You can't say the Lions didn't stick to their plan.
|A CLOSER LOOK|
Round 1/1 -- Matthew Stafford, QB, 6-2, 225, Georgia The Lions have been looking for their next great quarterback since trading Bobby Layne to Pittsburgh in 1958, and now here comes Stafford, who went to the same high school Layne did. Stafford has a big arm that can get the ball downfield to wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and coach Jim Schwartz said he was the consensus No. 1 player at Lions headquarters. The Lions don't have to rush him because they have a rejuvenated Daunte Culpepper on a one-year deal.
Round 1/20 -- Brandon Pettigrew, TE, 6-5, 263, Oklahoma State
Round 2/33 -- Louis Delmas, S, 5-11, 202, Western Michigan
Round 3/76 -- DeAndre Levy, LB, 6-1, 236, Wisconsin
Round 3/82 -- Derrick Williams, WR/KR, 5-11, 194, Penn State
Round 4/115 -- Sammie Lee Hill, DT, 6-4, 330, Stillman
Round 6/192 -- Aaron Brown, RB, 6-1, 196, Texas Christian
Murtha stood out at the Combine. He led the offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.89 seconds), the 20-yard shuttle (4.34) and three-cone drill (7.06). He ranked second in the vertical jump (35 inches) and tied for second in the broad jump (9-feet-2). But he was less impressive in college. He is tall and lanky, and he hasn't displayed strength and power. He also has struggled to stay healthy.
Round 7/235 -- Zack Follett, LB, 6-2, 236, California
Round 7/255 -- Dan Gronkowski, TE, 6-5, 255, Maryland
General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz said repeatedly talent would trump need in the draft because the Lions' roster was so barren after the NFL's first 0-16 season.
And the Lions went with the highest-rated player on the board with each of their 10 picks, starting with the first overall pick, Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, and ending with the second-to-last overall pick, Maryland tight end Don Gronkowski.
The result wasn't what Lions fans might have hoped, wanted or expected. The Lions went offense with their first two picks -- Stafford and Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew 20th overall -- even though their defense ranked last the past two seasons.
And they would have gone offense with their first three picks had Ohio State running back Beanie Wells fallen two more spots. Coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions were looking hard at Wells, who went to Arizona 31st overall. The Lions took Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas at No. 33.
"Let me say this: Everybody we drafted we liked and we saw a role for, so it wasn't like we were just drafting just blindly to take guys," Schwartz said. "But I thought we did a really good job of balancing high-rated players with how we were going to use them."
By some measures, the Lions got good value. Many would say they got the best quarterback (Stafford), best tight end (Pettigrew) and best safety (Delmas) with their first three picks.
And it's not like they didn't fill needs. They got a franchise quarterback. They got a complete tight end. They got a playmaking safety. They got not one, but two returners.
But they ended up with two returners, two tight ends and two outside linebackers when they had a gaping hole at middle linebacker. (One will move inside.) They took only two linemen -- none in their first five picks -- when they have said they b
elieve in building from the inside out. "We went into the draft saying, 'Let's not go into the draft saying we have to help this position,'" Schwartz said. "What we need to do is go in and say, 'Hey, look, let's grade the talent. Let's take the talent, and let's fit them into our needs.'...
"You don't want to strictly draft need just to take players that your scouts don't really have a good feel for, your coaches really don't have a good feel for. You'd rather take somebody that you like. We still have other opportunities to fill some holes."
BEST PICK: When the Lions picked Pettigrew, fans at the Ford Field draft party booed louder than they did when the Lions picked Stafford. The fans would have preferred Southern Cal linebacker Rey Maualuga or Ole Miss left tackle Michael Oher. But both of those players had issues and dropped in the draft, while Pettigrew was a top-10 pick on some teams' draft boards. Until they took Pettigrew, the Lions didn't have the kind of complete tight end that is important in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's system.
COULD SURPRISE: Stillman defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill is raw. Coming from a small college program, he needs to learn technique and make the adjustment to the NFL. But at 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, he has the size the Lions want as they try to bulk up their defense, and he can learn behind veteran behemoth Grady Jackson.