Lomas Brown was the Lions' first-round pick in 1985. When he looks at right tackle Gosder Cherilus, the Lions' first-round pick this year, he thinks of wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions' first-round pick last year.
"You know what that kind of reminds me of?" Brown said. "A lot of people were talking about Calvin Johnson. 'Oh, he's a bust.' "
Then Brown thinks back to 1991, when he was the Lions' left tackle and they drafted wide receiver Herman Moore in the first round. Brown and teammate Kevin Glover weren't impressed at first.
"Remember Herman's first two years, man? He couldn't catch a cold," Brown said. "I remember me and Glove went to the locker room after practice. ... 'Glove, man, they wasted their money on their first-round pick. He's horrible.' "
Cherilus hasn't necessarily been horrible during the Lions' organized team activities. But he has been beaten in pass-blocking drills at times. He is adjusting to the speed of the NFL and no contact is allowed -- a tough challenge for a guy whose strength is run blocking and physical play.
"A lot of times it looks like he's grabbing and he's not punching the guy, but it's all about the timing," Brown said. "He can learn. He'll get that down during training camp. The more reps he gets with it, the better he'll get. So I'm not really concerned with him.
"I do like what I heard, that he's got a nasty attitude. You can't teach that."
Brown went to seven Pro Bowls in 10 years with the Lions. He was a backup when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season -- while several current Lions coaches and players were with the Buccaneers.
Coach Rod Marinelli, the Bucs' defensive line coach then, called Brown the best scout team player he had ever seen -- studious and enthusiastic.
Brown plans to work with Cherilus this offseason and in training camp, though the specifics haven't been ironed out.
"I don't think he's very far (away)," Brown said. "I just think there's fundamental things for him. "When you're young and you step into this league, man, it's rare that you get some guys who can come and start right now."