What will the Rams do at No. 2?

Now that the Detroit Lions have settled on quarterback Matthew Stafford with the top overall pick, the NFL draft world turns its attention to the St. Louis Rams, who for the second year in a row hold the No. 2 selection.

The latest buzz coming surrounding the Rams is that the team purchased a plane ticket for Mark Sanchez to fly to St. Louis on Sunday. But does that mean that they’ve settled on the former USC quarterback or is it a move generated to lure a team into trading up to their spot?

Marc Bulger is still the starter in St. Louis for now, but after signing a six-year, $65 million contract extension in late July of 2007, he has seemingly mailed it in the past two seasons. And considering Bulger has compiled a QB rating of 70.3 and 71.4 respectively the last two seasons, maybe the Rams really are set to take Sanchez so that they can develop him for the future.

But chances are the purchase of the plane ticket was just a bluff that other teams are going to call. Bulger is set to make a base salary of $6.5 million in 2009, $8.5 millon in 2010, $9 million in 2011 and 2012, and $11.5 million in 2013. Granted, only (only, ha!) $27 million of his contract is guaranteed, but still, it’s doubtful that they draft Sanchez soak that much money into the quarterback position.

The most logical pick for the Rams at No. 2 has been and still is offensive tackle Jason Smith of Baylor. After releasing Orlando Pace this offseason, left tackle remains a huge need and considering the Rams’ offense revolves around keeping Bulger upright and giving franchise running back Steven Jackson room to run, Smith seems like the most logical selection.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Lions’ approach with No. 1 pick is all wrong

When Matt Millen was finally relieved of his general manager duties last year, Lion fans had a renewed sense of hope. Even though Martin Mayhew wasn’t a big, outside name that was coming in to save a burning franchise, Detroit fans reveled in the fact that he wasn’t Millen.

Up to this point, Mayhew’s first offseason has been relatively quiet. The Lions haven’t made any big splashes in free agency, but have added quality pieces to their defense in cornerback Phillip Buchanon and tackle Grady Jackson. The team also made it a priority to re-sign long-time veteran kicker Jason Hanson.

Much of the focus for Mayhew and the Lions revolves around the draft, where they have three selections in the first 33 picks. With major holes at quarterback, middle linebacker and offensive tackle, the Lions will essentially attempt to address two of those needs with the No. 1 and No. 20 picks.

But is Mayhew already screwing things up?

The Lions have stated all along that they wanted to get the No. 1 pick under contract before the start of the April 25 draft. So they began working with the agents of top prospects Aaron Curry, Matthew Stafford and Jason Smith roughly a week ago, and even have a even struck a deal with Curry, who is the top linebacker prospect in the draft.

Read the rest of this entry »

Curry would take less money to play for Lions

In a recent interview with Pat Kirwan on NFL Sirius Radio, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry said he would take less money than 2008 No. 1 overall pick Jake Long if the Lions drafted with the top pick this year.

Aaron CurryHost Pat Kirwan: “If they came to you and said, ‘We want you, and here’s the deal we want to give you,’ would you do a deal with them to be the No. 1 player in the NFL draft? … Have you thought that through in a business sense with your agent?”

Curry: “Yeah, we have actually. If they were to approach us with a deal and it is feasible, my plan is to be in camp, on time, and having fun.”

Kirwan: “Would you do a pre-draft deal to be the Detroit Lions’ No. 1 pick in the NFL draft?”
Curry: “I sure would. I sure would. No doubt about it.”

Host Tim Ryan: “What if the deal was under Jake Long’s deal from last year?”
Curry: “I’d be more than happy to accept that deal.”

Kirwan: “Can you see yourself in a Lions uniform? Can you really see that?”

Curry: “After my visit to Detroit, I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff and the management. And, you know, they made the new changes to the logo which I fell in love with. And they brought in Julian Peterson ., who I’ve always been a big fan of. I see myself in that uniform, and I could also see myself playing beside Ernie Sims and Julian Peterson.”

Anyone who thinks Curry is a distant third to Matthew Stafford and Jason Smith in the running to be the No. 1 pick is dreaming. If I’ve said it once in the months leading up to the draft, I’ve said it a million times: Curry is the best prospect in the draft, he fills an immediate need for Detroit and he would come significantly cheaper than Stafford and Smith. But what it all comes down to for the Lions is whether or not they are willing to pass on a franchise-type quarterback in Stafford and whether or not they want to sink a significant amount of money into a linebacker corps that already features Sims (a former top 10 pick) and Peterson.

Lions still planning on signing No. 1 pick before draft

The Detroit Lions fully plan on signing the No. 1 pick before the NFL draft kicks off on Saturday. Who that No. 1 pick will be is the question.

Martin MayhewGeneral manager Martin Mayhew said today the Lions are “moving forward on getting something done” and there is a “very good” chance they will sign the No. 1 overall pick before the NFL draft starts Saturday.

“That was our plan,” Mayhew said at his pre-draft news conference. “We talked about that back at the Combine. That’s very important, and we plan on getting something done prior to making that selection.”

Mayhew said the list of candidates has “narrowed down pretty dramatically.” But he declined to name the candidates or discuss specifics.

The Lions have been talking to the agents for Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, Baylor left tackle Jason Smith and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

Negotiations are more complex this year because of new rules relating to the last year of the salary cap. The Lions started preliminary negotiations with candidates in March.

Mayhew said the Lions could agree to the parameters of a deal with multiple players, but ultimately, they would agree to a deal with one player. He said they would make an announcement shortly after agreeing to terms.

This is nothing new – the Lions have said all along that they wanted to sign the No. 1 pick before the draft. But what is getting ever more interesting is the fact that this pick remains as much of a financial decision as it does drafting the right player. And if this is a financial decision for the Lions, then Aaron Curry should be their pick.

Curry is the best prospect in the draft, he would be cheaper than Stafford or Smith and he fills a need for Detroit. The only drawback in taking him No. 1 (besides the massive need at quarterback), is the fact that the Lions already have a decent amount of money wrapped up in their linebacker corps already, with former top 10 pick Ernie Sims and newly acquired Julian Peterson on the roster. Plus, even though scouts believe he can play inside, would Curry’s best position be at middle linebacker? Because that’s where he would play for the Lions.

But again, if the Lions are really putting a lot of stock into the financial hit that they’re about to take then Curry should be their guy.

2009 NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

This is it – the week NFL draft nuts have been waiting for. Soon enough, prospects will know what cities they’re headed to and draft mock experts everywhere will look like idiots when less than half of their predictions are correct despite spending hours of time researching the picks.

I say it every year – the NFL draft is a crapshoot in terms of trying to make predictions. Nobody knows how high prospects are rated on draft boards around the league except the teams themselves. So while it’s fun to project who will go where, nobody has a clue – not Mike Mayock, not Mel Kiper and certainly not Anthony Stalter. (Did I just refer to myself in the third person? What a joke.)

The following is my third and final mock of the first round. In my previous two mocks, I had some fun by predicting potential trades that could play out, but I won’t do it here. I’m playing this mock “straight up” because predicting trades in the first round is harder to do than predicting what kind of mood Billy Bob Thornton will be in when he sits down to give an interview. Zing!

Some of you will inevitably feel as though that I have teams reaching with their picks. That’s fine, but realize that reaches are going to happen come Saturday because they’re just a part of the draft. If you disagree with any of my picks, go ahead and let me hear about it in the comments section. After all, the NFL draft is a spectacle and it’s supposed to be fun for fans. Enjoy all the action on Saturday and good luck to your favorite team on draft weekend.

(Click here to see Mock Draft Version 1.0 and Mock Draft Version 2.0)

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts