Our two biggest needs this offseason are outside linebacker and cornerback. Mayhew didn't take a single player at either of our two biggest needs, so how could this be a great draft? Well, he did draft three starters. He strengthened what was already our strongest position, defensive tackle. And, he gave this team an IDENTITY. We now have the BEST defensive line in the country.
The best way to judge a team's draft is to see how many starters they get out of it. So far, the Lions have drafted three players, and gotten 3 starters. Obviously, Nick Fairley will probably start ahead of Corey Williams. Titus Young will be the number 2 reciever, with Burleson in the slot. Mikel Leshoure will probably be used as our main runningback, with Best as a change of pace back. Assuming these picks don't bust, Mayhew has just provided large, and important upgrades to both side of the ball.
Not only will Fairley improve the d-line, but he will make probably the best tackle tandem in the league with Suh. They will be able to stop most runs up the middle. That lessens the need for a great OLB by a little. They will also be able to rush the passer better. If the 6th best team at getting sacks can get more sacks, I'd call that a win. Plus, according to Sports Science, we have the two hardest hitters in the NFL(Hardest=Suh,Hitters=Fairley). This duo will probably be better than the Williams Wall ever was.
Titus Young will draw some coverage from CJ, and allow the Lions to use more 3-reciever formations than they have the past couple years. Even though he sucks at blocking, he will help our running game more than most realize. First, when we do use 3-reciever sets, that will require the defense to spread out more. Then, we put in Best to weave between the more spaced out defenders. Another way he will help the run game is by helping the passing game. If we get a more dangerous passing game, teams will use more defensive backs and play the pass more often. Then, we use Leshoure to run over those extra defensive backs. He will also help protect Stafford, too. By having a stronger recieving corps, teams will not be able to blitz as often, or as many players. We could have one of the better offenses in the NFL, especially with a healthy Stafford.
Mikel Leshoure will provide the thunder to Jahvid Best's lightning. We can pound the rock up the middle for 20 times a game with Leshoure. As soon as the defense starts to look winded, BOOM, we let Best of the leash and have him out run the whole defense. And, I believe Mikel is also a good reciever out of the backfield. You can never have too many passing targets.
But, we still need corners and line backers, right? That's arguable. During the last 4 games of the season, we had a patchwork corner unit made up of guys we took off waivers and other team's practice squads. Guess what, we won with them. Most of the corners we already have are still in their first few years in the NFL. We all know Alphonso Smith has a major weakness called tackling, but he is also entering his 3rd year in the league, which is usually a big year for corners. We also have a few UDFA's like Aaron Berry, who were playing good, then got injured. I think Nathan Vasher provides a very important veteran side to the corner position.
Then, at linebacker, we have Ashlee Palmer and Bobby Carpenter, who played pretty good during the last few games of the season. Some might even say they played well enough to get a chance at starting this year. They both have decent upside, and fit the defense well.
Let's not forget about free agency, either. Once it eventually starts, I would not be surprised to see the Lions get a few veterans at both the outside linebacker spots and corner positions. We do have a young defense, and some leadership would never hurt.
I think Mayhew stuck to his promise of BPA, andf drafting for the future of this team. Another thing is that every player that we drafted this year has someone at their position who is getting up there in age. Maurice Morris is going to be 30 I think, C.W. will be 32, and Burleson is either 30 or 31. So, the rookies will help keep their postions young for years to come.