Recently, Detroit Lions fans were overheard chanting “don’t pick Stafford” at the press conference to unveil the Lions’ “new” logo and uniforms. If you ask me, the new logo is about as different as Zoolander’s Blue Steel and Le Tigre, but that’s not the point. My point is that I don’t think the Lions can survive infuriating their fan base at the draft one more time. I also don’t think they can withstand another top-ten draft blunder.
The Detroit economy is in absolute shambles. The Lions have a plush new stadium they are trying to fill, and we’ve recently found out that ownership wasn’t built as “Ford tough” as they once thought they were. Additionally, I’d be willing to guess that the Lions have the lowest fan base favorability score of any NFL team. Going 0-16 after drafting one draft bust after another will do that.
Motor City football fans are having night terrors about the organization’s luck bringing in franchise quarterbacks. “Andre Ware! … Scott Mitchell! … Joey Harrington! Make it stop! I just want some sleep.”
Let’s just say they’re not too eager to go through all of that again. Typically, a franchise wouldn’t care that much about its fan base’s opinion of its draft. Hell, just look at the history of the New York Jets. But this is different. Ex-GM Matt Millen and the Ford family complete lost the trust and respect of Lions Nation. In what will be viewed by many as the new brain trust’s first major move, the Lions have to accomplish two things: A.) They absolutely cannot strike out on a player; B.) They must appease the fan base.
All this leads me to believe that the Lions will not pick Stafford. In fact, I think the opposite of a lot of experts; I think the Lions are flirting with Stafford to bring down the price tag of Aaron Curry or one of the two offensive tackles — not vice versa. I flat out don’t believe the reports that Stafford will be the No. 1 overall pick. I’ll believe it when I see it, because it doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, this is the Lions we are talking about — possibly the most nonsensical pro sports organization around.
My bet is that the Lions will pick Curry. Jim Schwartz is a defensive-minded coach and Curry has been packaged and pushed down our throats as “the safe pick.” He’ll be a cheaper and safer pick than Stafford even if he never becomes a superstar (which I don’t think he ever will), and one that will thrill the fan base.
If Curry goes to Motown, I owe you one, Lions fans. Last year I said the same things about OT Jake Long. I said he was overrated, the de facto No. 1 player because he was viewed as a safe pick even if others had a much higher ceiling. I also said that tackles picked later in the first round would be just as good. Branden Albert, Ryan Clady and Sam Baker proved that to be true.
Curry going first overall to the Lions would kick my draft off the right way, that’s for sure. In the long run it would be what’s best for all of us Chiefs fans.