The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Detroit Turned It Around

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I don't think there's any question that the Lions helped themselves the most, almost by default. In his legendary Campaign of Incompetence, Matt Millen had created a team that consisted of one All-Galaxy receiver (Calvin Johnson) and very little else. New sheriffs Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz started their first Detroit draft by selecting their future franchise quarterback in Georgia's Matt Stafford, whose arm is slightly ahead of his accuracy and decision-making. But the arm is elite, and the rest can be coached.

Getting Oklahoma State Brandon Pettigrew in the first round as well was a real coup. Pettigrew is a huge player with great ability to catch the ball (I interviewed him for PreDraft back in March), and he's by far the best blocker of any tight end in this draft class. That's an important factor when your offense line is going to be a problem for a while.

Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas, who the Lions got in the second round, was one of my favorite defensive players in this draft. Delmas is an exceptional cover safety with a rare ability to trail deep receivers and a kamikaze tackling style. The Lions will benefit greatly from his toughness. Mayhew and Schwartz also showed that they were scouting the deep end of the pool when they took Stillman defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill in the fourth round. Hill is incredibly quick inside for his 6-4, 330-pound frame, and he'll help immediately. Cal linebacker Zack Follett is a great depth pick -- he's a downhill linebacker with exceptional special teams ability.

I think the Lions got faster, tougher, and smarter in this draft. They also gave their downtrodden fans a great deal of hope for the future. Admittedly, there was nowhere to go but up, but there has to be a little bit of optimism in Detroit for the first time in a long time.

By Doug Farrar  |  April 27, 2009; 10:07 AM ET  | Category:  Detriot Lions , Doug Farrar , Draft Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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