Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lions, Draft Day 1: A Strange Thing

So, the Lions finished 0-16 with the sort of defense that makes one want to crawl into a closet, curl up in the fetal position, stick your thumb in your mouth and whimper, “Please make the bad men go away.”

They have two first round picks (first overall and #20), plus the first pick in the second.

So, defense, defense, defense, right?

Yeah, not so much.

Pick #1: QB Matthew Stafford (and a rookie record $40M contract to boot)

Pick #2: TE Brandon Pettigrew

Pick #3: S Louis Delmas

Stafford was not a surprise even if the money was (didn’t stop idiot Lions fans from booing the pick; don’t go to NY and then boo your team), and Delmas’ name had come up in recent weeks as a recent target. But Pettigrew at #20?

What’s a strange feeling to me is that I’m fine with it all. First of all, I’m very content with the knowledge that, as fans, we don’t know shit. The question on draft day really isn’t who your team picks, it’s whether or not you trust the people making those decisions. Perhaps it’s the battered and beaten fan in me who just has to believe in something –anything- after eight years of Matt Millen in charge, but I’ve liked almost everything Lions GM Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz have done leading up to the draft.

Granted, there’s not a lot W’s to be found in the dead of winter, but the way they’ve handled free agency and the build up to the draft was a far, far cry from the Millen days. I really knew nothing about Mayhew when old man Ford tapped him for the GM role, but from the standpoint of public perception (which is all any fan can observe), he’s handled himself extremely well up to this point. In the days leading up to the draft he said the roster was much too thin to quibble over what position a guy was or what side of the ball he played on. They needed guys who can play.

So, there’s really nothing that can be done but trust that when these guy looked at Stafford they saw a QB that they can build around for a generation; that when they took Pettigrew that with everything they saw on film, at the combine, in workouts, that passing up the acknowledged most complete tight end in the draft for a player they were less confident in, would’ve been folly. And for Delmas? That dude’s from Western Michigan, so it’s all good. You can trust a Bronco. Trust me.

Ultimately, the cliché is true: Time will tell us if Mayhew and Schwartz know what they’re doing. God, I hope so. Because, god as my witness, sir, I will not abide another toe. (Or something like that)