2017 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 12
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NFL Picks - Feb. 7
2016 NBA Mock Draft - Feb. 2
Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 15
2012 NFL Offseason Pages
More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:
DAL / NYG / PHI / WAS /
CHI / DET / GB / MIN /
ATL / CAR / NO / TB /
ARZ / SEA / SF / STL /
BUF / MIA / NE / NYJ /
BAL / CIN / CLE / PIT /
HOU / IND / JAX / TEN /
DEN / KC / OAK / SD /
Divisional Rival History:
Chicago Bears: The teams split in 2011. Chicago had won 10 of 12 before that.
Green Bay Packers: The Packers have won 20 of the last 23 meetings. Detroit beat Green Bay at home in 2010, but Aaron Rodgers missed half the game.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings had somehow won 21 of the past 24 meetings prior to 2011. Detroit swept Minnesota this year.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
- 2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
- Detailed season preview
- Fantasy football projections
- Positional rankings
- Daily updates on free-agent signings
2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon
2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
- Sean Jones, SS, Buccaneers. Age: 30. -- Signed with Lions
- Jacob Lacey (RFA), CB, Colts. Age: 25. -- Signed with Lions (1 year)
Detroit Lions Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Lions (5 years)
The Lions committed Grand Theft Linebacker when they signed Stephen Tulloch to a 1-year, $3.25 million deal this past offseason. They won't be able to get him so cheap this time. Tulloch is one of the top players at his position.
Cliff Avril, DE, Lions. Age: 26.
Franchised by Lions
Though Cliff Avril is a liability in run support, he happens to be a dynamic pass-rusher in a pass-happy league, so he's due for a huge contract. He had 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2011.
Sammie Lee Hill (RFA), NT, Lions. Age: 25.
Re-signed with Lions (1 year, $1.26 million)
Sammie Hill is a young, skilled run-stuffer who offers decent pass-rushing ability for someone his size (6-4, 330).
DeAndre Levy (RFA), ILB, Lions. Age: 25.
I guess we know that DeAndre Levy's true position is at inside linebacker because he struggled at the weakside spot this past season.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions. Age: 25.
Signed with Lions (1 year)
There's no denying that Kevin Smith is really talented, but he's way too injury-prone and unreliable. He's lucky to make it through each week.
Jeff Backus, OT, Lions. Age: 34.
Re-signed with Lions (2 years)
Jeff Backus is a good at run blocking, but he was guilty of 11 penalties and seven sacks this past season. He turns 35 in September, so he obviously doesn't have much left in the tank.
Shaun Hill, QB, Lions. Age: 32.
Re-signed with Lions (2 years)
Shaun Hill has proven himself as one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
- Bobby Carpenter, OLB, Lions. Age: 29. -- Signed with Patriots
- Chris Harris, S, Lions. Age: 30.
- Drew Stanton, QB, Lions. Age: 28. -- Signed with Jets (1 year)
- Eric Wright, CB, Lions. Age: 27. -- Signed with Buccaneers (5 years, $37.5 million) WTF!?
- Ashlee Palmer (RFA), OLB, Lions. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year)
- Maurice Morris, RB, Lions. Age: 32.
- Andre Fluellen, DT, Lions. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year)
- Corey Hilliard (RFA), OT, Lions. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year, $1.26 million)
- Brandon McDonald, CB, Lions. Age: 27.
- Isaiah Ekejiuba, OLB, Lions. Age: 30.
- Erik Coleman, S, Lions. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year)
- Leonard Davis, G, Lions. Age: 33.
- Maurice Stovall, WR, Lions. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Lions
- Rashied Davis, WR, Lions. Age: 33.
- Will Heller, TE, Lions. Age: 31. -- Re-signed with Lions
- Jerome Harrison, RB, Lions. Age: 29.
2012 NFL Draft Grade: A
Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft:
The Lions believe in drafting the best player available. If they were to focus on certain positions, however, they would undoubtedly fix their atrocious secondary. If you watched New Orleans score at will against Detroit in the playoffs, you know why this area needs to be addressed. Meanwhile, a franchise left tackle is something that has eluded the Lions for years.
2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments:
I've been saying for years that the Lions had to find a blind-side protector for Matthew Stafford. Well, they finally were able to do just that while sticking with their "best player available" strategy. Riley Reiff, once considered a top-10 prospect, was a major steal at No. 23. He shouldn't have gotten past the teens.
The Lions, as usual, did a great job of adding talent to their roster. The secondary was addressed with Dwight Bentley and Chris Greenwood, both of whom were good values where they were chosen. Two linebackers, Ronnell Lewis and Travis Lewis, were steals. Ryan Broyles, meanwhile, didn't fill a need, but he should be a dynamic weapon for Ser Stafford.
