Draft Analysis: Should Lions Draft Bradford?

The large debate currently raging amongst the fans and pundits of the Lions, is whether to draft yet another skill position player in a quarterback, namely Heisman Trophy winner and Oklahoma Sooner Sam Bradford, or between mammoth offensive tackles Andre Smith or Michael Oher. Expert Topher Smith evaluates where the Lions should spend the No. 1 pick ...

Another year has come and gone, and again, the Lions proved themselves amongst the worst professional organizations of all time. Since the new millennium has started, the Lions have been involved in some of the biggest blunders ever witnessed by fans of a professional team.

Some of the decisions reign from the hiring of a television personality to run the team, to some of the worst first round draft picks witnessed in history (remember Mike Williams?), to the entirety of the 2008 season. Never would any person imagine that perfecting imperfection could allow the people at the head of decision making to not only retain their jobs, but to receive promotions.

Yet, that's precisely what has happened with new general manager Martin Mayhew and new team president Tom Lewand.

Though there could be hope on the horizon. Mayhew, unlike those that preceded him, seems to have a plan of action put into place. In the press conference announcing him in official capacity, Mayhew directly pointed to the draft.

"We will build this thing through the draft - okay. We're not going to be jumping out there in free agency and throwing 30 million bucks at somebody on the first day at midnight," said Mayhew during a press briefing. "I think the way to do it is through the draft and we do it through young guys and you develop your guys, and you spend time training your guys. You don't give up on your guys. You hang in there with them and a lot of the good organizations in this league - that's what those teams do."

In theory, it's a brilliant idea. But does Mayhew and his future coaching staff, whomever they may be, have the proverbial stones to pull of a feat that the Lions have been horrendously perfecting?


Is Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford the next Lion QB? Scout.com's Chris Steuber thinks so, but RoarReport.com draft expert Topher Smith isn't buying it.
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

The large debate currently raging amongst the fans and pundits of the Lions, is whether to draft yet another skill position player in a quarterback, namely Heisman Trophy winner and Oklahoma Sooner Sam Bradford, or between mammoth offensive tackles Andre Smith or Michael Oher.

Scout.com's NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber projects the three players going in the top three picks, with Bradford being the name on the Lions card.

Bradford would certainly bring an immediate upgrade to the Lions quarterback situation. But would he be able to handle it? It's rare you see the strides that Atlanta Falcons rookie Matt Ryan made in his inaugural year. Even Carson Palmer needed a few years of tutelage before taking full control of the Bengal's offense.

If anything can be said with absolute conviction, it's that the Lions need immediate impact. Bradford could provide that, however, the question remains whether he'll be standing long enough in order to do so. Yet another season has come and gone, where the Lions are amongst the league leaders in sacks allowed.

Enter Michael Oher and Andre Smith. Clearly they are heads and shoulders above the rest of their competition against other offensive tackles, and their projections certainly show it.


Michael Oher might not be a sexy pick, but he would help solidify Detroit's shaky offensive line.
Ole Miss Athletics

In the 2006 draft, the New York Jets had piled together excess first round draft picks, and used both to solidify their offensive line by selecting D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. With rookie head coach Eric Mangini at the helm, the Jets went on to finish 10-6 and secured the 5th spot in the AFC playoffs. They didn't go after the prized quarterbacks in Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler. Chad Pennington, the oft forgotten veteran, helped lead them and won the NFL's Comeback Player Of The Year.

In the 2008 draft, the 1-15 Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long. Immediately plugged into the starting rotation, Long helped solidify the trenches for the Dolphins, who have since had an un-thought of turnaround, and find themselves the current AFC East champions. And the quarterback that led them? Chad Pennington, again being forgotten and left behind by the Jets after they acquired Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

Though you can't project actual production until your product is on the field, a formula that has been in place since the beginning of the game still remains in play – win it in the trenches. That's what a Michael Oher or Andre Smith can bring.

If Mayhew is indeed set on building through the draft itself, he shouldn't be looking outside of the University of Alabama or Ole Miss for the next Detroit Lion.

Topher Smith also writes for GoBlueWolverine, covering Michigan athletics.


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