Recap: 2009 NFL Draft: A Fan’s Take

by on November 26th, 2010
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I fall into the group that believes a draft can’t be truly evaluated until 3 years later. The reason is that players often take time to adjust to the speed of the game. and the list of players who contribute to their team that didn’t in the first three years is rather small. So this is my review of the Lions’ 2009 Draft.

I remember in 2009 being unsure about Mayhew as a General Manager. I was a little bit less uncertain after he hired Jim Schwartz as a Head Coach. The hirings of Scott Linehan, who I felt was a good coordinator but a bad head coach, and Gunther Cunningham, who I had enjoyed from his early Kansas City days under Marty Schottenheimer, bolstered my confidence somewhat. But this draft would be big. We had a lot of holes and not a lot of players….

1st round. no. 1 overall, Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. I really thought at the time he’d be a good QB but with all the holes we had, I thought we should take Jason Smith, OT, from Baylor, slide Backus to RG, and draft a QB later. Or draft Aaron Curry, LB. Even after two injury-plagued years, I didn’t look right as neither player had looked good while Stafford had shown glimpses he could be great. All he did this past year was break every Lions’ single season passing record ever. Grade: A+

1st round, 20th overall. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State University. I liked this pick because he could catch and block. He was the rare tight end that contributed to the entire offense. So far, he’s been solid and has shown the capability to take over games with all the attention directed towards Calvin Johnson, Jr. But he has trouble with drops and concentration penalties. Grade: A-

2nd round, 33rd overall. Loius Delmas, FS, Western Michigan University. At first I wasn’t sold. I thought there were still more rhan a few players still on the board that fit here, such as linebackers James Laurinitis and Rey Maualuga. With that said, Delmas has been a playmaker and he’s generally good in run support. sadly, he’s also been banged up frequently as his hard-nosed style leads to injuries. But he’s the leader of the secondary and is one of the players on defense that sets the tone defensively. Grade: B+

3rd round, 76th overall. DeAndre Levy, LB, Wisconsin. I’d watched Levy play for the Badgers due to being a Big Ten fan. Liked his hard nosed style and drive. He was a special teams fixture his rookie year, started in the middle his 2nd season, and moved to the weakside this past year. Not bad for a 3rd rounder. Grade: A

3rd round, 82nd overall. Derrick Willliams, WR, Penn State University. Alright, again, I thought he’d be great as a 3rd down receiver and a returner with potential to be used all over the field from watching him play for the Nittany Lions. Thanks to fumbling issues and a surprising lack of speed, he never was a factor. Maybe the only true bust of the Mayhew regime. Grade: F

4th round, 115th overall, Sammie Lee Hill, DT, Stillman. I’d at least heard of Western Michigan, and at least heard the name Delmas. I didn’t know anything about this player, his school, or the pick. He’s been an instant contributor, backing up Corey Williams and has shown the ability to make an impact on the defensive line. Might have been the steal of the draft for the Lions. Grade: B+

6th round, 192nd overall. Aaron Brown, RB, Texas Christian University. On a team that has struggled to run, and lacked speed at running back, you’d think drafting a speed back would solve both problems, plus give the Lions a threat as a kick returner. He did none of these things. But hard to call a 6th rounder a bust. Grade: D-

7th round, 228th overall, Lydon Murtha, T, Nebraska. Hasn’t made any kind of impact on a team getting old on the offensive line and lacking pass blockers at the tackle spots. But hard to declare a bust of a 7th rounder. Started 4 games for the Dolphins last year. Grade: D-

7th round, 235th overall, Zach Follett, LB, California. After being signed from the practice squad, this heat-seeking missile immediately upgraded the special teams. Opened 2010 as the starting weakside linebacker. Unfortunately, he injured his neck two weeks into the season and never really recovers. His career was over. However, anytime a 7th rounder starts and makes an impact, it’s a great pick. Tough luck about his injury. Grade: B

7th round, 255th overall, Dan Gronkowski, TE, Maryland. Now a backup TE for the Cleveland Browns. Caught one pass for the Lions and more or less was caught in a position logjam with the Lions having Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Will Heller in 2010. Can’t make a bust out of 7th rounder, especially if they do make some contributions, even if it wasn’t much. Grade: D+

In all, I’d give the Lions an A- for this draft. After all, they got 4 starters from here, which is a solid draft to begin with. When one of those 4, Stafford, will be a Pro Bowler before long, likely 2 with Pettigrew, and Sammie Hill making solid contributions, it’s a great draft. Had Derrick Williams been solid this would’ve been perfect. But this draft set the Lions up for success for years

Sources used: http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?season=2009.


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