Team Profile: Detroit Lions

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Round Pick Overall
1 1 1
1 20 20
2 1 33
3 1 65
3 18 82
5 1 129
6 1 161
6 19 179
7 1 193

I'm going to start off my team profiles with the team with the #1 pick in the draft, the Detroit Lions.  First thing I want to do is look at all the draft picks the Lions have, and where they fall in the overall draft (table on right).

Thanks to Jerry Jones, the Lions have 5 picks in the first 82 overall, which is great news for the league's first 0-16 team.  They will be able to fill many of the holes they have, both offensively and defensively.  I asked Sean Yuille, head writer for Pride of Detroit, how happy he was with that trade.  He said:

I was ecstatic the day the trade was made and to this day wonder how the Cowboys could be so dumb.  I'll never understand the thinking behind giving up so much to bring in a #2 receiver (since TO is #1), especially since he did very little for them after being traded.  Not only was Williams' production lacking, but he wasn't going to be a player that sends them to the playoffs to begin with.  The trade was very strange, but I'm glad the Lions were on the positive side of one for a change.

I'd feel the same way if I were the Lions.  It was a great change, and should pay dividends right away in 2009.

I've combined rankings for the Lions based on game stats, and from Football Outsiders.  Here's how the Lions stacked up this season:

NFL.com Stats Record Rush Off. Pass Off. Scoring Off. Total Off. Rush Def. Pass Def. Scoring Def. Total Def.
0-16 30 24 27 30 32 27 32 32
Football Outsiders Total DVOA Rush Off. Pass Off. Offense DVOA Weight Off. DVOA Rush Def. Pass Def. Defense DVOA Weight Def. DVOA
32 30 28 20 29 32 32 31 31

My words really can't do any justice to how bad the Lions were this season, especially defensively.  Football Outsiders has been tracking DVOA since 1995, and the Lions ended up with the 2nd lowest Total DVOA ever, only beating out the 2005 49ers.  Defensively, however, they were dead last ever.  Here's what FO had to say:

On defense, however, they are on their own terrible, horrible planet. The Lions are the worst defense in DVOA history by more than seven percentage points. They are worst than any previous defense by almost eight percentage points, because in the end the second-worst defense of the DVOA era belongs to... this year's Denver Broncos.

The Lions seem to be in a little better shape on offense, if only because they have MegaTron, Calvin Johnson.  They finally got that WR pick right after 4 tries.  They also used their first round pick last year on Gosder Cherilus, who should be anchoring their OL for the next 10 years.

Finishing 0-16 brings on many changes in the front office and coaching staff, and for the most part I think they did a pretty good job (really? the Lions?) at selecting their new staff.  It started during the year when they (finally) fired Matt Millen, and promoted Martin Mayhew to GM.  He's already made a big splash by taking all those picks from the Cowboys.  They then hired Jim Schwartz, former Defensive Coordinator of the Titans, as their new head coach, which was also a very good choice.  He'll bring tougness and expertise to a team and defense who desparately need it.

They also hired former Ram Head Coach Scott Linehan to be the Offensive Coordinator, reuniting him with QB Daunte Culpepper.  Linehan was the OC when the Vikings were really good on offense back in 02-03, and Culpepper thrived under him.  Could he have his rebirth in 2009?  Will he even have the opportunity?  As for the Defensive Coordinator, they hired Gunther Cunningham, former DC of the Chiefs.  Another very good choice, as he was rumored to be a candidate for several other teams.

The Lions have many, many positions to improve on in 2009.  I'm going to lay out what I think they should do, with the help of Sean and the community at Pride of Detroit.  I promise to be better than Matt Millen!

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