes to shit if the Lions trade away any of their picks on draft day(s), which they probably will.  I hate the draft.

First Round (23rd pick overall): In my mind, it has to be an offensive lineman, preferably a tackle. On paper, cornerback may seem like a more pressing concern (especially considering the play of the secondary in the Week 17 debacle against the Packers and the playoff massacre by the Bounty-Hunting Eavesdropping Cheaters but for the franchise to succeed long-term, the priority needs to be finding a way to keep their potential Hall of Fame quarterback *as long as injuries don't derail him* healthy. A good O-line can't prevent everything, but it can prevent a lot of things, keeping in mind that the NFC North also happens to have the best and most vicious defensive linemen in the entire league.

Second Round (54th overall): Cornerback. Get the best cornerback available on Tall Hair's Big Board, make him a starter from day one, and ensure that Aaron Berry will never see the field again and can go back to being broke and miserable. Dre Kirkpatrick from 'Bama would fit the bill, but he'll probably be gone by this point. I'd have liked to see the Lions reunite Prince Amukamara with Big Dom last year, but they went with the high-risk/high-reward Fairley Oddparent instead. The jury is still out for Fairley (both on the field and in his marijuana possession case).

Third Round (85th overall): Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing either another O-lineman or another cornerback with this pick. Depth in those positions is sorely lacking at this point, plus it increases the odds that at least one of them will end up being a star. The D-Line is basically set, the receivers and tight ends are set, and the running backs would be if they got healthy and stopped chewing weed in the offeason, so those position groups aren't a draft priority. With the amount of injuries (and poor play) from the secondary last year, I lean towards getting another corner.

Fourth Round (117th overall): I have no idea what kind of negotiations are happening with Shaun Hill's contract, but if they aren't going well, I would use this pick to grab a (hopefully) solid backup quarterback. You never know when the Saints assistant coaches will explicitly instruct them to try and injure Staff's ACL, bad news if it happens. Shauny did a solid job in 2010 when forced into duty, but if it's going to require big bucks to keep him, they might be better off with someone different and less expensive. For kicks, I'll toss a potential name in here for someone who I wouldn't mind having and is likely to be available: Kellen Moore. Now I don't like the Boise States one bit, and Moore is undersized and has a relatively weak arm, but make no mistake, the guy is a good football player. If not for numerous embarrassing last-second field goal gorfings, Boise State would have gone undefeated THREE years in a row, all with Moore as the starting QB. He's a guy that lives and breathes football, rarely turns the ball over, throws with excellent accuracy, and thrives in clutch situations, exactly what you would want out of a backup QB. As an added bonus, he played for three years with Titus Young, so they already have that chemistry built up.

Rounds 5 through 7: When I played Franchise Mode in ESPN football, I always used my late round picks to get the absolute fastest players remaining in the draft, usually receivers. This sometimes backfired on me, as I would have a guy with a 97 speed rating and 24 hands fumbling every other kickoff return. Other times it would pay off big time, as I would put a speed demon at tight end, watch a linebacker hopelessly try to guard him on pass plays, and suddenly my 6th round draft is a pro-bowler (getting selected to the Pro Bowl, not a professional bowler). On that note, Chris Forcier of the legendary Forcier Family supposedly ran a faster time on his 40 than Robert Griffin III. So... yeah.

As long as I'm conjecturing the DTLs drafting a Forcier, they might as well go all the way and try to add Bitch Rod to the coaching staff. How is Stafford at running the spread option?

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