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Old 05-11-2014, 01:02 PM    (permalink
fredder
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Default Grading each pick

Now that the draft is over I figured we could each go over every pick for the Lions and give a grade for each. I'm going to be basing my grades on a combination of the value of each prospect and how well they fit with our team.

Eric Ebron - C

I've been pretty vocal about my dislike for taking Ebron at #10. I would have loved for us to trade down in this spot as I think there were a bunch of prospects available that carried similar grades as Ebron. Assuming that wasn't an option I do believe we were in a tough spot. Unless Ebron becomes an elite TE in the league I'm going to consider this pick a reach. I just don't think the positional value was good enough to take him this high.

Kyle Van Noy - A+

I absolutely love this pick for us. We needed a 3rd LB and I believe we wanted one that could rush the passer. Van Noy was one of the top guys available IMO and just so happened to fit a need and our scheme very well. He honestly may have been a better player for our defense than Anthony Barr would've been. I definitely think it was worth trading up.

Travis Swanson - C+

This was a very unexciting pick IMO but I can understand why they did it. Having a backup and eventual replacement for Raiola is important but I don't feel like we got great value here. I think we felt the pressure of the top centers being taken and decided to grab Swanson over some higher rated prospects. I would've preferred Terrence Brooks, Philip Gaines, or even Keith Mcgill at this point. They're better players IMO. Overall we filled a long-term need with average value.

Nevin Lawson - C

I had to go back and watch some tape on Lawson. I love the way he plays the game as he's very physical and competes hard on every play. He went up against some tough competition (Marqise Lee and Devante Adams) and clearly frustrated those guys. The problem is that he's small, doesn't have great quickness, and struggles to press. He's going to be an immediate contributor on special teams and as a reserve CB which is nice. I just don't see any upside and he may be limited to that role for his whole career. If he can really improve his press ability(a stretch given his lack of length) he could be a bit of a steal. I can't help but feel we took him a round too early. I think it's similar to Swanson where we ended up at the tail end of a run at CB and took a guy a little too early.

Larry Webster - C

The opposite of the Lawson pick this was all about upside. Webster has only been playing football for 2 years but he's a freakish athlete for the position. IMO he's really not ready to contribute as a rookie. He really needs to bulk-up and his technique is non-existent. I have no problem with taking a project at this point but I'm not a huge fan of Webster. He's got a long way to go at this point, he's more of a straight-line athlete and doesn't show a whole lot of bend, and I don't like his motor. If he can bulk up, get his technique down, AND learn to play harder than he could obviously be a steal but I'm not optimistic about it. I feel like there's a good chance he doesn't become much of anything for us.

Caraun Reid - A

Another pick that I really loved. Similar to the Swanson pick this is mostly about filling a long-term need as it seems unlikely that Fairley will be back next season. The difference is that this was much better value and was in the 5th round. Reid is probably never going to be a great all-around DT as he doesn't have the strength to hold up in the run game but he has great quickness and a very good motor. You could make a case that Reid was the BPA and fits in nicely with our roster.

T.J. Jones - B

I think that Jones represented solid value here and given what we have available on our team he could see the field as a slot receiver at some point this season or at least in the future. He's going to be a special teams guy early on as well. He's very thin and doesn't play very physically but he's a good route runner, has solid hands, has decent athleticism, and is just a smart player. Not a pick that will blow you away but don't be surprised if he develops into a reliable, although limited, option in the passing game.

Some Kicker - INC

I'm not going to scout a kicker but I can say that we needed one so.... There were still players on the board that I liked so I hope he's worth it.

Overall grade B-

We did a solid job of targeting needs but I feel like we gave up some value in the process. I'm sure we'll come away with a few solid starters but I find it hard to get too excited about this draft. I don't think we had any awful picks which is nice. Overall I think it was a solid effort.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:44 PM    (permalink
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I think it was a solid draft, obviously we got a lot of prospects who can contribute.

Eric Ebron - A

It wasn't my favourite chose till I read that he might be playing WR for us. That makes a lot of sense since he rarely lined up as a TE in college. I think Mayock said that he only saw him once or twice line up as a TE last season.
If this is true, I like the pick a lot more.

.

