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News » By the way, there's also a draft coming


By the way, there's also a draft coming


By the way, there's also a draft coming
While you were wondering if Terrell Owens will get a Cowboys-like cold shoulder in Buffalo, or if Albert Haynesworth was worth all that Danny Snyder gave him and if San Diego made the right move in keeping LaDainian "I Have Nothing Left for the Playoffs" Tomlinson, everyone else in the NFL has been re-working their draft boards and wondering, really, what the Detroit Lions will do with the first pick in next month's draft.


I really don't think new Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew know at the moment. This is a big deal in Motown because for the first time in eight years Matt Millen, the former player turned TV analyst, won't be making the selection. This is a huge decision for Mayhew, who is already receiving high marks for fleecing the Cowboys when trading receiver Roy Williams during last season. Williams, owner Jerry Jones says, is why T.O. was banished to Buffalo.

With Jon Kitna now a Cowboy (are Dallas fans curious about Jones taking players from the league's worst franchise?), the expectation is that Detroit needs a quarterback unless you believe in Daunte Culpepper. Now, these Dallas-Detroit connections don't stop here because Georgia's Matthew Stafford is considered the draft's top quarterback and he led Highland Park, a school in a posh Dallas neighborhood, to a Texas high school state championship. Believe it or not, Bobby Layne also starred at Highland Park and most Lions fans would say their team hasn't had a quarterback since Layne was traded in 1958.

Stafford, who didn't throw at the NFL combine last month, will have his pro day on March 19. The Lions will be there, watching. The good news is that draft day is weeks away on April 25, so there's plenty of time to re-think and debate one's final decision. Here's a rundown of the draft's biggest questions.

Safest first pick

NFL FREE AGENCY

Free-agency news:

  • L.T. decides not to bolt from Chargers
  • Rams cut ties with Orlando Pace
  • CB Lucas dumped in Carolina cap move
  • T.O. signs 1-year deal with Bills
  • Cardinals steal starting Steelers CB
  • NFL CUT LIST BY TEAM

Analysis:

  • Kriegel: Why the superagent wins again
  • Marvez: How T.O. deal impacts NFL
  • Schrager: Heart-break for Philly fans
  • O'Connor: Warner needed some love
  • Scout.com: Top 20 FAs | Who's left?
  • SCOUT.COM FREE-AGENCY RANKINGS

Player Trackers:

    Track offseason moves by your favorite team and division.
  • NFC EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST
  • AFC EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST

At the moment, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and can play inside or outside in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive alignment, appears to be the guy. Schwartz, being a defensive coach, knows how much Curry can help the NFL's worst defense in 2008. But linebackers don't usually top the draft. Heck, Lawrence Taylor was a third overall pick and he was the best of all time. Since 1979, there have been two linebackers taken first overall; Tom Cousineau by the Bills and Aundray Bruce by the Falcons. Those guys may be two of the biggest busts in NFL history.

Who's itching to trade

The Lions. They would trade out of the top spot if some team were desperate for Stafford or Curry. Yes, the Lions have five of the first 82 selections, but they could use more and do they really want to commit $32 million in guaranteed money to a quarterback who doesn't remind anyone of Atlanta's Matt Ryan when it comes to poise and overall intangibles? I guess Detroit could pay off their picks in Ford trucks. After the Lions, any of the teams in the top five wouldn't mind moving down because of the ridiculous money involved in drafting an untested college player that high. However, all of the teams at the top need immediate help to turn their franchises around.

Teams with the best ammunition

Bill Belichick missed the playoffs last season, but with the Matt Cassel trade to Kansas City, he has four picks in the top 58 selections. The Patriots also figure to pick up some decent supplemental picks with the loss last season of cornerback Asante Samuel, etc. However, Belichick seems unlikely to package his picks unless he can land a top player like Curry or one of the draft's three quality offensive tackles: Baylor's Jason Smith, Virginia's Eugene Monroe or Alabama's Andre Smith.

At the moment, Jason Smith may be the draft's second-safest pick behind Curry and that's why he's on Detroit's short list. The Philadelphia Eagles have three selections among the first 53 players, starting at No. 21. But having discarded their starting offensive tackles and team leader, safety Brian Dawkins, the Eagles need every one of these picks and don't figure to do much dealing. Plus, it's not their M.O.

The best player

Must-read:

  • Weiss: Syracuse rises again

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 13, 2009

Alex Lewis Name: Alex Lewis
#59
Position: LB
Age: 27
Experience: 5 years
College: Wisconsin
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