Ed's Note: With draft chatter heating up, we're again bringing out our quasi-blog. Essentially, I will update this page every morning in the weeks and days leading up to the April draft, linking to news around the web regarding the Detroit Lions. We won't stop at local links, either. Anything national or said of Detroit in other regions you can find here, along with the hottest topics in The Den message board.
Bookmark this page and make it part of your daily breakfast routine. Thanks.
All my best,
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 1:19 a.m.
Sorry for the delay. Lions news in the past 72 hours was on life support until ...
- The Denver Broncos officially put Jay Cutler on the trade block. And as expected, the Lions have been listed among the top likely candidates to acquire Cutler's services.
Said TBO.com, "Without a second-round pick, though, the Bucs may fall short of matching the package of players and picks teams such as Detroit, Washington or Chicago could offer the Broncos for Cutler."
As RoarReport.com mentioned two weeks ago, the Lions have been active in bringing Cutler aboard, and are even willing to dangle the No. 1 overall pick. Whether or not those talks died, or escalated, are not currently known. However, that seems to be the hot topic in The Den message board.
More notes of interest on Cutler:
- SI.com Peter King's take on this ordeal
"But the Lions may have been swayed to pick Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall after his impressive workout Tuesday on the Georgia campus."
- The Lions might have to compete (rather than work with) Cleveland
- ... or God Forbid someone in their own division
"Chicago, 5-1: Making such a deal may be out of character for general manager Jerry Angelo, but the Bears need a quarterback and two of their NFC North foes will be going after Cutler. They need to make a push. Chicago has the No. 18 pick."
- Also intriguing Detroit fans was Matthew Stafford's private workout. Just about every member of Detroit's brass was in attendance, according to the Oakland Press' Dave Birkett. And while a few reports referred to Stafford's athletic display as "flawless," the Georgia QB was a bit more modest.
“I think I did well,” Stafford told Birkett. “At this point I'm not going to say what I feel like my chances (of going No. 1) are. I feel like I've done everything I can. I feel like I've done well every time we've met together. Whether they go with me or with somebody else is not up to me, but I can rest easy at night knowing that I did everything I could.”
The Lions will also have offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and a scout on hand to watch USC's Mark Sanchez at the Trojans' Pro Day later today (April 1). They'll follow up their own personal meeting with Sanchez in mid-April, a week and a half prior to the college football draft.
Additionally: Free Press story on Stafford's workout: Link
- ESPN's Kevin Seifert, though, thinks the whole thing is a giant smokescreen. And in the irony of ironies, in the next paragraph, completely contradicts himself.
"Sorry to be a cynic. And to be clear, this is in no way a comment on the reporting that's been done on this event. But the reality is it's in the Lions' best interests for people to believe he is their top choice ....
"That said, the Lions put a lot of time into Stafford the past two days ... There's always a chance that misinformation is circling. But for the time being, all of the above-board indications suggest the Lions are growing closer to settling on Stafford."
- Getting away from the QB headache momentarily, you should take a peak at our feature article on Detroit native Connor Barwin. The former Cincinnati Bearcat is climbing draft boards at a dizzying pace, and RoarReport.com learned that the team has set up a visit with him on April 3.
"(After switching to DE his senior year) Connor Barwin ended up terrorizing quarterbacks, notching a Big-East leading 11 sacks by the end of the season. He also logged 53 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, and eight passes defensed.
"I really love the competition that comes with playing defensive end, because in a small way it's just you against the guy who's trying to block you. And I don't ever want to get blocked," Barwin said during an interview with Scout.com at the Senior Bowl in January." More
- PREMIUM: Did the Detroit Lions overspend for Julian Peterson? It seems that way. Ludicrously, actually.
"What it also indicates was that Julian Peterson was 100% on his way out of Seattle, deal or no deal with Detroit, and that the defensive line is still an area the Seahawks could address on April 25, or more likely, April 26."
While Peterson was an excellent acquisition for the Lions (and granted, we're sure there was competition for his services), he could've also been cut and potentially had for a cheaper price. We get the reason for dumping Redding, but a fifth-rounder? When you're in Detroit's position, the needless loss of draft picks is nothing to sniff at.
- We always save the least-read pieces for last. In this case, the honor belongs to the Detroit News' John Niyo, who bucked the popular trend of Stafford versus Cutler, for ... ? PARKING CHANGES IN DETROIT'S PLAYER LOT.
"With the detail-oriented Schwartz in charge, the parking lot has a different look, too. Out with the old free-for-all, as (Gerland) Alexander described it, and in with a new by-the-numbers parking system at Allen Park."