Kyle Van Noy - A

Looks like we could be blitzing a lot more and he suits that style of play. DROY are usually LBers and he could be in the running.

Travis Swanson - B

This really protects the OL from an injury or a fall off in production by an aging OC in Raiola. At Raiola's age, injuries and a slippage in talent are quite common, so I think it was a move they needed to make. For the time being, it gives our OL some real depth and should make the transition from Raiola go a lot smoother next year.

Nevin Lawson - C+

You can never have too many CB's in the NFL. He's a bit smaller than we might like, but this guy is one tough player who competes on every play and has a feisty attitude. Plays a real physical game and sticks to a receiver like glue. Good tackler. At worst, a solid Special teams player right off the bat who could be a good slot CB.

Larry Webster - C-

A developmental player whose measurables indicate a solid upside. Only started at Bloomburg St for 2 years as he switched from basketball to football. Needs a lot of work to develop his body for the pro level. Needs a lot more core strength and pass rushing technique.

Will start out as a DE but could switch to TE if he struggles there. He has an explosive first step and can bend the corner because of his flexibility. Has long arms and big hands.

Caraun Reid - C+

Princeton prospects seem to be having some success at the next level. He faced double teams all season long. Flashed upfield burst and the ability to slip blockers when rushing the passer. Had 2 sacks at the Senior Bowl. However, when he is engaged by a blocker, he has problems getting free, has marginal quickness down the LOS and seems like a one speed guy.

T.J. Jones - C

Special Teamer who can possibly contribute as a slot receiver. Not the biggest ot faster guy around but was a co-captain for Notre Dame. Very good route runner and is a physical receiver who isn't afraid to go over the middle to catch a ball.



Some Kicker - B

Never scouted him, but it never hurts to draft a kicker late in the draft where the value is often solid.

Overall grade B

When you draft #10, it is hard to do worse than a B. 2 solid starters right off the bat with a 3rd possible for next year. looks like we improved our Special Teams and acquired some potential for down the road. Not a real exciting draft, but solid enough.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:21 AM    (permalink
Maybe This Year Mayhew
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I think everyone was picked at the right value and fills a need. Swanson maybe a little early and Reid a bit of a steal after the trade down.

We'll see if their strengths help this team over time so I'll do the incomplete grade but I liked all their abilities they bring.

I will say though, TE,3rd OLB and Center may be the least important positions on the field. But those three we got are all good prospects.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:38 AM    (permalink
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Eric Ebron A, people who assume he is going to play Tight End need to realize he is only going to be a TE in name only, he will basically be a jumbo Wide Receiver that can work the intermediate routes. The Lions had him as the 2nd best Receiving weapon in the draft, while I don't think he's better than Mike Evans I think he will be a big bodied weapon that defenses will have to account for.

Kyle Van Noy A, he is a complete Linebacker that can play all 3 downs and also play with his hand in the dirt in certain packages, loved trading up for him.

Travis Swanson B-, Was the best Center in the best conference in college football so that means he has played against the best of the best and more than held his own but I hear he lacks strength and doesn't have the greatest foot work so that dropped him down to a B-

Might have been a slight reach but after Swanson the Center position was weak to say the least. Worthy developmental prospect to learn from Raiola for a year or two before he takes over.

Nevin Lawson C-, I knew next to nothing about him before the draft and upon learning about him after the draft some scouts have compared him to LaDarius Webb which is nice praise but he's short and in this day in age I think that limits him to being a Nickle Corner at best. Lions definitely need an upgrade over Bill Bentley so if he can be an adequate Nickle I'd be happy with that.

Larry Webster B, very raw prospect but has the physical attributes you look for in a Defensive End, these are the type of prospects I have no issue with taking in the mid rounds of drafts.

Cauran Reid C+

TJ Jones C+

Nate Freese, I'm hardly an expert on Kickers so I can't honesty give him a grade.

Final Grade, B.

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Old 05-12-2014, 11:09 AM    (permalink
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Love this draft. Webster was one of my favorite projects in this draft. Perfect fit for us as we need another speed rusher for the long term and Webster fits our system. He won't be forced into action either as there are 4 DEs in front of him.

