Feeling Drafty #13: Detroit Lions

April 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , )

Winner of Defensive Rookie of the Year and Detroit Team MVP? Ndamukong Suh is going places.

I have a friend named Toc.  He’s a huge fan of the Lions, and he has been for years.  And for years, I’ve been giving him hell about it.  It was pretty easy to crack jokes at his expense, since for so many years, the Lions were terrible.  And since I’m a Bears fan, I usually got to boast my two wins a year over his team.  But, that might be changing.  I really hope what I’m about to say is wrong.

The Lions are a team on the move.  And they’re moving up.  Ndamukong Suh is a monster and a future multiple-time Pro Bowler.  Kyle Vanden Bosch is an underrated talent who does nothing but help improve the rest of the D-line.  Matt Stafford can win games for Detroit if he can stay in games.  And then there’s Calvin Johnson.  What more needs to be said?

But, can they take the next step?  They may be just a few key pieces away from being contenders in the NFC North.  They could use a corner or linebacker, but they have other needs, especially on the offensive line.  Besides, I don’t have a linebacker or a corner going off the board for another ten picks.  Matthew Stafford was on track to make a leap in terms of talent, but he got injured.  Nine times out of ten, and especially in the the case of a pocket quarterback like Stafford, that falls on the big, broad shoulders of the offensive linemen.  It’s kind of surprising that it took this long for an offensive lineman to go off the board.  The last time the first O-lineman went off the board this late was back in 2005 when the Saints picked up Jammal Brown at (oddly enough) 13th overall.

The battle for best offensive linemen is a tight one, with as many as five candidates. But USC OT Tyron Smith is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch.

There are quite a few tackles that can be the first O-lineman off the board.  But, I think the big winner will be USC OT Tyron Smith.  6’5″, 280 lbs., quick as a cricket.  He did his part in keeping Matt Barkley upright very well.  He played right tackle in college, but the people at SoCal were working to get Smith to convert to left tackle, so there’s versatility there to boot.

If Detroit can break through with the talent that’s there, the NFC North could have four competitive teams battle for one division championship and the two Wild Card spots.  And if that’s the case, Toc is going to let me have it.  This may not end well.

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