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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post-Combine 7 round Detroit Lions 2013 Mock Draft

      The Detroit Lions head into the 2013 NFL draft holding the fifth overall pick. With holes on both the offense and defense, General Manager Martin Mayhew has work to do this off-season, now that the NFL Combine has eclipsed, cumulating at the draft.

Lions need secondary help this off-season, Milliner could be
that piece they target.
First Round: 5th Overall, Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama- The Lions first round selection was easily the hardest to project. Spending hours on film, stats, and reports, flipping back and forth from prospect to prospect. On Milliner, this pick seems a bit hypocritical. Mayhew likes his three young corners he drafted last season, and selecting a corner this high would suggest otherwise. 
      However, Milliner measured in at 6'0 201 lbs. at the combine, and capped it by running an official 4.37 40-yard dash. He has the size and speed the Lions our looking for, proving to many scouts the speed they questioned.  He looked timid in drills on Tuesday, didn't have the confidence in his hands, and looked stiff in the hips at times. This shouldn't detour the Lions from selecting him in a thin draft class, due to his torn labrum that will require surgery after the combine that he played through. 
     He had 6 interceptions at Alabama, including 2 in 2012, showing his great explosion on the ball. With Chris Houston's future in Detroit in jeopardy, Milliner would be a great addition to an under-performing secondary.

Other Possibilities: DE Bjoern Werner, LT Luke Joekel, DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, LT Eric Fisher.

Second Round: 36th Overall, Jonathon Cooper, OG, North Carolina- Cooper has been shooting up NFL draft boards, however, with the need for defensive talent and wide receivers late in the first round, he just may slip. 
Lions are looking for a replacement
for departed Stephen Peterman.
      An incredible athlete for his size, 6'2 311 lbs., he posted very solid number at the combine. Ran a 5.07 40-yard dash, 35 reps on the bench press and showed the quick feet with a 4.84 20-yard shuttle. Cooper has great bend, quickness, and arm extension to fend off defenders in pass protection. He has the quickness to get to the second level and wall off linebackers in the run game, using his power and quickness. After cutting Stephen Peterman, the Lions have an obvious need at guard. Rotoworld predicted the Lions would sign RG Andy Levitre in free agency, if that's the case this pick won't happen. However, I can't see the Lions spending big money out the gate on Levitre, and Cooper would be an immediate upgrade. The Lions will have options here in the second round, safety, defensive end, outside linebacker, running back, but getting a top notch guard can only help the Lions run game and negate the revolving door at right guard they've had for years.

Other Possibilities: S Matt Elam, OLB Manti Te'o, S Eric Reid, CB Desmond Trufant, RB Gio Bernard.

Thomas could be the safety to compliment
current Lion Louis Delmas.
Third Round 65th Overall Pick, Phillip Thomas, Fresno State, S- Phillip Thomas did nothing to cause him flying up or down draft boards Tuesday at the NFL Combine. He posted modest numbers of 4.65 40-yard dash, 14 reps in the bench press, 35.0 inch vertical jump and 122 inch broad jump on the day. Thomas  has everything you look for in a safety. He has great ball skills, leading the nation in interceptions with 8, and brings physicality in the run game with his hard-hitting style of play. He displays solid hips in coverage, breaks on the ball with force and was used as a blitzer frequently in college. At 6’1, he would add a great ball-hawking compliment to oft-injured safety Louis Delmas. The Lions head into this off-season with every intention of improving their secondary. Thomas will certainly add that.

Other Possibilities: DE Corey Lemonier, S Baccari Rambo, RB Kenjon Barner.

Fourth Round: The Lions traded their fourth round draft pick last year in an effort to trade up for the 138th pick in the fifth round and select Tahir Whitehead.

Williams is a home-run threat
the Lions are looking for.
Fifth Round: 130th Overall, Kerwyn Williams, Utah State, RB- Mayhew said his biggest mistake was believing Jahvid Best would come back for 2012, he won’t make that mistake again. The Lions will certainly add one scat back, either through free agency or the draft, and Williams seems the perfect fit. He had 1,512 yards on 6.9 ypc at Utah State in 2012, showing his big play ability with 8 rushing and 3 receptions of 50+ yard plays. Williams showed his incredible speed and explosion at the combine this weekend. He posted top 5 times in his position group showing off 4.48 40-yard dash and 4.15 20-yard shuttle showing the quickness and straight-line speed. Williams would add a much different dimension that the Lions lacked last season with big plays out of the backfield. Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure are already in place as the every down backs, Williams can come in and help in the return game and on third down situations. He is small for a running back, 5'8 195 lbs., but for what the Lions need out of him, he would be great value in the 5th round. 

Other Possibilities: OLB Jamie Collins, DE Ty Powell, OG Jeff Baca, CB Tyrann Mathieu

Mellette is a big receiver who the Lions
could mold into a compliment to Johnson.
Sixth Round: 161st Overall Pick, Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon- Mellette is a big bodied receiver, standing 6'2 and 217 lbs. He also showed the athleticism this week at the combine to go along with his body warding an NFL draft pick. Posting numbers of 4.54 40-yard dash, 4.41 20 yard shuttle and 9 reps on the bench press. Mellette displays plucking hands were he garnered 1,639 receiving yards in 2011, breaking the SoCon record held by Terrell Hudgins'. His route running needs refinement, but finding small school big bodied receivers who don't let the ball into their body's are hard to find. Mellette would have the chance to refine his skill-set behind Calvin Johnson.

Other Possibilities: CB Johnny Adams, WR Marlon Brown, DE David Bass.