Reid is a favorite of mine, Jones is very solid, we needed a K and we needed a C. Raiola is 35 and signed for one year. You never know if he'll fall off, retire, get hurt etc. Swanson was strong value where we got him and we were heavily mocked to take him there.

Van Noy was one of my top 5 favorite overall players in this draft. Never dreamed we'd actually land him.

Ebron was such an incredibly perfect fit and value, I don't understand people who argue the pick so strongly. If Barr or Gilbert was on the board, maybe.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:17 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Nastradamus View Post
Ebron was such an incredibly perfect fit and value, I don't understand people who argue the pick so strongly. If Barr or Gilbert was on the board, maybe.
I do agree with that statement. Considering Gilbert and Barr were off the board, it is hard to argue the pick. I will say I am pretty disappointed that we turned our pick in so early. I got the sense that we gave very minimal effort towards moving down. I know Mayhew said he tried, but when you don't even use half of your time on the clock, I think it shows that they had no intention of moving down.

My biggest disappointment is the lack of secondary players. The trade up for Van Noy essentially cost us McGill or Desir, two guys that would have been a nice addition to the CB corps we have. That said, I do love the Van Noy pick, but the biggest weakness of our team IMO was barely addressed this offseason and I fear that we could be in for a long season watching our defense give up a lot of yards in the air.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:23 PM    (permalink
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Thought I'd throw this in.

Nate Freese:

Reliable 4 year kicker for Boston College.

Average 64.1 yards on kickoffs with 51 of 73 going for touchbacks..

Kicked 4 FG's in a game 3 times.

Longest FG was 52 yards.

Average 41.7 yards on punts with 9 touchbacks, 23 fair catches, 22 placed inside the 20 yard line and only one blocked.

Only negative is leg strength for long FG's.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:46 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Iamcanadian View Post
When you draft #10, it is hard to do worse than a B. 2 solid starters right off the bat with a 3rd possible for next year. looks like we improved our Special Teams and acquired some potential for down the road. Not a real exciting draft, but solid enough.
This is basically how I feel about our draft. I feel like this will be a good class and we'll end up with a few solid contributors but it's just a little disappointing when you consider the fact that we were picking at #10 in what has been called one of the best drafts ever.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:23 PM    (permalink
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Let Martin kick the long ones?
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:35 AM    (permalink
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Let me preface these remarks with a proviso, this team doesn't get it.
This team doesn't get it.
Ebron - C-, nothing this guy does is elite, what the Lions did here was sign Pettigrew and then Draft a guy who won't be on the field 30% of the offensive snaps in the top ten. That guy hasn't got elite speed or size and his hands rival Pettigrew's manos de piedros. All this to improve the # 2 or 3 passing offense. Don't get me wrong. They needed to augment their passing game with another reliable option but this guy is always going to be a wannabe.

Van Noy - B i may be being a little harsh, his grade suffers because the Lions moved up for a guy who would have been there anyway. Van Noy does a lot of things well. He was a need pick here, but they needed other things more, like help at CB.

Travis Swanson - C+ - I like Swanson more than most. He anchors better than most centers and he's got size. If he can take Raiola's job in a year, this grade should be better, still I think this was a knee jerk reaction to a projected need.

Nevin Lawson - C - This is the only help the Lions brought in for a piss poor secondary. Seattle does well in the fourth but we have Mayhew drafting for us. This is where the moving up for Van Noy cost us. It cost us in the seventh as well. The selection also bothers me because this gnat-like corner will be seeing large TE's, very large receivers, Alshon Jeffries, Brandon Marshall...whom Mcgill or Desir or a plethora of other corners might match up against a whole lot better.

Larry Webster - D - Here's a guy someone fell hard for. A basketball player turned DE/TE. I had a sixth round grade on him. He's got the measureables, he just doesn't have the resume. I don't think he had the functional strength or the proverbial sand in the pants to hold up as a DE. Projects shouldn't be drafted this high.

Caruan Reid - A- - good pick, good value. He was taken in thr right slot. Rotational DT who can shoot gaps and shouldn't be on the field when his lack of bulk would hurt him. My favorite Lions pick of the draft.

