More Draft: Follett A Hitter; Levy At MLB

The Detroit Lions found two strong defensive prospects at the linebacker position during the weekend's draft.

  • Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a six-year contract worth a maximum of $78 million, with $41.7 million guaranteed, to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He shrugged off the pressure it brings.

    "That's a lot of positive pressure for me," Stafford said. "I like that. It's something I have to live up to and have to prove that I'm worth, and that's exciting for me."Stafford got the news the deal was done about 10:30 the night before the draft, while out to dinner with family and friends. Stafford smiled sheepishly, sort of shrugged and gave what his father, John, called "a very nonchalant thumbs up."

    "I got up, and everybody else got into it real quick," Stafford's father said. "And then it was just hugs all around."

    Stafford received calls from president Tom Lewand and coach Jim Schwartz shortly afterward.

    "It was nice to have a nice sleep last night knowing I was going to go No. 1 to Detroit," Stafford said. "It meant a lot to me for sure."

  • Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy, a third-round pick, had surgery on a staph infection and cyst on his lower back during his senior year of high school -- and played a football game that night.

    "They just closed it up that day, so it was, like, leaking a little bit," Levy said. "I had a patch over it. It was bleeding a little. It was kind of nasty, when I think back on it. But you don't really think about that when you're on the field."

    Asked for his best attribute, Levy said: "I think my willingness to compete. I'm a reliable guy on and off the field."

    Levy will be tried at middle linebacker by Detroit's coaching staff, who was impressed by his game-film; in particular, when he went one-on-one with Ohio State's Bernie Wells, knocking the highly-touted running back backwards on several occasions.
  • California's Zack Follett developed quite a reputation at California. According to, "Ask any Pac-10 Conference quarterback to name the hardest hitting tackler in the league and they will sound like a choir in singing praises for Follett."

    Follett tallied 10.5 sacks in senior year, and set a California record after forcing 13 fumbles during his career.  He'll be tried at middle linebacker and outside by the Lions.

    "He's played everywhere. At that point we drafted a good football player that was productive and at that point was on the board too long," said head coach Jim Schwartz. "He's extremely productive. I guess the best words you'd describe him are good football player - versatile, he's played inside, he's played outside, even lines up as a pass rusher with his hand in the dirt."

    Follett was originally considered a mid-round prospect, but he dealt with injuries during his collegiate career.

    Scouting Report on Follett: Follett is an instinctive defender who makes plays all over the field. He moves well laterally, diagnoses the action and has great closing speed. He’s an outstanding tackler, who has excellent range and is a highly effective pass rusher. He has good awareness and possesses a high football IQ. - Chris Steuber,
  • Penn State wide receiver/return man Derrick Williams, a third-round pick, was doing a media conference call right after he was drafted when his phone buzzed. It was Lions wide receiver Bryant Johnson. Again.

    "That's Bryant texting me," Williams said. "He's texting me left and right now. He says, 'Don't worry. I got you.' "

    Johnson, a fellow Nittany Lion, is one of Williams' mentors. Both are from the Baltimore/Washington area. They met when Johnson was a senior and Williams was being recruited, and they grew close the following year. They often work out together.
  • Texas Christian running back/kickoff returner Aaron Brown, a sixth-round pick, was suspended for all but one game his senior year of high school for a graffiti incident. He was suspended for three games his senior year of college for violating school policy. He said he told the Lions he wasn't that kind of guy.
    "I've learned my lesson," Brown said. So what was the graffiti? Brown said it was a prank, "stupid stuff ... just to intimidate the incoming freshmen."

    "You can't try to please everybody. The No. 1 thing I have to do is go in there and try to work hard for my teammates, my coaches, the owners, the team, and get wins, because winning cures a lot of stuff. Hopefully that's what I can do." -- Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, on being booed at Ford Field after the Lions drafted him No. 1 overall.

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