Over 250 college players were drafted to play for NFL clubs over the weekend. Cam Newton as expected went first overall to the Carolina Panthers. Several teams draft performances standout in my mind. The New Orleans Saints strengthened their running game by drafting Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. The New England Patriots took Ryan Mallet in the third round. Like the current starting quarterback in New England (Tom Brady), Mallet studied at The University of Michigan and is a pocket passer. He will either shadow Brady for years or be good trade material. The Cleveland Browns acquired a fast wide receiver (Greg Little) and gave the defense a little boost with a new tackle (Phil Taylor) and end (Jabaal Sheard). But, the team that impressed me the most was the Detroit Lions.
The Lions have been at the bottom of professional football for years. They have been bad for so long that I am afraid to say this because I do not want to jinx them, but I think the football gods are smiling on the Motor City.
Two weeks ago the NFL released the 2011 regular season schedule and the Lions received their first Monday Night Football (MNF) game in over a decade. There are rumors that the game was a sign of gratitude for the franchise graciously hosting the Vikings – Giants game that had to be relocated because the Metrodome collapsed. But, who cares? It’s not always how you get it, but what you do when you get it.
With their first pick in this past weekend’s draft, Detroit was able to select Nick Fairley, a defensive tackle from Auburn. This is a huge help to the Lions. Last season they were ranked 21st in total defense in the league. Having someone to help 2010 rookie of the year, Ndamukong Suh, on defense will improve that ranking.
Lions fans should be very pleased. The first pick was not a quarterback or a wide receiver. The Lions are clearly focused on defense. If the football gods are truly smiling on Detroit, Matthew Stafford will rehabilitate well, not injure himself again and lead Detroit to the playoffs this year. Now we just have to wait to see if we have NFL football this fall.
Check out all the draft selections. What do you think of your team’s picks?
Heels & Helmets®