Saturday Notes: The Latest from Indy

  • The Lions are meeting with many potential draft picks while in Indy.  As we already know, they had dinner with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford on Thursday night.  That wasn't the only meeting, though.  USC quarterback Mark Sanchez had lunch with Scott Linehan earlier in the day, and Martin Mayhew and James Harris also met with Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe on Friday night.  Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry will likely meet with the Lions on Sunday, as his dinner today had to be rescheduled due to medical testing.
  • Late Friday night, a story on RoarReport.com indicated that there was a rumor Jon Kitna had been traded to, as we now know, the New York Jets.  The thought of Kitna being traded was odd, because it is common knowledge that he will probably be released sometime very soon.  Why would a team waste a draft pick to trade for him and be on the hook for his roster bonus and pre-determined salary for 2009?  The answer to those questions is that no team would do that, as a trade did not happen.  The Lions even confirmed that no trade had occurred, saying that the report is "not true."
  • By the way, Jon Kitna's roster bonus is due on March 3, so that is essentially the deadline to make a decision about whether or not he will stay on the roster.  Unless the bonus is delayed or Kitna's contract is restructured, I'm guessing he will be gone by March 3.
  • As far as the quarterback situation goes for the 2009 season, it seems like Daunte Culpepper is the starter in the mind of Martin Mayhew.  Although that doesn't necessarily mean he has been named the starter, it is inevitable at this point.  Mayhew sees Dan Orlovsky as a backup and Drew Stanton as a "developmental guy."  Reading between the lines of some of Mayhew's comments, it is clear that Stanton will not be close to starting anytime soon.  Orlovsky could compete for the job if he returns to Detroit, but Mayhew is being pretty upfront that he will probably be the backup.
  • As Tom Kowalski alluded to recently, Martin Mayhew wants to have a contract agreed to with the #1 pick before the draft.
  • Mayhew also talked about free agency and how the Lions can't put all of their eggs in one basket.  To me, that means that the Lions aren't considering signing someone like Albert Haynesworth, who wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.  Breaking the bank for one player would be, as Mayhew described, putting all of their eggs in one basket.  Since the Lions have so many needs, they have to use their cap space wisely to fill most or all of those needs.
  • Jim Schwartz shared another interesting story from his time in Cleveland:
    "I joke around about how low I started, but I also sort of tip my cap to Thomas Dimitroff and (Browns coach) Eric Mangini because they were below me," said Schwartz, whose unpaid internship with the Browns in the early 1990s involved clipping newspaper stories and making cigarette runs for secretaries. "Thomas was cutting the grass and rolling tarps outside and Eric was a P.R. intern."
    Dimitroff, now the Falcons' general manager, thinks Schwartz will "do a nice job" in Detroit.
  • Martin Mayhew believes that Jeff Backus could successfully move to guard.
  • Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has a stress fracture in his foot, talked to Lions WRs coach Shawn Jefferson on Thursday.  Before anyone jumps off a cliff or thinks that Matt Millen has returned or something, just know that the Lions are simply getting to know as many prospects as possible.  Jefferson isn't going to go scout offensive tackles; his job is to look at WRs.
  • Although it is a rumor, this would not surprise me one bit:
    There’s a rumor making the rounds at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that the Lions kept G.M. Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand because ownership didn’t want to have to buy out the balance of their contracts if they fired them.

    In fairness, however, this rumor doesn’t account for the fact that both men were promoted on the day after the team capped the regular season with zero wins, and 16 losses.

    Then again, someone had to receive the roles of G.M. and president after Matt Millen was fired.
    Like I said, I wouldn't be surprised at all if cheapness was why William Clay Ford filled the vacant front office jobs with people already on the payroll.
  • At this point, it looks like Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith won't be going #1 to the Lions.  I say that because his stock is dropping after he decided not to work out at the combine and then was missing altogether today.  It was later reported on the NFL Network that Smith flew back home since he was not going to work out, but his agent failed to let anyone know that.  If not for Crabtree's injury, the top story earlier today would have been that Smith was missing and no one knew where he was.
  • One offensive tackle named Smith is seeing his stock rise.  Baylor's Jason Smith performed quite well during the combine today, and his stock is rising as others' stock falls.  If the draft were tomorrow, many would predict Jason Smith as the Lions' top pick.  There is nothing but speculation behind that, but as of right now he seems to be rising to the top of the offensive tackle rankings.  Thing is, there are still two months until the draft, so everything will probably change a few times before the Lions go on the clock.
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