After selecting offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus with the 17th pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Lions set their sights on defense in round two. Specifically, the Lions went in the direction of a linebacker after having their hopes of adding Jerod Mayo to the roster destroyed by New England in the first-round. Detroit did draft a linebacker with the 45th overall pick, but the player itself was a bit of a surprise as the Lions picked Colorado's Jordon Dizon.
Even though Penn State LB Dan Connor was still available, the Lions opted for Dizon instead. To me, this was another case of Rod Marinelli selecting a player that he likes both on and off the field. That's not to slight someone like Connor, but there's a reason the Lions selected Dizon as early as they did.
Personally, I don't like the Dizon pick all that much simply because it was such a large reach. The Cherilus pick was a reach as well, but not quite as much as this one. The other thing that concerns me about selecting Dizon is that I don't really see him projecting as a middle linebacker. He seems more like an OLB, which is really not what Detroit needs. In college all I've seen him listed as is an OLB, and his size and speed don't really make him an ideal MLB in the Tampa 2.
I don't want to be all negative in regards to Dizon as he does bring a great tackling ability to the table. For proof of that, check out this little blurb in his NFL.com profile :
To say that Dizon is a tackling machine would be an understatement. Including bowl games, he registered 463 tackles during his career, the eighth-best total in NCAA major college history and the second-best among active players behind Central Michigan's Red Keith (465). No player in college had more total tackles (173) or averaged more tackles per game (13.31) in 2007 than the Buffaloes' weak-side inside linebacker.
One thing I have to say as we head into day two of the draft is that the Lions should consider drafting Dan Connor. I know, I know, they already selected Jordon Dizon. Well, considering he doesn't really seem like a middle linebacker, Connor would be a pretty good pick-up for the linebacking corp, especially since he could move to the inside. I guess running back probably is more important, but Connor is someone to look out for in the third-round.