Lions likely to stay put, but still undecided about selection

GM Martin Mayhew said on Thursday that it’s likely the Lions will stay put at No. 2 instead of trading down, but also insisted that the team is undecided about which player they’ll draft.

Detroit could go in a couple directions in round one, although the most likely scenario has them selecting either Ndamukong Suh or Russell Okung. The Lions have needs on both sides of the line, although they might be more inclined to take Okung seeing as how they want to protect their biggest investment in quarterback Matthew Stafford.

That said, I’m of the mindset that the Lions would be crazy to pass on Suh. That’s not to take anything away from Okung, who is a terrific prospect with a high upside. But in my opinion, Suh is the best prospect in this month’s draft and could be a potential difference-maker from day 1.

Teams selecting in the top 5 are always worried about matching the contract with the appropriate position. In other words, they’re more inclined to take a quarterback at No. 3 instead of a defensive tackle because they can justify handing a signal caller a huge contract as opposed to an interior defensive lineman.

But that line of thinking has always been befuddling to me. Teams shouldn’t draft players based on a contract, they should draft players based on fit and need. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz built one of the better defenses in the NFL while in Tennessee, one that was centered around defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Assuming the Rams take Sam Bradford at No. 1, Schwartz now has a similar opportunity in Detroit if the Lions take Suh. While paying a left tackle No. 2 money may be more justifiable, the Lions need to select the best player and forget about the dynamics of a contract.

And the best player is Suh.


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