Lions nail down 1st, 2nd and 3rd options

The Detroit Lions have apparently settled on their first, second and third options now that they now that receiver Mike Williams of USC and running back Maurice Clarett are out of Saturday's draft due to a 'stay' ruling by the United State's Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the NFL. Much more inside.

(ALLEN PARK) - The Detroit Lions have apparently settled on their first, second and third options now that they now that receiver Mike Williams of USC and running back Maurice Clarett are out of Saturday's draft due to a 'stay' ruling by the United State's Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the NFL.

If the Lions are unable to trade down out of the 6th overall pick in the draft, they have apparently decided on three athletes that fit their needs in the following order.

1. Roy Williams, wide receiver, Texas
2. Kellen Winslow, Jr., tight end, Miami
3. Sean Taylor, safety, Miami.

Williams rose steadily up the Lions war room draft board after his pro day workout in Texas, which was observed, by both President and General Manager Matt Millen and Head Coach Steve Mariucci.

Both felt that Williams was the equal of last year's first round pick Charles Rogers and perhaps maybe even better. At 6-feet-2 1/2 inches and 212-pounds, Williams is a big physical receiver with speed. He has recorded 40-yard dash times as low as 4.37.

Many felt Williams should have come out of the collegiate ranks a season ago when quarterback Chris Simms graduated and was selected by Tampa Bay, but instead, he elected to return for his senior season.

He recorded 70 catches for 1,079 yards, 9 touchdowns and a 15.4 per catch average.

The only question is whether Williams will get through to the Lions with the 6th overall pick when they would select him. The Oakland Raiders like Larry Fitzgerald, but if San Diego elects to pass on Eli Manning, they could tab Fitzgerald and Oakland could elect to tab Williams. Washington also could tab the Texas standout.

Detroit would then take their fall back choice; Kellen Winslow, Jr. who many scouts and observers feel is the best player in the draft. Without a veteran quarterback to guide the Hurricane's offense, the team struggled to use Winslow effectively. He recorded just 60 catches for 605 yards and 1 touchdown, figures not representative of his enormous talent.

With Heismann trophy candidate quarterback Brock Berlin piloting the 'Canes offense, Winslow had 57 catches - even with 3rd overall pick Andre Johnson as Miami's top pass catching threat - and a very respectable 8 touchdowns for 726 yards and a 12.7 per catch average.

Detroit does not fear dealing with either Winslow Jr.'s father or his agents the Poston brothers. Detroit has had excellent dealing with the Postons working on both Charles Rogers and Damien Woody's contracts. Also, Winslow Sr. has already said he has no problem with his son being on Matt Millen's roster calling the strange juxtaposition, "two separate issues."

If both option one and two are gone, Detroit would then tab safety Sean Taylor who many regard as the best safety prospect to come out of the draft since Ronnie Lott (8th overall in the 1981 draft) and definitely the equal of former Detroit Lions and Hurricanes star Bennie Blades, who Detroit drafted third overall.

Taylor would be an immediate starter and would make a trade rumor involving a swap of Detroit's fourth round pick for Jacksonville star Donovin Darius a moot point.

Detroit however feels that they have a vastly improved the secondary in comparison to last year's group and feel they need to upgrade the passing game to give third-year quarterback Joey Harrington the full complement of weapons so that they can properly evaluate whether Harrington has what it takes to be a big time NFL quarterback.

PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Would Detroit be interested in free agent to be quarterback Kurt Warner who is expected to be released on June 1?

Even if they are, expect several teams, led by Arizona head coach Dennis Green to put on the full court press for Warner, who likely has two or three good years left and with a decent offensive line has shown the ability to pick apart opposing defenses.

Arizona hasn't invested a high draft pick in a quarterback the way Detroit did. It would be much easier for them to cut ties with Josh McCown than for Detroit to release Harrington.

Also, the Miami Dolphins would likely be interested in Warner. They have tried on several occasions to replace veteran Jay Fiedler, but Fiedler has beaten back every challenge to date.

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