Monday, May 02, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Lions 5th Round: Doug Hogue

So after all the picks being traded away the Lions next pick didn't come until the 5th round.

Doug Hogue OLB, Syracuse

So it looks like for the casual, blackheads on nose fan of the Lions took their first position of real need here. Before that arguments could be made that they didn't, although we know better that those were still needs. Just not top of the list.

Doug Hogue is an interesting prospect. He was brought to Syracuse as a RB. He played his first two years there as a RB. Then he was asked to jump over to the other side of the ball and play the other position he played in high school: LB. So when he was drafted he had only been playin gLB for 2 years at the college level, and boy did he play.

Hogue made the Big East All Conference 1st team in his second year playing the position. A feat that I think most can respect him for at the very least. It shows that he is a good athlete and a football player to switch positions and play at such a high level.

Most argue that he was the best player on the Syracuse defense, and it is hard to argue. In his first season there he put up phenomenal numbers behind the line of scrimmage. Along with 72 tackles he had 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. His second year he had 94 tackles with 10.5 TFL and 3 sacks. When he left Syracuse he was 9th on their all-time list with 26.5 TFL in only 25 games played.

Numbers like that have to get you a little excited no? Playing behind our beast DL you have to love that this is a guy who spends so much time in the backfield.

I have also read that he is an above average coverage LB, and is good at taking on HBs out of the backfield. Good in open space. I have also read that he might have tackling problems though. Something that is a detriment to a LB.

This guy is clearly a project. He will likely make the team as a STer this year, and maybe he will improve enough to earn a role on the defense. I like the pick and the possible upside at least. The guy did a lot in little time and I think that shows he has a very good chance to improve, but he was a 5th rounder so we aren't out if he doesn't.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Detroit Lions 2011: Draft Round 2

This was the round where all the real action took place. The Lions ended up with 2 picks in this round after a trade up from their 3rd rounder. The trade ended up costing the Lions their 3rd and 4th round picks as well as swaps with Seattle of their 5th and 7th rounders. This had the Lions jump up to the 57th pick while no longer having any picks in the 3rd, or 4th round.

Titus Young WR, Boise St.

The first pick for the Lions in the 2nd round was likely the more controversial of the two, and most controversial of the 2011 draft for the Lions. First of all, most fans probably saw the position of WR selected and made a collective sigh. Titus Young out of the offensive juggernaut at Boise State was the man that was called with the Lions 2nd pick of the draft.

I have to admit that even after reading glowing reviews about Titus that I still am not on board with taking him in the 2nd round. I'm sure this guy has all kinds of potential and surely we needed another WR. Fact of the matter is that we took a #3 WR in the 2nd round. Not a #2. That is Burleson. Of course Burleson has injury history so it isn't as bad, but it was still a #3 WR.

Scouting reports say he is a complete burner with good hands, and can play both outside and in. I have seen him compared to DeSean Jackson at the high end, and that he is an explosive WR. Why did he last until the 2nd round then? According to those that are high on him it was his size. 5'11" and 175 pounds. Not exactly the prototypical 1st rounder anymore with that size obviously. He certainly will never need to know does oxyelite pro work?

A lot of people say we are going to love him. He has drive and attitude. I disagree with this pick, but I will support the guy until he gives me reason not to. This quote here warms me a little:

--- Young, on his first meeting with Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson:
"I remember Shawn Jefferson, the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl, he told me 'Hey, you're dropping the ball because you're not getting your hands around quicker. In the NFL, the ball's going to come quicker.' I listened. I've always loved a coach who watches me and for him to make me better. The next day, I don't think I had a dropped pass. I said that to say this - I knew he saw something in me. I looked in his eyes and said, "This man wants me and I want to play for him because he made me better in two seconds.'''

Mikel LeShoure RB, Illinois

Big Ten fans are probably a lot more familiar with this guy than Young. I am also much less negative on this pick. In fact I actually kind of like it all things considered of the trade up cost.

If we look at our RB corps right now we literally have no "starting" RB in my opinion. Mo Morris is again, and serviceable, but hardly a game breaker, or an every down back. Jahvid Best is electric, but he is not a 25 carry a game back either. He's more or less a guy that is used as a Reggie Bush back, or as a 3rd down back and long yardage. Kevin Smith is gone, cut. He won't be back now for sure. So RB was actually a relatively big need in the off season.

LeShoure was highly rated in this draft by quite a few. In fact there were some that considered him the best RB in the draft. Charley Casserly (highly respected within NFL circles as a former Super Bowl winning GM), made the statement that LeShoure was the best RB in this draft, by far. Casserly went so far as to compare him to Steven Jackson of the Rams.

