Let’s say you’re the Detroit Lions. A horrifying thought I’m sure, but just for the sake of argument what do you do in the upcoming NFL draft? There are those who say you have to go for the killer athlete, the top flight quarterback when he’s avalable. Is that Mathew Stafford? I don’t really believe in that train of thought.
Time has shown that when rebuilding a team you have to go for the guy in the trenches. The return on your investment seems to me to be much better when you go for the guy who’s going to be manning your line for the next decade. A first class guard or tackle is going to pay dividends for a long time. Even the most highly rated and talented quarterback in the world is going to suffer a painful and pitiful time if he doesn’t have the guys in front to protect him. Certainly the Hall of Fame quality quarterback can improve a team, but a competent and unspectacular QB can get you to a Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens did it with Trent Dilfer, my most obvious example. The Buffalo Bills couldn’t do it with Jim Kelly.
The NFL draft is a crapshoot. Take the proven guy in the trenches and wait for the young QB to appear or make a move in free agency to complete your team. Without a foundation it’s all smoke and glass. Hopefully, now that Matt Millen is no longer calling the shots, the Lions can start making some better picks. Trading down in the draft, building a base with some solid players of good character is such and obvious move that Detroit would be betraying their fans by going for the big name draft pick.