TJ Jones - B - Solid sixth round pick, possession receiver. If he allows us to bump Fuller/Ogletree/durham then he has outperformed his draft position. Avg. size, avg. speed. Tough kid.

Nate Freeze - We needed a kicker in a bad way. The Lions record with kickers can't be questioned. Eddie Murray, Jason Hanson, Errol Mann...almost fifty years and three kickers, I know there were one or two one year hiccups.. Benefit of the doubt - A
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:29 AM    (permalink
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Ebron will see more than 30% of the snaps. He'll get slot time and plenty of two TE sets with Pettigrew. You keep Pettigrew to keep defenses honest so they don't know if it's run or pass. Plus he can block and can be a productive plodding chain mover. Ebron or Fauria don't block. Ebron is a matchup nightmare and stretches the middle of the field. The Lions have never had that before even with Scheffler (slower than thought). Completely opens up our offense even more. 10 was the right value for Ebron.

There are plenty of targets for Tate and Ebron without taking from the others. Durham got 86 targets for goodness sake. Burleson/Broyles/Ogletree and Scheffler got 102 last year. Give all those targets to Ebron and Tate.

And piss poor secondary is just flat out wrong. The media may believe that but it's not backed up by much. It's a poor perception.

12th in comp %, 13th in TDs allowed, 17th in ints, 19th in QB rating, 20th in YPA and 23rd in Yards per game and best in league (1st) in 3rd down stop %. All with Houston playing hurt causing him to play bad (hamsting/toe) and a talented Slay with rookie learning curve. Greenwood played well his 2 games and Green was solid. Bentley took a step forward at nickel but now Lawson challenges him. Looks average with room to improve to me. Quin at his more natural free safety and Ihedigbo added (though he's more run support and blitz than coverage).

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Old 05-13-2014, 10:06 AM    (permalink
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I think of all the picks to criticize, Webster is a weird one to pick. That was one of our better picks IMO. Guys like him are thriving in the league and you simply don't get that kind of talent that late in the draft very often. It was a need, we play a perfect system for him and we have the ability to develop him as we have 4 veterans in front of him. A couple of those guys are cuttable if he proves to be ready earlier.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:13 AM    (permalink
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Ebron will see more than 30% of the snaps. He'll get slot time and plenty of two TE sets with Pettigrew. You keep Pettigrew to keep defenses honest so they don't know if it's run or pass. Plus he can block and can be a productive plodding chain mover. Ebron or Fauria don't block. Ebron is a matchup nightmare and stretches the middle of the field. The Lions have never had that before even with Scheffler (slower than thought). Completely opens up our offense even more. 10 was the right value for Ebron.

There are plenty of targets for Tate and Ebron without taking from the others. Durham got 86 targets for goodness sake. Burleson/Broyles/Ogletree and Scheffler got 102 last year. Give all those targets to Ebron and Tate.

And piss poor secondary is just flat out wrong. The media may believe that but it's not backed up by much. It's a poor perception.

12th in comp %, 13th in TDs allowed, 17th in ints, 19th in QB rating, 20th in YPA and 23rd in Yards per game and best in league (1st) in 3rd down stop %. All with Houston playing hurt causing him to play bad (hamsting/toe) and a talented Slay with rookie learning curve. Greenwood played well his 2 games and Green was solid. Bentley took a step forward at nickel but now Lawson challenges him. Looks average with room to improve to me. Quin at his more natural free safety and Ihedigbo added (though he's more run support and blitz than coverage).
This pretty much nails it. Our pass D was average at worst last year, not nearly as terrible as people make it sound.

Also, we only drafted Lawson as a DB, but Reid,Van Noy and Webster are all guys who were brought in to upgrade the pass D. Van Noy can not only rush the passer, but he should be huge in covering athletic TEs as well. Lets not pretend like we ignored that part of our team. We spent more resources on it than anything else this offseason. We brought in 2 DB, brought back Mathis and used 4 picks to upgrade it. Yeesh.

Ebron is going to be huge. You need a lot of weapons in this league. GB is always loaded with weapons and they took 3 WRs and a TE in this draft. You gotta keep up with the Joneses
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:49 AM    (permalink
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Ebron does block and he has the ability to block well. He will be a complete TE which is what makes his selection great for us.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:11 AM    (permalink
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It's funny that you mention GB because they haven't spent a 1st round pick on a WR, TE, or RB in over a decade.

