VanFulpen: Lions Draft picks

The 2002 draft for the Lions could turn out to be one of their best ever, it might not look like this year but in 2003 and beyond in the future it could be. With their first pick in Joey Harrington to their last pick in Victor Rogers, Detroit add some good players, and a few of them have to answer some questions with their medical history. Harrington could start in this year, so could Kalimba Edwards, and Andre Goodman. Victor Rogers could start sometime on the offense line down the road, Chris Cash could be the dime cornerback, and Luke Staley could be the back-up running as well as being the third down running back. There are also some project in the draft class with John Taylor, John Owens, and Matt Murphy. But this is where you build your team with the draft, and Detroit has a lot of holes to fill. Also don't forget about the un-draft rookie free-agents, that have and will be signed this week. The Lions have had many un-drafted rookies make the team in the past and make an impact. But right now lets look at the 9 newest players the Lions have added.


Selected: First round, third overall. Profile: Quarterback from Oregon, 6-feet-4, 220 pounds. Comment: Prototypic size and above- average mobility, good but not great arm strength, but has many additional qualities, good vision, very smart, quick feet and great leadership qualities. He has good mechanics and exceptional accuracy, a three-year starter who led Oregon to a 25-3 record, 10 times in the fourth quarter. Last season, Harrington threw 25 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. Finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and recognized as a First-Team All-America following senior season with the Ducks. He was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 2,764 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also tied for second on the team in rushing touchdowns with seven as a senior. Finished college career with 6,911 yards passing and 49 touchdowns and a mark of 25-3 as a starter.

VanFulpen's Extra Point: Harrington will make the Lions team and look for him to be the starter sometime this season. Harrington and Mike McMahon will go into training camp competing for the starting job, McMahon has the edge right now because he knows the offense and has improved this off-season, with his accuracy and mechanics. But even with his improvement, Harrington has better accuracy and mechanics and when he learns the West Coast offense will take the starting job and never look back.


Selected: Second round, 35th overall. Profile: Defensive end from South Carolina, 6-5, 265 pounds. Comment: Extremely gifted athlete that continues to get better. He is explosive off the snap with a second gear to run down the play from behind. Lions want to put an extra 15 to 20 pounds on him, line him up at defensive end and let him play. He has good athletic ability, very fluid as a pass rusher with ideal height and wingspan for the job. He uses his hands well, plays well against the run despite relative lack of size and has the ability to drop in coverage. Coming off a knee injury that might have dropped him in the draft, and will have to get stronger as he gets bigger. A 2001 All-America and All-SEC First-Team member placed fifth on the Gamecocks' tackle list with 79 stops as a senior, despite missing playing time due to a slight left MCL tear against Florida in November. Even though his performance was less than what was expected at the season's onset, Edwards still finished the year as a semifinalist for both the Butkus and Lombardi. Finished his career with 238 stops, nearly 20 for lost yardage and 15 on the opposing quarterback.

VanFulpen's Extra Point: Edwards would have been a mid-first round pick if he didn't get injured late in his senior season. The Lions will put him on a weight program and hope that when training camp comes in late July that he will have added some weight and if he does he will be the opening day starter at right defense end and will make a big impact as a rookie. When it is all said done he could be one of the best defensive players to come out of this years draft, and a draft day steal for the Lions.


Selected: Third round, 68th overall. Profile: Cornerback from South Carolina, 5-10, 182 pounds. Comment: He is a good athlete with quick feet, good change of direction, breaks well on the ball and covers well, also a outstanding leaper. He supports well against the run and does a good job wrapping up on tackles. A big-game player for South Carolina who possesses good coverage skills and excellent hands, but not quite as big or as physical as you would like, and sometimes gives the receiver too much cushion. Broke up eight passes and intercepted three as a senior. A former high school sprinter, he's been clocked at 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. A left shoulder injury didn't allow him to work out at the recent combine, which might have led to him sliding into the third round. In 2001 posted 33 tackles and three interceptions, and was Second-Team All-SEC.

VanFulpen's Extra Points: Goodman was a player the Lions needed to fill a hole in their secondary but they didn't reach for him, and he could start as a rookie. He has great speed and that is something that the Lions need, don't be surprised if Goodman starts this year and does a decent job.


Selected: Fourth round, 134th overall. Profile: Defensive end from Montana State, 6-3, 261 pounds. Comment: He has a solid athletic build and does nice job when dropping back in pass coverage, ran a 4.59 in the 40. He played nose guard, defensive tackle, defensive end and outside linebacker at Montana State. He is quick off the snap and smooth lateral agility, some quickness to make plays wide but doesn't have a lot of overall speed. Good closing burst, however, and has the ability to drop in coverage. Taylor gained more than 20 pounds between his junior and senior seasons and will have to gain another 10 or 15 to be an effective defensive end, where the Lions are projecting him. All-Big Sky Conference First Team selection in 2001, who posted 29 tackles on the year with 4.5 sacks.

VanFulpen's Extra Points: A huge reach and a question mark, even Taylor himself said he was "surprised" to be picked that early. He is a project but he does have some upside, he should make the team because of his ability on special teams. But he will have to show that ability on special teams to make the opening day roster or he might just make the practice squad.


Selected: Fifth round, 138th overall. Profile: Tight end from Notre Dame, 6-3, 266 pounds. Comment: He started and finished his career as a tight end but in between spent a season as a backup defensive end in 2000. He is a very good blocker with good size, who has quick feet and gets into his blocks quickly, has some power, bends his knees and gets his pads low. He has decent hands and just was getting started in the passing game as a senior. He is a developmental-type player, who gained size and strength over the past year, adding to his overall skill level, making him a viable prospect. Played in all 11 games during his senior campaign, collecting six receptions for 79 yards and one of four of the team's touchdowns through the air.


VanFulpen's Extra Points: Owens has great size and is just learning how to run routes and is very raw in that area. He has a good chance to make the team because the Lions need tight

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