Detroit Lions Draft Gives Stafford Room To Grow


When the Detroit Lions traded down in the first round, the game plan was simple, they wanted to go heavy on the offensive line, and protect the “golden arm” in Matthew Stafford.

Last year, Detroit was plagued with injuries on the offensive line whether it was Larry Warford or LaAdrian Waddle the Lions had little depth and ending up relying on the likes of Garrett Reynolds and Corneilus Lucas. Lucas a UDFA from Kansas State shows promise to be a good second string tackle in this league, maybe even a starter.

The Lions struggled in the middle of the Offensive line, Dominic  Raiola and Rob Sims significantly struggled last year and that became well seen as the Lions allowed the fifth most sacks in the NFL and Stafford was allowed a league low – 2.97 seconds in the pocket.

There’s no doubt where the Lions needed to focus on this draft. However, the Detroit Lions are known for taking the “best player available” in drafts. That hasn’t always worked in Mayhew’s regime. This was the first draft, I can specifically remember where Mayhew drafted based on his needs. When you look at the Detroit Lions draft, they drafted high character guys, that have the skill-set to be outstanding.

That’s a major plus.

Detroit’s been their own worst enemy in past years, where they would beat themselves. Mayhew drafted a kicker in the 2014 draft who didn’t pan out. When he signed Alex Henery, he was hoping the Lions kicking woes would stop.

More from Detroit Jock City

They didn’t.

Mayhew over and over again has shown he sometimes overreaches, and he admitted that specifically in the 2011 season he had overreached, in a M-Live article from March saying “I learned a lot from that, and our drafts have improved since then.”

The 2014 Lions Draft class shouldn’t be graded on last year alone. Eric Ebron struggled in the first year, which is common for Tight ends in a CBS Radio Interview on the Jim Rome Show, Former NFL TE Tony Gonzalez said “I wouldn’t take a tight end, In the first round.” Gonzalez went on to say “NFL schemes are more complex, it takes a tight end time adjusting from college to pro based on the speed of the game.” Tony Gonzalez’s rookie year was his worst year, and mirrored that of Eric Ebron’s.

This years Detroit Lions draft was an A in my opinion, the Lions needed to shore up the offensive line. They needed to give Matthew Stafford, the ability and time to make good decisions. Last year Stafford had his lowest amount of interceptions in a sixteen game span in his career, but to look further in the numbers out of his 12 interceptions six were pressure related.

More from Detroit Lions

The Lions draft featured 4 of their 7 picks on offense, two offensive lineman not including the trade that landed Manny Ramirez back in a Lions uniform. To me, the draft was about giving Stafford the cast of players he truly needed. I’m of the belief that Matthew Stafford won’t be an “elite” QB, but, I do think the Lions can win with Stafford at the helm.

This is the most important season in quite some time for the Detroit Lions, to live up to the hype of their coach “The Time is now” that’s what Coach Caldwell said in his opening press conference.

What Can We Expect Out Of This Draft Class? 

The Lions can expect a lot, but will they get it? I don’t expect Ameer Abdullah to win Rookie of the year, I expect the offensive line to be leaps and bounds better in 2015, they can’t really get much worse than they were last year.

The two pieces the Lions added in the NFL Draft in the secondary could play a huge role this year. Last year as good as the Lions defense was in the pass game from the nickel position. Nevin Lawson and the draft picks of Diggs and Carter that should shore up a pass defense that allowed the 23rd most passing yards from the slot.

What Does This Mean For Detroit? 

The Detroit Lions filling the need on the offensive line, gives Detroit more chance to grow on offense. Let’s face it, Matthew Stafford passing for 600 attempts again was because of the in-ability to run the football because of a bad offensive line.

I don’t see that happening and I personally believe that will help the Lions quarter back become a better player. Stafford has never had a true running game. If Ameer becomes what Jahvid Best was before the head injuries that could bode well for the Lions offense.

Next: Did injuries shape the draft for the Lions?