Our secondary play is kind of hard to gauge to be honest. I think it looks better than it is because of how much pressure our D-line created. I know we didn't get a ton of sacks but I think that's largely because our coverage was poor and QBs didn't have to hold the ball very long. It's hard to prove because I don't have statistics to back it up but that's what I got from watching our games.

The only DB that I actually feel good about at this point is Quin. Ihedigbo is hard to trust in coverage and our only effective CB from last season is going to be 34 to start the season. We can hope for our young guys to progress or for Houston to return to form but I don't think either is a given.

Our secondary isn't as bad as people think but I certainly don't feel great about it. I would've loved to trade back in the 1st and grab one of the top guys this year. Here's hoping that everything works out and we see some serious improvement and hope for the future.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:32 AM    (permalink
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It's funny that you mention GB because they haven't spent a 1st round pick on a WR, TE, or RB in over a decade.

Our secondary play is kind of hard to gauge to be honest. I think it looks better than it is because of how much pressure our D-line created. I know we didn't get a ton of sacks but I think that's largely because our coverage was poor and QBs didn't have to hold the ball very long. It's hard to prove because I don't have statistics to back it up but that's what I got from watching our games.

The only DB that I actually feel good about at this point is Quin. Ihedigbo is hard to trust in coverage and our only effective CB from last season is going to be 34 to start the season. We can hope for our young guys to progress or for Houston to return to form but I don't think either is a given.

Our secondary isn't as bad as people think but I certainly don't feel great about it. I would've loved to trade back in the 1st and grab one of the top guys this year. Here's hoping that everything works out and we see some serious improvement and hope for the future.

I agree with this 100%. I think our secondary is weak, and while the stats don't indicate it, that unit is preventing our defense from being extremely good and it will lead to us losing some games. We are able to mask it pretty well, but there is no doubt that is the weakness of this team and in a passing league, it's a bad weakness to have.

We are designed to enter into shootouts with teams. Fortunately we have the ability to get to the passer and if we can establish a lead early, we should be able to play with that by dialing up pressure and going after the QB. We now have the offense that should be able to do just that, and offensively we can go point for point with anyone (except Denver).

But when we start playing the other elite teams this year, I think we will see that our secondary is going to hold us back a bit and our ability to win those games will depend on our ability to continuously generate good pressure, and outscore the other teams offense. We are not a team that is going to win a game 17-14 IMO. It has worked for teams in the past, but if we do not shore up our secondary soon, I do not think this team will able to go head to head with the top teams in the league.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:37 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by fredder View Post
It's funny that you mention GB because they haven't spent a 1st round pick on a WR, TE, or RB in over a decade.

Our secondary play is kind of hard to gauge to be honest. I think it looks better than it is because of how much pressure our D-line created. I know we didn't get a ton of sacks but I think that's largely because our coverage was poor and QBs didn't have to hold the ball very long. It's hard to prove because I don't have statistics to back it up but that's what I got from watching our games.

The only DB that I actually feel good about at this point is Quin. Ihedigbo is hard to trust in coverage and our only effective CB from last season is going to be 34 to start the season. We can hope for our young guys to progress or for Houston to return to form but I don't think either is a given.

Our secondary isn't as bad as people think but I certainly don't feel great about it. I would've loved to trade back in the 1st and grab one of the top guys this year. Here's hoping that everything works out and we see some serious improvement and hope for the future.
I would say Houston back to form or Slay developing are better bets than a rookie stepping in and playing well at CB right away. Down the line Fuller or Dennard could develop but personally I don't think Dennard would have beat out Houston or Slay. Fuller is versatile so probably wins the nickel job easily. Gilbert wasn't an option.

Especially if the rookie is at number 1 CB, I don't see that helping short term. I like Dennard and Fuller but I didn't see them saving the secondary in 2014 at least. I know Mathis is old and played well plus he's an extra year from his last major injury. That should help Mathis. The coverage was fine except for a couple big plays (some was Houston injury and Slay as a rookie) but what we need is more than 2 picks from the three CBs.

