The 2010 NFL Draft was seen as a big one for the young Detroit Lions, who had a solid 2009 draft led by new GM Martin Mayhew and finally have promising players in place heading into this year’s season.
Detroit Lions draft grades are being submitted by multiple sites and they are mostly positive this year, but NFL Draft recaps have been kind to the Lions in the past decade with few results to show for that praise after draft day.
For the purposes of this NFL Draft grades recap, we’ll examine whether the Lions did the right thing by taking Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh with the second pick and also trading up to take Jahvid Best with the Vikings.
Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
For their first move of the night, the Detroit Lions did the smart thing, staying pat and surprising no one with the number two pick by taking Suh out of Nebraska.
Suh was one of the most dominating DTs in college football in about a decade and is considered a can’t-miss pick by most draft insiders. He gives coach Jim Schwartz the type of strong, athletic, non-stop defensive line that he has coveted since he left the Tennessee Titans, and now the Lions have strengthened a single area of a defense that was one of the worst in the league with Suh, Corey Williams, and Kyle Vanden Bosch.
That’s a start for a defense that has been bad for a long time because pressure and stopping the run from the front four can make up for a lot of problems in the back seven.
Suh can both rush the passer and stop the run, and he’s a high character guy who recently gave more than $2 million to Nebraska after leaving the college.
He is also capable of those big-time explosion plays that stop an offense dead in its tracks and create what are essentially turnovers, and the Lions don’t have many guys capable of doing that on the defensive side of the ball, making Suh a great draft pick.
The other Detroit Lions draft pick on day one was much more of a surprise, as the Lions traded into the first round from their 2nd pick in the 2nd round slot with the Minnesota Vikings to take running back Jahvid Best out of California.
For the right to move up into the first round, the Lions swapped fourth-round picks with the Vikings and gave them their second-round pick as well as their 7th according to the Detroit Free press.
Best earns the Lions a NFL Draft grade of A- for the day in my draft recap because they desperately needed a big-play running back to complement their other backs and to open up space for Matthew Stafford and especially Calvin Johnson on the outside at wide receiver.
Now, the Lions have mismatches all over the field and they can dictate the way their opponents play on defense.
That’s why they deserve a positive draft grade for day one: they’ve become the hunter and not the hunted both on the field and off the field.
Best is a big-play threat who averaged 8.1 yards per carry two years ago and is a touchdown machine despite his small stature; a mix between Chris Johnson and Brian westbrook if healthy and put in the right position to succeed in the Detroit Lions’ offense next season.
The trade was risky and some say it was too much to give up but the Lions have improved their team tremendously with both picks and they needed playmakers much more than they needed depth. Depth was an issue in the past but it isn’t as big of a deal now that they have begun to replenish their overall team talent.
The A- draft grade could rise or fall depending on how the Lions draft on day two and day three, but so far it’s been a productive and promising off-season for one of the worst franchises in the NFL and a turnaround could finally be underway in the Motor City.