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News » Lions look for middle linebacker: Stop the run


Lions look for middle linebacker: Stop the run


Lions look for middle linebacker: Stop the run
ALLEN PARK -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz will search for a starting middle linebacker in Saturday's NFL draft, and he knows precisely the type of player he wants.


quot;We're going to need a big thumper,quot; Schwartz said. quot;I mean, a strong thumper in the middle for base defense. We're talking -- I don't want to put height and weights -- but a big, strong, physical player that can play between the tackles and that can take on offensive guards, even though (the linebacker) is being outweighed by almost 100 pounds on some occasions.quot;

With the Lions expected to draft Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick, two players high in the draft who fit Schwartz's mold. One is USC linebacker Rey Maualuga, a powerful run-stuffer who also has the speed to roam sideline to sideline. The Lions hope he slips to their pick at No. 20 in the first round.

If Maualuga is not there, the Lions are expected to take an offensive or defensive lineman, then go after another middle linebacker at the top of the second round.

If that's the case, the Lions hope Ohio State's James Laurinaitis is available with the 33rd overall pick. Laurinaitis is a complete player who did nothing but make plays throughout his productive career with the Buckeyes.

He is not highly rated, but he is a two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year.

In Detroit's revamped defense, the Lions want a middle linebacker who not only will be a force against the run, but also can drop into coverage in nickel packages. Ernie Sims will fill one of those roles, but, with recently signed Julian Peterson being used more as an edge pass rusher, the Lions need another linebacker who can be effective in pass coverage.

quot;No. 1 on his job description has got to be that he's a heavy-handed inside run defender that can take on guards, that can fill fullbacks and that can bring that kind of run stopping attitude to the defense,quot; Schwartz said.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 24, 2009

Daniel Bullocks Name: Daniel Bullocks
#27
Position: S
Age: 25
Experience: 2 years
College: Nebraska
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