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Sunday, April 30, 2006 

Detroit Lions Draft Picks, Day 1


Round 1, Pick 9:
Ernie Sims (OLB, Florida State)
- The Positives:
After Paul Tagliabue announced that the Lions had taken Sims, ESPN showed his highlight package from Florida State. Although I was initially disappointed by the announcement, the highlight reel immediately revealed his explosive hits and closing speed. All the experts are comparing Sims to former FSU weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks. Marinelli refers to Ernie as a "collision hunter."

According to Rotowire, Bill Belichick considers Sims a top 5 talent, which is very reassuring. Belichick's stamp of approval on your draft pick is comparable to Nate Dogg singing the hook on your rap song. It's almost guaranteed that the player/song will have some success.

The reports on Sims say that he is very intense, which is a trait that the Lion defense could most definitely use. The ESPN Draft Magazine compares Sims to Ian Gold.

- The Negatives:
With Michael Huff off the board, we really thought that the Lions should trade down in the first round or take the best player on the board, Matt Leinart. This is a deep draft and picking up an extra Day 1 pick by trading down would have yielded an additional starter quality prospect. Sims just doesn't seem to have been a great value for the #9 slot and the Lions could have gotten a player of similar value later in the round.

Of course there is also the little problem of being a "collision hunter" while also being a bit under-sized: Sims has been concussed 5 times. This is pretty concerning to everyone...except Matt "Fire" Millen. When asked what a history of concussions says about a player, Millen said “The first thing that that tells me: the kid hits.” I'm no GM, but the first thing it tells me is that the player is one or two big hits away from calling it a career. With Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman, can the Lions really afford another injury prone player at linebacker? It would seem this is only marginally preferable to taking another wide receiver with a questionable work ethic.

Finally, I don't know about anyone else, but I find it hard to completely trust the character of players from Free Shoes University.

- The Judgement:
The Lions get faster on defense but are unable to land a "can't miss" prospect despite picking in the top 10.

7/10



Round 2, Pick #40:
Daniel Bullocks (S, Nebraska)

- The Positives:
Bullocks fits the Marinelli mold for defensive players: a big hitter with speed. At 6'1 and 212 lbs with a 4.38 forty yard dash time, Bullocks is able to play either free safety or strong safety. Initially, new defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson will play the Cornhusker at free safety. Shares many strengths with first rounder Ernie Sims (speed, hitting, leadership and intensity); hopefully this will help Marinelli establish an identity for his young defense. Will stop the run and impressed at the Senior Bowl. The ESPN Draft Mag compares Bullocks to Michael Lewis of the Eagles.

(Randomness: I like Mel Kiper Jr. as much as the next guy, but every time Chris Berman throws it over to him he begins his analysis with the phrase "I think you talk about." For example, he might say something like "I think you talk about a linebacker who can play sideline to sideline." No Mel, I think you talk about a linebacker who plays sideline to sideline; in fact, I have video evidence to prove it. It's a bit off-putting when Mel keeps trying to guess what I'm talking about.)

- The Negatives:
The Lions were outmaneuvered by the Eagles and Falcons in the second round. Both teams moved up to select DB Jimmy Williams and OT Winston Justice immediately in front of the Lions. Both players were sliding after receiving first round grades and would have competed for a starting role in Detroit immediately. Jimmy Williams would have been a perfect fit in Motown, and its hard to believe that the Lions wouldn't have been better off giving up a mid-round pick or 2 to land Williams instead of Bullocks.

While he should be a starter within a couple years, it seems that Bullocks' ceiling is not very high. Scouts question whether or not he has the tools to be an elite pass defender.

- The Judgement:
Seems to be a safe pick who should be a solid contributor but doesn't figure to make any Pro Bowls.

6/10



Round 3, Pick #74
Brian Calhoun (RB, Wisconsin)

- The Positives:
Calhoun is a former track star who had 1636 rushing yards, 571 receiving yards, and 24 total touchdowns in 2005. Having watched him in the Big Ten, where he was highly effective, I liked how he ran with a bit of style and personality. His receiving skills mean that he will eventually serve as a third down back, where he should be a great complement to Kevin Jones. Calhoun also can return kicks and might be able to play some slot receiver as well. He provides valuable depth behind Jones and KR Eddie Drummond. Mike Martz has another weapon in his arsenal.

- The Negatives:
Kevin Jones is set as the feature back in Detroit with Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner previously next on the depth chart. If I remember correctly, Pinner was a Mariucci pick so this might be a sign that 'Tose is on his way out. Pinner hasn't impressed in the NFL and doesn't fit Martz's offense well. There aren't enough roster spots for everyone.

The Lions have a lot of holes so upgrading at RB might have been a bit of a luxury. The Lions still need an OT, OG, LB, CB, and possibly DT and are without their 4th round pick.

-The Judgement:
I really like this pick. Martz will find ways to get Calhoun the ball and he's a threat to take it to the house on any touch. Offensive line depth is a must on Day 2.


8/10


-NJV

Now they can drop Artose and let Denver pick him up and he will be a great rb next year.

I think Calhoun was a great pick. If he would have stayed in school for his senior year I bet he would have competed for the Heisman and been a high first round pick in next years draft. As you mentioned he's extremely dangerous both running and receiving.

He's going to be a good one.

Really helpful data, thank you for the post.
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