Cook: Millen-elli picks are better

Lions' GM Matt Millen seems relegated to errand boy for Rod Marinelli, and the "Millen-elli" picks have been much better than those by Millen alone. The coach tells him what players he wants and Millen's only job is to get in the vicinity so Marinelli can make the pick. Much more from RoarReport.com columnist James Cook inside, as he offers his take on Detroit's draft.

Matt Millen may be happy with a little criticism this time around.

So many people are not happy with Detroit's draft — and that's not a bad thing.

As Lions fans recall, far too many people were happy with the glamour picks Millen made instead of getting real football players. At the same time, Green Bay fans were disappointed by Ted Thompson's no-name picks.

Look how that turned out.

With or without Brett Favre, the Packers are the class of the NFC North, rivaled only by the resurgent Minnesota Vikings. Detroit has a condo in the basement and the lease doesn't run out soon enough.

Thompson didn't make popular picks, but they worked out more often than not. Millen seemed to try to appease the fans more than the coaching staff.

The Packers are so set they only signed one free agent this off-season. One!!!

The Lions, meanwhile, are left desperately trying to fill void after void through free agency, often because high draft picks didn't pan out (i.e., Joey Harrington, Boss Bailey, Teddy Lehman, any number of wide receivers) or their talent was outweighed by other negative factors (that means you, Shaun Rogers and Mike Williams).

Millen seems relegated to errand boy for Rod Marinelli, and the "Millen-elli" picks have been much better than those by Millen alone. The coach tells him what players he wants and Millen's only job is to get in the vicinity so Marinelli can make the pick.

That's why you aren't seeing the glamour picks. Marinelli wants players who live, breathe and eat football. Players who are mean, and guys with character (with the exception of new addition and recently arrested Kalvin Pearson).

Gosder Cherilus, Jordon Dizon and the rest of the Lions' draft fits that mold. No character red flags. No pot smokers. No bums who eat their way out of the league.

And who doesn't like the name "Gosder"? Reminds you of a demon from Ghostbusters. Maybe he can stay out of the fridge better than Rogers. Detroit's defense was abysmal last year. Peyton Manning played more defense.

The secondary was addressed primarily in free agency with Dwight Smith and Brian Kelly signed and starting corner Leigh Bodden acquired in the trade that unloaded Rogers' lazy bum on the Browns.

The defensive line — which lost its biggest impact player in Rogers — will have three new faces from the draft, including a pair of third-round picks.

Linebacker was partially handled through the draft and part in free agency. After dumping their own busts in Bailey and Lehman, reclamation projects Alfred Fincher, Gilbert Gardner and Buster Davis — all picked in the third round or higher by other teams, then let go — have been brought in to compete. Second-round pick Dizon has a very good shot at starting early.

Popular picks don't necessarily make good picks.

Just ask all the so-called experts who gave Millen good grades on his drafts when he was selecting glam guys like Charles Rogers, Harrington, Williams and Bailey.


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