Lions Could Enter Draft With No Clear-Cut Idea

By process of elimination, the Detroit Lions could narrow their list down to simply the best player available, or possibly defensive end, writes Lions' insider Mike Fowler. If that's the case, Georgia's David Pollack is an interesting prospect.

ALLEN PARK - Early on, it was easy to see that the Lions #1 need was at the safety position. With a pair of 34-year olds in the starting lineup, Detroit got torched early and often last season. But Lions president and general manager Matt Millen went out and signed Kenoy Kennedy, arguably the best free agent safety available, negating the need for to spend a high draft pick on a collegiate player.

While needs exist at tight end, wide receiver, offensive tackle and defensive end, there exists only one tight end worthy of a tenth pick, Virginia's Heath Miller, but he is coming off the dreaded sports hernia injury.

Having previously spent two top-ten picks on receivers Charles Rogers and Roy Williams, the Lions are unlikely to spend the tenth pick on a receiver with a name other than Braylon Edwards. That leaves tackle and defensive end as the most likely need areas to be addressed.

Detroit apparently believes that the right tackle position vacated by Stockar McDougle (Miami) can be handled by a pick other than a first rounder. So by process of elimination, that brings us to the defensive end position.

Three defensive ends have been mentioned as being worthy of a top-ten pick, Wisconsin's Erasmus James, LSU's Marcus Spears and Georgia's David Pollack. Although a bit undersized, Pollack stands out from the rest.

A three-time all-American at defensive end, he broke the school's career sack record with 31 and was named the Lombardi (outstanding lineman), Bednarik (outstanding defensive player), Lott (defensive impact player) and Hendricks (outstanding defensive end) award winner as a senior.

The knock on Pollack has been his size, 6-foot-1 5/8, 276-pounds, and his lack of closing speed, 4.81-40. But there can be no doubting his production. How does he do it? "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard," says Pollack. "It's all about who's willing to pay the biggest price to be successful."

While it's an attitude a coach is going to love, is just old-fashioned hard work enough to make him successful in the NFL? Some scouts question that.

"He's going to get engulfed by some of these tackles," said one unidentified scout. "He's going to have to learn different ways to get off the edge because he's not going to be a guy who is going to go right by you with a quick first step." Some feel that could reduce the Georgia star to being nothing more than a situation pass rusher, something Detroit already has in former 2002 second-round pick Kalimba Edwards.

Others believe that Pollack is a throwback, a player who will be successful based on possessing a measure of talent but an overwhelming desire to succeed.

Detroit has a bit of a quandry on its hands. While its most glaring need is at right tackle, they are unlikely to spend a top ten pick on a collegiate tackle since none appear to be worthy of that high a pick. While upgrading the left end spot currently occupied by third year player Cory Redding would be nice, is Pollack, a player with talent, but some questions marks, worthy of that high a pick?

Even if Detroit takes the proverbial 'best player available', there is no consensus on who that might be. So don't be surprised if Detroit decides to move down if someone comes calling. And what if no one wants to dance? Detroit might end up rolling the dice and hoping that Pollack is the answer to their pass rushing needs.

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