LeShoure has a lot of skills, and is probably a complete RB. One of the things that young backs rarely have going for them when they come into the league is the ability to pass protect. LeShoure has above average skills in this area for a RB. This is typically one of the major things that holds rookie RBs from becoming a legit every down back in their first couple seasons.

Here is a description I found on a message board from a supposed scout. I can't confirm who it is, nor where it came from, but it is pretty accurate for the high end cornbread fan of this guy:

"LeShoure is a bigger back with tremendous strength. He is a one cut runner with nice elusiveness for a man his size. He loves contact and has the ability to run over or around defenders. He is a complete back. Very quick feet. LeShoure is a good receiver and does not have to be removed in passing situations. He's a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and has the ability to stay on the field in pass pro. LeShoure has very good vision and instincts. It's apparent when watching him play he is a natural runner. He only lasted until round two because of the position he plays. There is tremendous depth in the RB position this year and not many teams are willing to spend a high pick but in my opinion LeShoure is special and a first round talent that Detroit acquired in round two. In most other years he is gone in the top 25 picks."

At the end of the day I think we got 2 real nice playmakers, and if you buy Mayhew's explanation all 3 of the Lions first 3 picks were right in line with their draft board. Meaning that they took the best player available on their board at every slot. A strategy that I have always been a fan of. If you think the guy is the most likely player to succeed in the NFL tha tis left on the board that guy is probably your best pick. Of course I take a bit of a mixture of BPA and positional value into account if I were going to draft. For example, if I see a WR that is roughly as valuable as a CB, or even LB I would probably take either the CB, or the LB over him. Unless you are getting that elite #1 guy at those spots, but the 3rd, or 4th best one there who would be good, but not great I am not falling into the draft for need camp.

Reaction To Lions Draft? 1st Round thoughts

I think it is safe to say that most fans were scratching their heads for all 3 of the picks in the first 2 rounds of the draft. After a couple days many have come around like they always do, but many just think that taking Fairley was something they couldn't pass up, while the other two of WR Titus Young and RB Mikel LeShoure were more of a head scratcher. Let's take out the utility knife and cut into the picks.

Let's go with the main complaint first that the Lions drafted to strengths and more or less passed on positions of need through the first 2 rounds. The 1st pick of Fairley we can all see that if it pans out makes our DL just all that more dominant, and literally feared around the league as extremely dangerous. Fans of other teams reacted this way right off the bat and the NFC North fans were even more worried about the combination of Fairley and Suh in the coming years.

We didn't get a LB in the first 4 rounds of the draft, but look at it this way. With the dominant front four we are going to have there would be very little needed to convince a "name" LB like Tulloch that he could put up career numbers behind these maniacs. Besides drawing more attention to FAs we are actually going to get better play out of lesser LBs playing behind these guys. While having a stud out there along with them would be incredible, we improved the LB core either way. Now it is just easier to sign guys that we know will start day 1 in FA.

There are a lot of naysayers that REALLY wanted to draft the CB from Nebraska, Prince Amukamara. Our own DROY Suh wanted his old teammate more than anyone. I haven't heard his reaction to this pick at all, but I'm sure he will get over it if Fairley pans out.

I really don't know what to make of a lot of the negative thoughts on Prince that came up leading into the draft. Stats that made it look like he was a bit weaker than some of the later guys that would get taken such as Harris that we could have also drafted in the 2nd round. The Giants decided to take them both so I guess they wanted to lower risk. Mayhew was a defensive back in the NFL so there must have just been something about him that he wasn't convinced of, and that Fairley was the best player they could get. He was definitely one of our top needs while Fairley seemed more like a luxury pick to many.

The Lions had no thoughts that Fairley would be there when they drafted. They felt it was a gift from the draft gods, although many teams passed on him for attitude and laziness. These are red flags, and you never know what the league is trending to year to year in drafts with problem players.

This year seemed like there were a lot of teams that shied away from any player that had negative character issues of any kind. Ryan Mallet the best QB in the draft in my opinion, and maybe the 2nd best CB in the draft of Jimmy Smith both fell like bricks. Smith went to Baltimore with some real mean bastards and Mallet went to New England. Both places that I would consider very good situations for problem players to go and get the supervision they need. Teams with solid leadership.

We have to hope that Fairley will benefit from guys like Kyle VandenBoesch and even Suh to keep him in line. If he can learn the NFL from guys like that he could be a serious talent in the NFL and live up to the top 5 talent that some said he has. Only time will tell, but I am quite excited to see if this works out and can't complain one bit.