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Spent several NFL drafts while covering the Detroit Lions figuring out if it was good for the team, bad or indifferent when frankly at that point it is impossible to tell.

The proof comes on the field, much later, when they either can play or not, have character to navigate the business of football or not, avoid critical injuries, or not, which is pretty much the case in professional sports.

Some years what I wrote in analysis turned out fine like when I wasn’t sold on Stockar McDougle in the first round. He played two years at right tackle and lasted six in the league but never looked like a first-round pick.

Then again, I thought Joey Harrington might turn out to be a good pick. Thought Charles Rogers couldn’t miss. Hmmm.

Oh, Barry Sanders was a steal, I wrote. See, genius.


The Lions, as their fans well know, disappoint in most years and they haven’t won a championship in 64 years and have one playoff win since television was invented. Well, not that long, but you know it has been a long time.

This year the Lions, 5-11 last year, went back to square one once again with a new general manager in Brad Holmes, new coach in Dan Campbell and new quarterback in Jared Goff following the rebuild trade of Matthew Stafford

Looking around at “experts” and their “draft grades” it looks like most folks had the Lions in the B and B-plus range. Hey sometimes the Lions from the D get a D. So chin up. B isn’t bad, and we shall see.

You already know they took linemen with the first three picks and four defensive players out of the seven picks overall. Old adage. Start up front and start with defense. Really can’t argue with it unless you miss on a playmaker like say Barry Sanders.

Some folks thought wide receiver and linebacker, their two most glaring spots of need, should have been the first two addressed. Instead, they were last, but at least they were addressed.

Amon-Ra St. Brown from USC might be a great receiver, and if he turns out to be good that’s pretty good for a fourth-rounder. I’m wondering why in a draft full of receivers – 36 were drafted – the Lions waited that long, but the whole Charles Rogers things keeps me from getting on a soap box about it.

I bet Goff would have liked to see a receiver tagged earlier.


Campbell, of course, was looking for his kneecap biting types and came up roses there with some big guys with attitude. Offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the first-round pick, is the one who will get the most scrutiny. The new regime loves him as evidenced by the celebration the world has seen on video. Never has it seemed there was such a celebration for the pick of a lineman.

And linemen kept coming on the defensive side with Levin Onwuzurike of Washington and Alim McNeill of N.C. State. They are big nasty types, and the Lions were clearly going with guys with names that are hard to spell and pronounce as evidenced by the pick of Ifeatu Melifonwu, the corner from Syracuse.

Linebacker finally got addressed with a trade up to the fourth in Derrick Barnes from Purdue and the final pick was Jermar Jefferson, a running back out of Oregon.

Now, we wait a see. Give the Lions a B, a D, whatever. What happens on Sundays in the fall is what matters. Good draft? Who knows? I know the Lions rarely have them, so there’s that.


Picture of Brad Holmes, Penei Sewell and Dan Campbell from