Ever since Martin Mayhew took over the GM position from the Devil himself he has stated that when it comes to the draft he will be using the Best Player Available approach. So I got to thinking about it because of alot of debate here on POD as to what or who exactly is the BPA when they draft and how do they rank the players accordingly. Now I could be way off here but this is my theory on how they do things when it comes to the Draft and what we may expect from this years Draft.
I was looking at our last three drafts that we have had with this current staff and then I took a look at Yahoo Sports, Espn, NFL.com and Wiki. I looked at which players at each position they ranked from #1 best to whatever. I also took into account Kiper and Mcshay's big boards. I would show you the breakdowns but this post would take forever. Basically what I did was take the consensus ranking of each player by their position at the end of the college season in all of the three years that Mayhew and Co. have drafted and also compared it to the rankings after the combine, pro days, and scheduled visits and basically made my own board. I then made a spread sheet and on it I made a row across of each of the positions and then under each row I had each player listed according to their rankings.
What I found out was that some teams bounce all over the place reaching for players just to fill a need and then I noticed that the Lions actually when it was their time to pick would pick someone who was either the first or second player that I had still at that position. The Lions ended up with six players in three years that where considered at the beginning or the end of the offseason to be the #1 prospect at that position. They didn’t reach for anyone. Now this was only up to the first 2-3 rounds because I couldn’t find rankings of everyone in the draft and that would have taken forever.
What I couldn’t find out was out of the players that were all thought to be the best players at their positions, who exactly or what position exactly did the FO rank ahead of each other. So here is a look at the Players we have picked so far in the first two rounds of each draft.
In MM's first Draft as our new GM he was looking at three picks within the first 33. He had the #1 overall pick in the first and second round #33 of the draft for finishing in last place in 2008 and the # 20 pick that he got from Dallas for the Roy Williams trade.
Martin Mayhew stated before the Draft that he would be picking the best players that would fall to us at our respected picks. We as Lions fans new shortly before the draft even began that we were going to select Matthew Stafford QB, Georgia who was highly regarded as the best overall QB in the Draft. Some mostly away from Detroit also thought that Mark Sanchez QB, USC was the best QB and the New York Jets showed that by trading with Cleveland to up to the #5 spot to pick him.
Verdict: Matthew Stafford > Mark Sanchez
Once We got to the #20 pick in the first round there was still an overabundance of talent still left on the board for example: Ray Maualuga LB, USC, Michael Oher OT, Ole Miss, James Laurinaitis LB, Ohio State, Clay Mathews LB, USC, Percy Harvin WR, Flodida, and Hakeem Knicks WR, UNC. Although looking at it now pretty much any of these choices would not have been a bad pick. Of the players listed above none of them where considered the #1 player at their position. Of the players left you still had Alex Mack C, Cal, Louis Delmas S, Western Michigan and Brandon Pettigrew TE, OK ST. Who where all thought off as the best at their positions (I couldn’t find a consensus OG that was considered the best). The front office decided instead of grabbing the 2nd, 3rd or 4th best person at a position they went with Bandon Pettigrew TE, OK ST.
At first a lot of Lions faithful thought it was a bad move with so much talent left on the board but in turn what happened was we ended up with the best TE in the draft to go along with the best QB in the Draft. The next best TE wasn’t taken until the Denver Broncos selected Richard Quinn TE, NC at the 64th spot. As we all know now, Bandon Pettigrew was a great pick and head and shoulders above all the other TE's of the 2009 Draft and he is only getting better.
Verdict: Brandon Pettigrew > Richard Quinn
Once we got to the first pick of the second round #33 to most people's amazement Ray Maualuga and James Laurinaitis was still on the board and we all just new our new MLB of the future was about to be selected. All of a sudden the name was announced and with the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions select Louis Delmas S, Western Michigan. Wait what. Ok that’s cool. A lot of people didn’t expect that but wasn’t too upset because of the fact we had a huge need at the Safety position, Delmas was a home town boy, and he was the #1 rated player at his position.
This kind of threw a wrench in the New England Patriots plans who were salivating at the thought of getting Delmas and also just knew we would not pass up on the chance to get one of the LB. They were in such disbelief that they traded up to get Patrick Chung S, Oregon who was thought of to be the next best Safety in the Draft.
Verdict: Louis Delmas > Patrick Chung
When the 2010 NFL Draft rolled around the Detroit Lions only moved down one spot to the #2 overall pick in the Draft. This was due to another all familiar bad season in which we went 2-14.All though we saw major progress in the team and we were all excited for the future of this franchise. Other than the whole Mathew Stafford debate which would continue for one more season there was no doubt that this new Front Office of the lions had finally pulled their heads out of their asses.
Once the St. Louis Rams selected Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma with the #1 pick our Lions were up next. We all were screaming Suh, Suh, Suh and we had a feeling that would be the pick but prior to the Draft there were some so called Draft experts claiming that Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma was actually better than and a safer pick than Suh. As it turns out the Lions listened to their fans and selected Ndamukong Suh DT, Neb. Who not only was the BPA but we was widely regarded as the best player hands down in the entire draft.
Verdict: Ndamukong Suh > Gerald McCoy
Ok so we are all happy we now that have Suh and the Lions will be back the next day to pick up a player in the second round. As most people turned the TV off or were mildly paying attention to the rest of the first round just to see who would be left tomorrow when we pick again at the #34 spot. "WAIT" "WHAT"? The Lions traded up with the Minnesota Vikings? Ok let's see here. We have already seen the top players in all positions other than Kicker and Punter already off the board and if you take the last draft and Suh we have now Drafted 4 of the top players at their positions by Mayhew's BPA philosophy. Who could it be? Could it be Rob Gronkowski TE, Arizona to pair up with Pettigrew and His brother Dan? Nope! With the 30 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions pick Jahvid Best RB, Cal.
