Detroit’s beefed-up DL, and what it means for us.


The Detroit Lions have suddenly made the Top 5 picks very interesting again, due to their beefing up along the defensive line.  They added DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, formerly of the Titans, and more importantly, traded for DT Corey Williams from the Cleveland Browns.

For weeks, conventional wisdom around the NFL was that the Lions are shopping for the best available DT that falls — DT Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska or DT Gerald McCoy from Oklahoma if Suh isn’t available. But Williams’ obscene contract that the Lions inherited suggests that the Lions might not want to tie in another $40 or $50 million in guaranteed money to the same position. So maybe the Lions are gravitating towards OT Russell Okung, of Oklahoma State?

I floated this idea to our friend Kevin Ferguson at SideLion Report, and this is what he enthusiastically assured me via email:

"The Lions haven’t come off this effective and concise in a decade or more. Bosch is the real deal, there is still gas in the tank for at least three productive seasons of his four year deal. Williams could possibly be a victim of a 3-4 scheme misfit.I still think they are going to take Suh. They’re doing it the right way. Draft a talent and put him next to a Pro Bowler. If not, perhaps Seattle is really that deeply in love with Suh and we can fleece them for the 6th and 16th. I think it is; that’s an offer we can’t turn down, we could fetch that tackle out of osu and get another quality player at 16. It’s not like we’re one defensive guy away from being a contender, we have holes to fill across the board."

Now, Ferguson follows the Lions way more diligently than I do (although they are one of my favorite non-Chiefs teams in the league), but I don’t share his conviction.

In light of these developments, I think conventional wisdom now turns against the Lions selecting Suh or McCoy (and I think trading down, as Ferguson desires, is a fairy tale), and Okung has become the frontrunner to go #2 overall, with Tennessee safety Eric Berry getting an outside shot.

This could have an effect on how the Chiefs pick. Let’s play out a pair of scenerios after the jump.

For weeks, this was the assumed order of the Draft’s first four picks:

1. St. Louis Rams: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
4. Washington Redskins: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame

Leaving, as I’ve feared, the Chiefs with a choice between Okung and Berry that has the capability of splitting this entire fanbase in half. And I think Pioli goes with Okung, sadly. (I think McClain and Haden took themselves out of consideration, and sadly I don’t think Mays or Spiller were ever in consideration.)

So what happens, because of the money they have tied up in Williams, if the Lions go with either Okung or Berry? Let’s play both scenerios out, starting with the more likely course of action, Okung:

1. St. Louis Rams: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
4. Washington Redskins: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame

And what if the Lions go Berry?

1. St. Louis Rams: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions: S Eric Berry, Tennessee
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
4. Washington Redskins: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame

That leaves us with an intriguing decision of whether the value of Gerald McCoy is worth overlooking two areas of concern for this team (secondary or offensive line). In the first hypothetical, our choice is between Berry and McCoy.  In the second, Okung and McCoy.

So it’s clear that if the Lions are going with a non-DT as I think they’re going to, this blog needs to have a discussion about Gerald McCoy.

I will be posting about Gerald McCoy a little bit later so prepare yourselves for a conversation on whether he’d be a smart pickup. (And no, he can’t play 3-4 nose tackle.)