| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos
the-detroit-lions-perfect-season The Detroit Lions Perfect Season...
All the latest Detroit Lions Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
detroit-lions-165 detroit_lions 165...
All the latest Detroit Lions Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
9439---ford-field--detroit 9439 - Ford Field, Detroit...
All the latest Detroit Lions Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.

Detroit Lions News

News » Playoff wannabes are On the Clock

Playoff wannabes are On the Clock

Playoff wannabes are On the Clock

The long and winding road back to the postseason

The most fortunate fan base in all of professional sports has to be the one that follows the San Antonio Spurs. Consider this: The Spurs have missed the NBA playoffs just three times since 1987. In the three NBA drafts following those fruitless seasons, they've drafted two sure-fire Hall of Famers first overall (David Robinson in 1987, Tim Duncan in 1997) and one perennial All Star (Sean Elliot) at No. 3.

For 22 straight years, Spurs fans haven't had to cope with the burden of lingering draft busts polluting their team's roster, talking heads critiquing their front office's strategic direction, and the burden of possessing a decade's worth of pressure-packed June draft days. Toss in four NBA titles over the past decade, a coach who is respected and liked by both his players and GM, and there's not much to complain about in San Antonio. Imagine being a Spurs fan. Not a bad gig, right?

Now ... imagine being a Cleveland Browns fan.

Oh, you've got David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Sean Elliot? How about Courtney Brown, Tim Couch and William Green?

Or a Detroit Lions fan. I'll see your Brown, Couch and Green with a Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and Joey Harrington. And hell, toss in a Stockar McDougle while we're at it, too. The un-royal flush!

Buffalo Bills fans haven't had it much better. Though always seemingly one win or a loss away from securing a wild-card spot, the Bills have had their fair share of Top 15 picks over the past decade. In this game of "loser's poker." Buffalo certainly has a spot at the table. They've flopped more than bluffed, with an unhealthy 10-year postseason drought keeping them away from any comped buffet dinners or free nights in the postseason hotel.

In all, the Browns, Bills and Lions have combined for just one postseason appearance since 2000. A forgettable Cleveland AFC wild-card round loss during the Kelly Holcomb era is the only thing keeping the three franchises' fan bases from a decade dry of January football. The three squads all have top 11 picks in this year's draft.

In other words, what's new?

But maybe this is the year they all turn it around. Perhaps April 25 is the day all three take the fork in the road and start their own tradition of winning. Their own 22-year stretch of happiness. It'll start in the first round for each. Let's break 'em down.

Detroit Lions

Last Playoff Berth: 2000
2009 First Round Pick(s): No. 1 and No. 20

How Many Drafts Are They Away From the Playoffs? Ha. That's a good one. Just enjoyed a nice little "LOL" there. Perhaps even an ROTFL. (That's Twitter talk, friends).

No, I'd love to say one or two, but that'd be a lie. Most times with the NFL, you can shrug your shoulders, give a wink and say "With parity the way it is, anything's possible!" But the Lions, unfortunately, are a different case. They're really, really bad. On defense, they're downright putrid. On offense, they're potentially worse. They're at least 3-4 good draft and free-agent classes away from playing January football. As the boys in Metallica once said — sad, but true.

Well, What Do They Need? I'm not being smug or pithy when I say the Lions need everything. They need a quarterback. They need an entire offensive line. They need defense. And by defense, I mean a defensive line, a linebacker or two and an entirely new defensive backfield. As much as I liked the Julian Peterson deal this past weekend and some of the front office's other personnel moves this offseason, this isn't the Dolphins from '07 turning into the Dolphins of '08. There's just not enough NFL-caliber talent on the roster.

So, Who Should They Take? I know I may be in the minority when it comes to the "draftnik community," but I like Matt Stafford. A lot. I think he's got all the physical tools and given a little time to work with a pro position coach in pocket drills, he'll get around all the knocks about his comfort under pressure. He's the best quarterback in this draft, and though there are some scouts salivating over Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, I'm going to say he may just be the best quarterback in next year's draft class, too.

Detroit drafted an OT with their first pick last year and can't really go into the season with Drew Henson, Drew Stanton and Daunte Culpepper as their quarterback trio. Take Stafford at 1. And if big OTs Andre Smith and Michael Oher are lingering at #20, scoop one of 'em up. If not, go defense. Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU) or Rey Maualuga (LB, USC) could be there. They'd both be nice pickups.

Cleveland Browns

Last Playoff Berth: 2002
2009 First Round Pick: No. 5

How Many Drafts Are They Away From The Playoffs? Let's be honest, Browns fans were thrown for a loop last year. Coming off a promising 10-6 season, it looked like Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage had finally gotten it right, all the pieces were in place, and an AFC North title was a year or two away.

A two-time All-Pac-10 selection at corner, Hughes went to Indianapolis last month as a mildly-regarded prospect with a nice college career under his belt. He then ran a 4.4 40-yard dash and quickly found a place on 32 draft boards. At the Oregon State Pro Day last Friday, he impressed scouts again with a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 8-inch standing broad jump.

While at Oregon State, Hughes was one of the locker room leaders on the Beavers' surprise 2008 team that upset USC and was a Civil War win away from playing in their first Rose Bowl in decades. On one of the best defenses in one of the best conferences in the nation, Hughes was one of the top performers.

A corner with good speed, the knocks on Hughes may be his cover skills in non man-to-man situations. There were a trickle of scouts who came away from the East-West Shrine game workouts none too impressed with what they saw. But at 5'10, 185 pounds, he's got a toughness to him I think certain teams may really come to like. Hughes has some real pop and is known to cause fits for receivers coming off the line. He's consistent, too. A converted wideout, the kid started 40 games at cornerback in his time at Corvallis.

An impressive young man who may not be the fastest or strongest cornerback prospect in this draft, Hughes is a rock of consistency with a ton of upside. I'm hearing 6th or 7th round. However, I think the right team will grab him somewhere in the 4th or 5th range. They'll be plenty happy if they do.

Keep an eye out for Brandon Hughes ... someone you might not know.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 19, 2009

Leigh Bodden Name: Leigh Bodden
Position: DB
Age: 26
Experience: 6 years
College: Duquesne
Copyright © lionshome.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.