Ok I kind of get it; if not for the concussion Best would have been considered the top RB in the draft by some if not most of the Draft Experts. He would have been the BPA. So what the FO was thinking was most likely the head problem was a fluke and he will be ok. Well so far that hasn't been the case. Is Jahvid Best when healthy one of the most entertaining players to watch? Yes. Is he a lethal weapon catching the ball in the backfield and hauling ass down the field? Yes. Could he end up being a great running back? Yes. Could his Career be over before it starts? Yes. Only time will tell if this was a good move or a huge gamble that unfortunately did not pay off for us. This might also be the last year that we continue to hope that he stays healthy. After all we were in the same situation with Matthew Stafford at the beginning of last year and while some thought that we needed to give up on him and move on. I'm glad we didn’t because in his third year just like it will be Best's third year in 2012 Stafford proved all the doubters wrong and stayed healthy for the year. I know a concussion is different than a Shoulder injury but here's to hoping he stays healthy.
In the 2011 Draft things went a little differently than we expected. We were picking at the #13 pick now this year after improving to 6-10 on the year after finishing the year out with four straight wins. This draft the Lions could have went with almost any position even QB because the health of Stafford was still up in the air. The FO took a huge gamble but stuck with Stafford at the helm.
Once it was the Lions turn to pick at #13 they were faced with some huge questions. They already had a failed attempt to trade and snag Patrick Peterson CB, LSU. Know they were looking at and because of a run at 4 QB's before they picked the top rated talents in Nick Fairley DT, Auburn, Mike Pouncey C, Florida, Danny Watkins OG, Baylor and Rahim Moore S, UCLA (TE was all over the place).
Although I would have loved Pouncey the Nick Fairley Pick was like the FO was thinking to good to be true. At one point in time during the offseason Fairley was actually picked to go #1 overall and was being compared to Suh a lot.
Now just like our entire draft class from this year Fairley was hurt before and during the season. So we still have yet to see his full potential but if the beginning of the New Orleans game is any indication what's to come then we are in for a real treat. Other than the fact that four teams made a run at QB, the reason why Fairley fell so far was because Marcell Dareus DT/DE, Alabama became the #1 ranking player at that position after the combine and was also in the discussion for #1 overall pick but the Carolina Panthers went with Cam Newton QB, Auburn after all.
Verdict: Nick Fairley = Marcell Dareus
(I want to say Fairley and I know he will be better but we haven’t seen enough of him just yet)
In the second round the next day of the draft I started to get a little confused we had the #44 pick and there was still one of the BPA left on the board. Rahim Moore S was still there and he was the only player that I could see unless I messed up that was the #1 player at his position due to no Safety's being drafted before we picked. Once the pick came in it was Titus Young WR, Boise ST. Although Titus was indeed the BPA at his position the top 3 WR's where off the board.
With the top 4 WR in the draft here are the stats from last season.
A.J. Green REC: 65 YARDS: 1057 TD: 7
Julio Jones REC: 54 YARDS: 959 TD: 8
Titus Young REC: 48 YARDS: 607 TD: 6
Jonathon Baldwin REC: 21 YARDS: 254 TD: 1
Verdict: Titus Young < A.J. Green
(This is kind of unfair saying as A.J. Green is the #1 WR in Cincinnati and Titus is our #3 WR behind Megatron and Nate Burleson)
Verdict: Titus Young < Julio Jones
(Julio is the Falcons #2 WR so he gets targeted more also)
Verdict: Titus Young > Jonathon Baldwin
(Not even close here Titus wins by a land slide IMO)
And just for fun Rahim Moore had 31 Tackles, 1 INT and 2 PassDef last year so I guess it's up to each person as to who would have been the better pick between Titus or Rahim and who had more of an impact on their team. You can't really compare the two unless I guess the lined up against each other and you see who wins the battle more often than none.
Once again just when we thought the Lions were done for the round they trade up to Seattle's #57 spot to target Mikel Leshoure RB, Ill. Same With Titus, Mikel was the BPA and after the lions saw that the Patriots picked Shane Vereen RB, Cal., they were quick to trade up behind NE just like they did two years prior in the 2nd round and snag Leshoure. As we all know he tore his Achilles and was out for the season so we will have to wait and see on this pick.
Verdict: Mikel Leshoure??????
Now we come to the 2012 NFL Draft and for the first time in a long time our Lions will not pick until the #23 overall spot after going 10-6 and making the Playoffs for the first time in over a Decade. There is a lot of discussion as to who should we pick and who is the BPA. This year will be exciting and there is some good talent out there.
Here is the list I came up with of #1 players at their position:
QB Andrew Luck Stanford
OT Matt Kalil USC
CB Morris Claiborne LSU
RB Trent Richardson Alabama
WR Justin Blackmon OK State
DE Melvin Ingram S. Carolina
ILB Luke Kuechly Boston C
DT Dontari Poe Memphis
S Mark Barron Alabama
OG David Decastr Stanford
OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama
C Peter Konz Wisconsin
I know some of you will not agree with some of the names listed above but if say there is a huge run on QB's, WR's or any one particular position, there is a chance one or a couple of these guys might fall to us at # 23. Or MM might try again to trade up for his CB like he tried last year to do. So after seeing how the FO has drafted in the past do you guys think that they will snag someone from that list other than the obvious QB and if so who would it be or do you think they will go an entirely different route?