The Dline helped the back 7 last year and will help the back 7 this year. Ansah/Taylor year 2, Ansah healthy, Jones back and Suh/Fairley, now Van Noy rushing, there should be even more help by the pass rush this year than last year.

I think Webster can turn into a Willie Young down the road. Same body type but Webster is faster.

Secondary was average with a rookie and hurt number 1 CB most of the year. It can get better just with health and experience. No need to change the players.

http://www.freep.com/article/2014051...on-toe-surgery
Houston had surgry by the way on the toe.

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Old 05-13-2014, 01:52 PM    (permalink
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It's funny that you mention GB because they haven't spent a 1st round pick on a WR, TE, or RB in over a decade.

Our secondary play is kind of hard to gauge to be honest. I think it looks better than it is because of how much pressure our D-line created. I know we didn't get a ton of sacks but I think that's largely because our coverage was poor and QBs didn't have to hold the ball very long. It's hard to prove because I don't have statistics to back it up but that's what I got from watching our games.

The only DB that I actually feel good about at this point is Quin. Ihedigbo is hard to trust in coverage and our only effective CB from last season is going to be 34 to start the season. We can hope for our young guys to progress or for Houston to return to form but I don't think either is a given.

Our secondary isn't as bad as people think but I certainly don't feel great about it. I would've loved to trade back in the 1st and grab one of the top guys this year. Here's hoping that everything works out and we see some serious improvement and hope for the future.
Did you feel great about our pass catching options???
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:48 PM    (permalink
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Did you feel great about our pass catching options???
If we had used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a WR I would've been more than happy with our passing options.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:42 PM    (permalink
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If we had used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a WR I would've been more than happy with our passing options.
Ha Ha in Round 1 and Davonte Adams I could have gotten behind too based on how the board went. But we'll see if those Round 2 guys do what Ebron does this year. I think they want Tate more on the outside based on the Ebron pick.

That would mean no trade though probably in Round 2. So we go McGill, Reid and Webster in Round 4 then. But lose Freese maybe (undrafted instead of Round 7) since we woudln't make the Round 5 trade.

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Old 05-15-2014, 02:09 AM    (permalink
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With Stafford throwing him the ball Ebron's 11.4% drop rate is only going to go up hate the pick. The rest of the draft was fine though.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:44 AM    (permalink
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yeah that drop rate is atrocious and it gives me nightmares that we just drafted another Pettigrew at #10.

But again, I am not going to trash this pick until I see this offense in action. I wasn't a fan but given who was on the board, it's hard to sit here and complain about it. If Gilbert was there I would have a very different attitude.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:31 AM    (permalink
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yeah that drop rate is atrocious and it gives me nightmares that we just drafted another Pettigrew at #10.

But again, I am not going to trash this pick until I see this offense in action. I wasn't a fan but given who was on the board, it's hard to sit here and complain about it. If Gilbert was there I would have a very different attitude.
His completion percentage was still good and his drop rate could be due to longer attempts to him. He was used as a WR basically. He's an explosive TE which does not compare to Pettigrew at all. Pettigrew is a plodding, beat the zone chain mover (when he does'nt drop it or duck on pick 6s). Ebron is the Reggie Bush version of a TE. Has some drops but you get the good YPC, the requirement to game plan for him more and explosion. Basiclaly Ebron shouldn't have incompletes his way due to lack of separation. Pettigrew is drops AND lack of separtion. So was Durham and his 86 targets last year.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:04 AM    (permalink
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If we had used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a WR I would've been more than happy with our passing options.
ah, gotcha. 2nd or 3rd rounder, perfectly reasonable. 1st rounder though, just crazy.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:18 PM    (permalink
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Well, it is still going to come down to Stafford, if he has a great year, the defense will likely be fine, if he plays like he did the last 2 years, we'll be in trouble.

Can we take the next step, it's all on Stafford's shoulders, if he plays dynamite, we will be dynamite, if he plays rotten, we'll be rotten. I've got my fingers crossed and am hoping, he is the real deal. I'm excited to see how good this team can be, but I shutter to think what happens if Stafford cannot raise his level of play. I think it is just a Lions thing, expecting the best, but getting disappointed just too many times, I just cannot shake it.
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