Catapano is a diamond in the rough.
Seventh Round: 195th Overall Pick, DE Mike Catapano, Princetonto refine A non-combine invite, Catapano presents an intriguing prospect in the mold of what the Lions look for in defensive lineman. Catapano has an impressive body type, standing 6'4 with a very lean 275 pound frame. He was reported to have run a 4.65 40-yard dash (more like a 4.75 an electronic combine) in spring practices, and measuring an incredible 7-foot wingspan. In 2012, he posted a stat-line of 12 Sacks, 15.5 TFL and 3 FF, which led to him receiving the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
      He also, reportedly, is training MMA in preparation for his pro day. Mike Smith, who has trained great NFL defensive ends, had this to say on Catapano via his twitter account: "I've trained a lot of great Dl/LB/OLB, Mike Catapano wont take a backseat to anyone in this years draft! He will be special!"
      Catapano would be a great developmental addition to the Lions suddenly depleted defensive end rotation. He has some upside, as well as great work ethic and a high character player for the Lions to mold into a late round gem.

Other Possibilities: P Dylan Breeding, OG Travis Bond, WR Ace Sanders.

Note: The Lions may receive a 4th and 7th round compensatory pick by losing Drew Stanton and Eric Wright via free agency, according to "blogging the beast" who correctly guessed 26 of 32 compensatory picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cabby and Prince looking good to start the Spring

Cabrera & Fielder have become a formidable duo

Cabby working on fielding bunts
       Coming into this year, as well as last, one of the biggest question marks for the Tigers was third baseman Miguel Cabrera's shape. He answered those questions last year by being more than adequate at the third base position as he had a .966 fielding percentage in 154 games, with only committing 13 errors. Let's compare that to someone who was known for his defense, former Tiger Brandon Inge. In Inge's last full season at third base for the Tigers in 2010, he played in 144 games, committed 9 errors with a .977 fielding percentage. Four more errors and an 11 point difference in fielding percentage, in 10 more games mind you, than someone who was known for his defensive prowess. Not too bad for someone who was supposed to be a defensive liability, not an asset. And this spring, Cabby looks slimmer and in even better shape than last year. Oh, and not to mention he is the reigning AL MVP coming off of a Triple Crown year.
Prince waiting for a ground ball

     One thing that has always been an Achilles heel for Prince Fielder is his weight. Many critics say he could be a better defender and all around player if he slimmed down from his 275 lb frame. But statistics show that his weight has not be an issue as far as defense goes. In his entire career, Prince has not had less than a .988 fielding percentage or more than 17 errors, both coming in 2008 with Milwaukee. He is also a workhorse who plays day in and day out. In 7 full major league seasons, Fielder has not played in less than 152 games, that coming in 2006 with the Brew Crew. Bottom line, despite his weight, Prince is still a formidable defender and we all know what he can contribute offensively. Prince comes into 2013 looking sleek and trim and if he can post those defensive numbers with being “out of shape” and “overweight” I personally can't wait to see what he can do this season with a trimmer body. 

Cabby is looking slim this spring
      With both Cabby and Prince looking slimmer and more in shape than past years, along with the return of designated hitter Victor Martinez, pitching stars like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the emergence of the hard throwing rookie Bruce Rondon and the addition of veteran Torii Hunter, this team is a force to be concerned with not only in the AL Central, but as threats to get back to the World Series....and to win it this time. I can not wait for the season to start and for this team to suit up and play under the lights when it counts.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Le'Veon Bell left his mark at Michigan State

Le'Veon Bell left his mark on the Spartans program.

      It was September 3, 2010, Le'Veon Bell was preparing for his first college football game versus Western Michigan UniversityA two-star recruit out of Groveport Madison HS, Bell entered the season as the third-string Running Back behind Sophomore's Larry Caper and Edwin Baker. Baker and Caper became a formidable duo as freshman, combining for 205 carries and 895 yards and turning up expectations for the 2010 season. Bell had another script for the 2010 team.  Late in the 2nd quarter, Bell broke a 75-yd run capping a magical day finishing with 140 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns becoming the first Spartan freshman to run for 100 yards in his opening game.

      He finished his freshman year ranking second in carries with 107, yards with 605, and touchdowns with 8, while being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and being added mid-season to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. He showed a knack for getting the tough extra yards, a spin move that left defenders cleaning dirt out of their helmets and the awareness to pick up every blitz out of the back field kept him on the field to protect Kirk Cousins.

     Entering his Sophmore season, Bell and Baker where in-line to share carries and become best stable of backs at Michigan State since Javon Ringer and Jahuu Caulcrick. Racking up 948 yards on 182 carries, being named Honorable Mention All Big Ten,  and being named the Most Outstanding Underclassman Back on offense, Bell entered his Junior year as the undisputed lead back, following Bakers puzzling entrance into the NFL Draft, and on most experts Heisman Watch List. 

Bell hurles a Boise State defender.
      A team viewed as one dimensional with a first year quarterback, Bell put the Spartans on his back versus Boise State, posting an incredible 44 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

     Recording 350 carries, 1648 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season, He lead the Spartans too a bumpy 6-6 record, losing 5 games by four points or less. But that wasn't it. Bell saved his best for last, leading the Spartans to a come-from-behind victory in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. 

      In a game that featured 104 passing yards, 29 of those came on Bell's touchdown pass to Aaron Burbridge, Bell carried the Spartans with 32 carries for 145 yards and another score. He was their everything, due to Quarterbacks Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook never finding their rhythm. 

     Today we say thank you, and goodluck as Bell makes his way towards NFL dreams.