Draft Review: Lions Ready To Compete

The Lions didn't have the flash of the 2004 draft - when they landed wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones in the first round -- but president Matt Millen might have applied the finishing touches to a team capable of competing in the NFC North. Complete draft review plus comments from Lions' staff inside.

DRAFT REVIEW -- The Lions didn't have the flash of the 2004 draft - when they landed wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones in the first round -- but president Matt Millen might have applied the finishing touches to a team capable of competing in the NFC North.

The idea going into the draft was to upgrade the defense, preferably with an edge pass rusher, a cornerback and depth.
What Millen got was a starting caliber wide receiver (Mike Williams of USC), a defensive tackle with inside pass rush ability (Shaun Cody of USC), a third-round cornerback with speed (Stanley Wilson), a developmental quarterback (Dan Orlovsky of Connecticut) and a couple of players he believes will bring special skills to the defense (pass rushing defensive end Bill Swancutt of Oregon State and outside linebacker/defensive end Johnathan Goddard of Marshall).

Despite the lack of glitz, the Lions feel they improved in two days of drafting.

Williams, the USC receiver who sat out the 2004 season after he and Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett were shut out of the draft a year ago, was the Lions' surprise pick of the draft.

Millen and coach Steve Mariucci had their sights set on a pass rusher with the No. 10 pick in the draft but when Williams was still there on their draft board, they felt they simply couldn't afford to let him slip by.

"We've been talking about helping out our defense," Mariucci said. "Well, a guy that can score points certainly helps your defense in many ways. Thirty touchdowns (at USC) is very, very productive."

Millen believes the 6-foot-5, 229-pound Williams -- playing in the slot between Roy Williams and Charles Rogers -- will create major problems for opposing defenses and give Lions quarterback Joey Harrington yet another sure-handed receiver.

The Lions got to their true defensive player by trading up four slots in the second round to get Cody. Although they say they see him as capable of playing both tackle and end, Cody spent the majority of his USC career playing inside and that's where he feels most comfortable.

It is likely Cody will join the Lions defensive line rotation, working primarily inside where he stands to benefit from the double teams applied to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers.
Wilson, who was timed at 4.38 in the 40, will get a chance to compete for the nickel back position in the Lions defensive secondary.

With just two quarterbacks -- Harrington and Jeff Garcia -- on the roster, the Lions were looking for a player they could develop for future value. Orlovsky doesn't fit the mold of a mobile West Coast offense quarterback but he showed them enough to convince Millen to give up a fourth-round pick in 2006 to New England to get him in the fifth round.

BEST PICK: Wide receiver wasn't the Lions' most pressing need but Mike Williams of USC was just too good to pass when he was still available at No. 10 in the first round. With Mike Williams joining Roy Williams and Charles Rogers in the three-wide offense, the Lions have potentially one of the NFL's most dangerous sets of receivers.

COULD SURPRISE: Cornerback Stanley Wilson was best known for his speed coming into the draft. Scouts feel his 4.38-second time in the 40 translates into excellent playing time and he is rated a solid cover corner in man defenses. Although Wilson was rated well below the top three of Antrel Rolle, Adam Jones and Carlos Rogers, he improved noticeably in his senior season at Stanford and the Lions feel he could continue his improvement in their nickel defense.
A closer look at the Lions' picks:

Round 1/10 -- Mike Williams, WR, 6-5, 229, USC
Has been compared by some NFL scouts to Cris Carter. Sure-handed, very good in the red zone, where the Lions did not fare well last season. Caught 30 touchdown passes in 15 starts at Southern Cal and the Lions don't feel he lost anything by sitting out the 2004 season after getting caught up in the Maurice Clarett snafu. Has excellent hands and uses his body well to ward off defenders. Only thing he lacks is great speed but he's not a slug. Great size and strength should make him a terror lining up in the slot, with Charles Rogers and Roy Williams outside.

Round 2/37 -- Shaun Cody, DT/E, 6-4, 293, USC
Although he played defensive tackle for virtually his entire career at USC and says he feels most comfortable playing inside, the Lions see him as a capable of playing outside also. Got scouts' attention with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and Lions went after him when he slid to the second round. Is considered quick and explosive, gets through the gaps well. Good inside rusher that might benefit from the double teams that Lions Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers will get playing beside him in passing downs. Is quick off the ball and pursues well. Doesn't give the Lions the speed coming off the edge they might have hoped for and doesn't overpower double teams.

Round 3/72 -- Stanley Wilson, CB, 6-0, 185, Stanford
Has speed to burn. Ran the 100 meters in 10.46 seconds and the 200 meters in 21.4 seconds as personal bests during four years of track at Stanford. Ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds and scouts say his speed translates into good playing speed. Has natural athletic ability, good hips and will stay on a receiver's hip. Played his best football as a senior and will continue to improve. Still has to develop coverage awareness and route recognition, should play run support more aggressively and improve tackling. Son of former Cincinnati Bengals fullback Stanley Wilson, who was scratched from the lineup in Super Bowl XXIII with drug problems.

Round 5/145 -- Dan Orlovsky, QB, 6-5, 225, Connecticut.
Old-fashioned, pro-style quarterback who doesn't have the mobility generally associated with West Coast offense quarterbacks but the Lions see him as a player who can be developed at No. 3 behind Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia. Size is an asset. Adequate arm with good short-range accuracy. Very poised and competitive, good leadership qualities and prepares meticulously. Threw two touchdown passes against Toledo in Connecticut's Motor City Bowl victory but hurt himself with erratic play at the Senior Bowl and the combine.

Round 6/184 -- Bill Swancutt, DE, 6-4, 270, Oregon State.
A natural pass rusher who had 11 1/2 sacks in his final season at Oregon State but scouts apparently question whether a college-level overachiever can be as effective in the NFL. A dedicated worker with a non-stop motor. Has long arms, locates the ball quickly and fights to get there. Has good playing speed, long arms and big hands. Impressed in the Senior Bowl against solid competition. Lacks initial quickness and is not naturally athletic. Doesn't have the bulk to hold his ground at the point of attack against the run.

Round 6/206 -- Johnathan Goddard, OLB/DE, 6-0, 238 pounds, Marshall
Although Goddard is considered a tweener by many, the Lions like his speed and his feel for the game. Led the nation as a senior last fall with 16 quarterback sacks and 28 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Does not have great playing strength or leverage but makes up for it with a great motor. Plays with effort and runs plays down with a good first step.

Lions Report Top Stories