You can smell trouble from a mile away. Would the Lions be forced to trade away Jay Cutler if he doesn't get a preferred spot?
- Everyone is discussing the Jay Cutler trade story here ...
- And here. The interesting part of that thread, though, is the poster's claim that the Lions will acquire a veteran QB (we've heard something similar)
- It was only a matter of time before someone asked Jeff Garcia to come back.
- One columnist's idea that Detroit should draft an offensive tackle, and not Matthew Stafford, sparked this firestorm.
Sunday, March 28, 2009 - 1:42 a.m.
- Yesterday, it was the Seahawks who were following what the Lions do closely. This morning? It's the Kansas City Chiefs. "If the Chiefs want their choice of the draft’s defensive players, the Lions are the bigger problem," writes The Kansas City Star. Although they also have many needs to fill, it is no secret that the Chiefs would love to add Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry to their defensive lineup. However, Curry's popularity is growing considerably, and you can bet that rise is charted on Detroit's draft board.
- RoarReport.com learned that the Lions will be meeting with San Jose State DT Jarron Gilbert on Monday. Gilbert is projected as a second-to-third round draft prospect, but is climbing the charts considerably. Some advanced mocks have him going to the Lions with the 33rd overall pick. Regardless, we're pretty impressed by his wildly popular YouTube video.
- ... we're going to continue to toot our own horn. Last night, we posted a pretty extensive "Lions Notebook" which included Martin Mayhew's strategy versus his old boss (He Who Shall Not Be Named).
"You may take the specific need late in the draft to fill a roster spot," Mayhew said. "But to me, at the top especially, you definitely have to look at who's the best player for this season and for future seasons."
That doesn't mean the Lions will always take the absolutely highest-rated player on their board. If they have two players rated relatively closely, they will take the player at the position of need. But if they have Player A rated appreciably higher than Player B, they will take Player A. "It's where you draw that line," Mayhew said. "You can't reach for a position."
Also discussed: Detroit's alleged discussions with top picks, the team's new logo talk, and more. Full Story.
- After taking a cheap shot at Charles Rogers in yesterday's collection, the Saginaw News did us one better: they wrote an entire editorial on the demise of his star. Their last cut was the deepest: "Rogers says he isn't sad about how his life has turned out because of the strides he's made to take care of himself. Well, his family and friends assuredly are sad. This city is sad -- and angry. And all those disappointed kids. What a waste."
- Some guy named Mark McGuire (judging by his picture, we're guessing the non-roider) changed his mock pick for Detroit from Matthew Stafford to Baylor's Jason Smith. "Lions go the safe route, hoping to get by with Daunte Culpepper for now and picking up a QB later in the draft," explains McGuire, who writes for the Albany Times Union.
- Pictures! The Free Press has put together a nice collection of professional photos involving potential Lions draft picks.
Some of the top discussions in The Den message board for Sunday ...
- The forum is up in arms after this article claims that Mark Sanchez is better than Matthew Stafford.
- Speaking of Stafford blowing it in the NFL, one Lions fan openly wonders the worst.
- Detroit had many poor players last year, but who was the worst? That conquers this particular discussion.
- Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers desperate enough to trade up to No. 1? They need a quarterback, after all.
Saturday, March 27, 2009 - 5: 03 a.m.
- It got annoying after a while (so we locked the thread), but the folks in the message board have replaced Chuck Norris-isms with Drew Stanton. Our favorite? "Matthew Stafford can throw a football over 50 yards, Drew Stanton can throw Matthew Stafford even further." Here's more of 'em. We're assuming that's what irrelevance buys you.
Anyway, Stanton was on hand to watch Michigan State beat Kansas to advance to the Elite Eight on Wednesday.
- Scout.com's Adam Caplan reports that Detroit has a visit lined up with Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. What makes Freeman interesting (besides the fact that he's flown under the radar while most of the country fawns over Matthew Stafford -- and while we fawn over Mark Sanchez) is his possible availability at No. 20. If Detroit goes OL or LB at No. 1, they could still get a quarterback, and one that has been compared largely to Daunte Culpepper.
- The Lions were in attendance for Northern Illinois Pro Day on Friday afternoon, along with about 20 other teams. Although several draft-eligible players worked out, the Lions have been keeping an eye on defensive end Larry English. He is projected as a mid second to third-round pick.
- So you want to return to football, eh? Charles Rogers might have his opportunity -- in his hometown of Saginaw, where he would line-up as flanker for the Saginaw Sting. Rogers has pledged a return to football, which will evidently come after he is released from jail in mid-April. The Sting have claimed that they're more than willing to accept Rogers.
