The 2010 NFL Draft is over, allowing us to take a look back at what the Lions did with their picks -- both the ones that they actually used and others that were traded away during the course of the last year. As many you have pointed out, it's very important to remember that while the Lions only used six picks to draft new players these last few days, they made a lot of moves in the last year involving draft picks to make this team better.
First things first, let's take a look at the six players the Lions drafted.
- Round 1 - #2 - DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
- Round 1 - #30 - RB Jahvid Best (California)
- Round 3 - #66 - CB Amari Spievey (Iowa)
- Round 4 - #128 - OT Jason Fox (Miami)
- Round 7 - #213 - DE Willie Young (N.C. State)
- Round 7 - #255 - WR Tim Toone (Weber State)
The thing that stood out to me when looking back at the picks is that the Lions only used two of their original selections (first and third rounds). The nature of the draft these days is to move around quite a bit, and that was definitely true for Detroit, which ended up using two picks that originally belonged to the Vikings, one that originally belonged to the Seahawks, and another that was a compensatory selection. On top of that, a lot of picks the Lions acquired were used in trades to pick up starting-caliber players, but I'll get to that in a second.
As far as the picks go, the Lions addressed their big needs at defensive tackle, running back, and cornerback with the selections of Suh, Best, and Spievey. The rest of the picks also addressed needs one way or another, but they are more developmental guys than players that can come in and compete for a starting spot right away. Suh obviously will be expected to start from day one. Best could start right away if Kevin Smith isn't healthy, but even if he doesn't start, the former California Golden Bear will be somebody who is on the field in a variety of ways to make plays. Finally, Spievey could take some time to develop much like DeAndre Levy did last year (both are Big Ten guys taken in the third round), but since the Lions aren't exactly set at cornerback, he may be forced into the starting lineup much quicker than Levy was.
Looking at the other three picks, the Lions got a guy in Jason Fox who has potential. He can play both tackle positions and is somebody you hope will develop into a starting-caliber tackle at some point. At the very least, the hope for 2010 would be for him to develop into a competent backup who can step in if he has to. The same can be said for Willie Young and the defensive end position. The Lions' depth at defensive end is pretty solid, which should allow Young to develop and slowly work his way into the rotation. As for Tim Toone, or Mr. Irrelevant, as most will remember him, I'm not exactly sure how he fits into the wide receiver situation. To me he is more of a special teams player than anything, and like I said in his write-up, he is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
Now, while the Lions may have only used six picks the last few days to bolster their roster, they have been making moves involving picks from the 2010 draft for the last year or so to acquire players who have been in the league and are expected to start and contribute to this team in the future or already have done that. Let's first look at what the Lions did with their original picks that were traded away to make this team better.
- Round 2 - #34 - Traded to Minnesota as part of the deal that allowed the Lions to move up to pick Jahvid Best (this pick was essentially swapped with the 30th selection)
- Round 4 - #100 - Traded to Minnesota as part of the deal that allowed the Lions to move up to pick Jahvid Best (this pick was essentially swapped with the 128th selection)
- Round 5 - #133 - Traded to Seattle for Rob Sims, who is expected to start at left guard for the Lions
- Round 6 - #171 - Traded to Atlanta as part of the deal that landed Chris Houston, who is expected to start at cornerback for the Lions (Detroit also gave up a conditional seventh-rounder next year)
- Round 7 - #209 - Traded to Buffalo for Ko Simpson, who played in 8 games and started in 5 for the Lions at safety in 2009
On top trading away many of their original picks, the Lions also moved some of the picks they acquired in other deals.
- Round 5 - #146 - Originally received from Denver in a deal made during the 2009 draft that gave the Lions' sixth-round pick to Denver for a seventh-rounder in '09 (used to take Zack Follett) and a fifth-rounder this year; later traded to the Browns for Corey Williams
- Round 7 - #214 - Originally received from Cleveland in the Corey Williams deal; later traded to Minnesota in the deal that allowed the Lions to move up to pick Jahvid Best
- Round 7 - #220 - Originally received from Denver in the Tony Scheffler deal; later traded to Philadelphia for a sixth-rounder in 2011
Take a moment to catch your breath, because that is a lot to take in. Ready? Okay, so what this all basically means is that the Lions controlled 14 different picks in this year's draft over the last year or so. They only ended up using 6 of those picks to draft players because 4 picks were traded directly for players already in the league, 3 were traded to make the Jahvid Best deal possible, and 1 was traded for a higher future pick. Taking all of the picks the Lions have held into consideration, this is what their 2010 draft looks like if you break it down by which picks were actually used and which were dealt.
- Round 1 - #2 - DT Ndamukong Suh
- Round 1 - #30 - RB Jahvid Best (to move up from #34, the Lions gave up that pick, swapped fourth-rounders, and gave up the 220th pick)
- Round 3 - #66 - CB Amari Spievey
- Round 4 - #128 - OT Jason Fox
- Round 5 - #133 - OG Rob Sims (from Seattle)
- Round 5 - #146 - DT Corey Williams (from Cleveland)
- Round 6 - #171 - CB Chris Houston (from Atlanta)
- Round 7 - #209 - S Ko Simpson (from Buffalo)
- Round 7 - #213 - DE Willie Young
- Round 7 - #220 - Sixth-rounder in 2011
- Round 7 - #255 - WR Tim Toone
When you look strictly at the list above, the Lions used picks from this draft to acquire one player who has already started for the Lions (Simpson), four players who are expected to start for the Lions in the future (Suh, Sims, Williams, and Houston), two players who could very well start for the Lions in the future (Best and Spievey), a few developmental players (Fox, Young, and Toone), and a pick in next year's draft. All things considered, I'd say that's a pretty damn good draft when you take into account how all of the picks were used in the grand scheme of things. Say what you want strictly about the six picks from the last few days, but altogether the Lions ended up with 10 new players and a future pick on top of that.
This doesn't even take into account the fact that the Lions used a 2011 seventh-rounder to acquire backup quarterback Shaun Hill and got a future seventh-rounder from the Jets for Kevin O'Connell. Obviously it's too early to start looking at next year's draft in an in depth way, but I will put up a post sometime next week about what picks the Lions hold for next year's party in NYC just for references purposes.
I also plan on putting posts together in the coming days where individual grades will be handed out for the six players that were picked, but just in general, what grade would you give the Lions for the 2010 NFL Draft? For me it has to be an A. Considering the fact that so many starters were added even before the draft, the grade was high to begin with. Add in the fact that the Lions drafted Suh, Best, and some other players with potential and I have a tough time going any lower than an A. What about you?
(Thanks to mpsteen2 and his FanPosts for inspiring this idea to look at the draft as more than just the players selected.)