Chris McCosky of the Detroit News had an interesting article from the press conference that Martin Mayhew held on Thursday. Here is the whole article:
What I found most interesting were some of Mayhew's comments around his philosophy of drafting.
"I guess the "Mayhew Doctrine" is keep your options open," he said. "You don't want to paint yourself in a corner."
He also made it clear there is no positional preference."We have a lot more needs than people realize," he said. "There are a lot of places we can get better. Our philosophy is to take the best player and that's not going to change."
He elaborated on that as to how it not only relates to the draft, but to all player acquisitions including free agency, trades, and waivers.
With the lockout, there is no free agency period, nor is there presently any avenue for teams to sign undrafted free agents. Mayhew, though, says the change isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Lions."It actually fits in great with our philosophy," he said. "It allows us to be true to our board. We know there will be some form of free agency coming forward, so this allows us to take the best player now and then fill in the gaps later with a better quality of player."
That is a point that Mayhew has demonstrated in the past. He has always been able to get quality [sometimes not great quality] players in free agency. Before, and after the draft. He is confident enough [unlike a fair number of PODers] that he can get the players he needs in free agency to plug any holes in the line up or in depth.
Mayhew also emphasized his focus, in any draft year, is for the future.
"We're not drafting to get ready for the first game of next season," he said. "We're drafting for the future of the franchise. We don't view the draft as a finish line. We're not going to get done and say, 'We're all good now.' I think our pro scouts have done a great job of finding players after the draft — guys like Stefan Logan and John Wendling who were Pro Bowl alternates last year and young guys like Alphonso Smith and Lawrence Jackson."We're going to keep looking after the draft. We won't fill all our needs in the draft process."
I think the last line is another key point that has fueled a huge amount of debate here at the POD. While most of us look at the draft as an opportunity to fill out a grocery list of needs, Mayhew is saying that the Lions do not approach the draft in that way. Personally, I think that Mayhew and the Lions structure their board with position needs in mind, but again that is not the most important factor. As Mayhew said, the Lions have more needs than a lot of people realize, so it is easy to have a fairly flexible approach that will allow them to take the best player and still be able to fit him into a spot to get good long term value.
Perhaps I am reading too much into this, and maybe it is just another Mayhew smoke screen, but I think he is being fairly honest and open about this, because he really is not giving any information away, and the other NFL teams are intelligent enough to know that Mayhew is capable of taking almost any player at any position.
This should be a very interesting draft and off season. As usual, any comments will be happily responded to.