Depending on how the economically thriving Saginaw area responds to the return of Rogers (who starred for Saginaw High in the late 90's), it could go a long way in returning the $8.6 million (and No. 2 overall pick, and the accompanying hope, and that "Harrington-to-Rogers" connection that never materialized, and Steve Mariucci's coaching career) that he owes Detroit. Baby steps ...
- One of the more interesting benefits to holding the No. 1 pick is the country-wide talk discussing it. Anything the Lions do will invariably affect everyone else in the draft, or at least in the several picks to follow. The Seahawks (No. 4 overall) are aware of this also, as the analysts struggle to provide any insight to how the dice might fall.
"Detroit, of course, holds the cards," said one analyst. "I believe the lack of depth at quarterback and quality depth at tackle, linebacker, and other positions of need for Detroit essentially will force their hand and they'll end up taking the quarterback with the first pick."
- So USA Today wins first place for being original. Between their eight NFL expert panelists, only two names surfaced as potential No. 1 picks in the newspaper's mock draft: Georgia QB Matthew Stafford and Baylor OT Jason Smith. The No. 20 pick was a bit more diverse, as the panel picked USC LB Clay Matthews twice, Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis three times, with one nod apiece going to Tennessee DE Robert Ayers, Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson, USC LB Rey Mauluga, and Alabama OT Andre Smith.
- While many draft pundits like to compare Matthew Stafford to last year's No. 3 overall pick, Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Falcons coach Mike Smith offered a quick reminder: "He wasn't a third-year player coming out."
Ryan, wildly successful as a rookie for the Falcons, was a fifth-year senior at Boston College before declaring for the 2008 draft. Stafford has just three years under his belt. However, Smith also offered that, as a first-year head coach, a competent quarterback was an intriguing thought during the draft. " ... when you have a quarterback that can operate efficiently, it sure opens up a whole lot more avenues, because he's the guy that touches the ball every snap."
And as always, some of the top discussions in The Den message board for Saturday morning ...
- One of our best users, AtticusSpeaks, offers a legitimate concern: is the defensive youth movement a double-edged sword?
- A challenge is offered to Aaron Curry supporters: Why should the Lions draft him, and what makes Curry the presumed "safe" pick?
- Does Daunte have three years left in the tank? One Den member seems to think so. Share your thoughts by clicking here.
Friday, March 27, 2009 - 4:15 a.m.
- By now you might have witnessed the meltdown between ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. Both draft "analysts" (i.e. glorified bloggers) got into a certifiably self-depricating pissing match on national television the other day. Over what? Whether or not the Detroit Lions should draft Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall. The Free Press has the dialogue of the battle of egos, but nothing beats the cinematic evidence. (Note how Kiper's trademark Bravo-cut never sways. Ever. It's uncanny.)
- Kiper's tour of Michigan's Friday media blitz didn't end with the Free Press, either. His manlove for Matthew Stafford continued, as discussed by Traverse City Record-Eagle's Mike Eckert.
- "We have tools to be able to turn it around"
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz shared that with the Free Press in an article this morning, but he was referencing the team's five draft picks within the first 82 selections. It has made Detroit a team to watch -- maybe THE team to watch -- in late April's draft. "We need to take advantage of those," said Schwartz. "We have room available under the cap. We need to take advantage of that, and I think we did. There's a lot of different opportunities for us to improve."
- Technically, this was posted on Thursday, but we didn't see it until now. The Denver Post was among the legion of media at Dana Point, California, and because of the Jay Cutler trade interest, they're also nipping at Lions coach Jim Schwartz's heels for anything draft related. Schwartz's response couldn't have been more generic. Literally. "I don't want to comment on how active we were in this or that or anything else," Schwartz told the paper. "I just want to leave it with a blanket, a generic blanket (statement) that we're going to look at every possibility that we can to improve our team."
Some of the top discussions in The Den message board for Friday morning ...
- Chris Steuber's Mock Draft isn't being well received. Why? Because he has Sanchez going No. 1. [DISCUSS]
- Official RoarReport.com Draft Poll: CURRY CLOSING GAP [DISCUSS]
- Would you trade Calvin Johnson for Adrian Peterson? We don't know why the topic was started, but plenty of people are chiming in ... [DISCUSS]
- Many think the Lions could draft Michael Oher at 20 overall, but as this post points out, that might not happen. [DISCUSS]
Nate Caminata is an award-winning journalist in the state of Michigan, writing for multiple newspapers and magazines, and has covered the Detroit Lions professionally for 10 years.