Detroit once again walked away from Draft Weekend as one of the big winners. Martin Mayhew has done a phenomenal job of completely turning this franchise around.
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
23. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: A+ Grade
History repeats itself. Two years ago, Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga was a top-10 prospect who dropped to the 20s. That pick worked out really well, and I'll be shocked if the Lions don't have similar success with Riley Reiff. Detroit really needed a tackle to protect Matthew Stafford, and Reiff was the best player on the board. Great move.
54. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: B Grade
Hmm... maybe the Vikings should have drafted Morris Claiborne after all. This is crazy. If Ryan Broyles pans out, how are teams going to stop their offense? Broyles, if healthy, should be a good player for Matthew Stafford, who will need someone to throw to once Calvin Johnson suffers from the Madden Curse. I have to wonder though, why not improve the defense? I feel like there were better prospects available, but I don't have a problem with this selection.
85. Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette: A Grade
The Lions do what they do most of the time - they select the best player available. Dwight Bentley could have possibly been selected at the very end of Round 2, so Detroit is getting really good value with him. He obviously fills a need as well; it's been well-documented how anemic the Lions' secondary is.
125. Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma: A+ Grade
I'm not sure how the hell Ronnell Lewis fell into Round 4 (let alone Round 3). The Lions are getting a major steal. They don't need a linebacker in terms of a starter, but Lewis is way too good to pass up at this juncture.
138. Tahir Whitehead, DE/OLB, Temple: D Grade
I thought the Lions took the best player available? Tahir Whitehead was a seventh-round prospect. I also don't see how he fits into Detroit's defense. He should have been drafted by a team to be a 3-4 rush linebacker.
148. Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion: B Grade
No surprise that the Lions selected a second cornerback. They really needed help at the position. Chris Greenwood has good upside and fits the range in the middle of Round 5.
196. Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State: C Grade
Detroit really wants to fix the cornerback position. I don't think many people had Jonte Green as a draftable prospect, however.
223. Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma: A+ Grade
Another Oklahoma linebacker. Another steal. Another A+. This new Lions regime knows how to draft. The only question is, why didn't they fire Matt Millen sooner?
Finally. Lion fans endured a decade of horrible players, Matt Millen madness and zero postseason appearances, but at long last, their team finally reached the playoffs. Just getting there won't be enough next year, however. Detroit will be expected to contend for the Super Bowl.
Lions sign SS Sean Jones
Lions re-sign DT Sammie Lee Hill
Lions re-sign OT Corey Hilliard
Patriots sign OLB Bobby Carpenter
Lions re-sign RB Kevin Smith
Lions sign DE Everette Brown
Lions re-sign TE Will Heller
Lions re-sign ILB Stephen Tulloch
Lions re-sign OLB Ashlee Palmer
Lions re-sign DT Andre Fluellen
Lions sign CB Jacob Lacey
Lions re-sign OT Jeff Backus
Lions re-sign QB Shaun Hill
Lions re-sign S Erik Coleman
Buccaneers sign CB Eric Wright
Lions cut TE Will Heller
Lions franchise DE Cliff Avril
- Left Tackle: The Lions have avoided upgrading the left tackle position for years, but they'll finally be forced into it because Jeff Backus is a free agent. Detroit doesn't draft for need whatsoever, so don't expect the front office to pull the trigger on Zebrie Sanders this April unless they really love him. Drafted Riley Reiff; re-signed Jeff Backus
- Cornerback: Chris Houston is a solid starting corner, but the oft-torched Eric Wright is a free agent. The Lions needed an upgrade anyway, and I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to grab Alfonzo Dennard if he drops down to them this April. Drafted Dwight Bentley; signed Jacob Lacey
- Strong Safety: Amari Spievey was brutal all year, and he saved his worst performance for the postseason loss at New Orleans. Detroit will have to find a solution via free agency because this draft class is weak at the safety position. Signed Sean Jones
- Defensive End: Cliff Avril is going to command a ton of money this offseason. If the Lions let him walk, they'll have to find another potent pass-rusher somewhere. Someone like Vinny Curry would make sense in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Franchised Cliff Avril; signed Everette Brown
- Center: The center position is one of three areas that needs to be upgraded up front. Dominic Raiola isn't any good, and he just turned 33 in December.
- Linebacker: If Detroit doesn't retain free agent Stephen Tulloch, it'll need to acquire a capable replacement at either inside or weakside linebacker, depending on where it wants to use DeAndre Levy. Re-signed Stephen Tulloch; drafted Ronnell Lewis
- Right Tackle: Gosder Cherilus isn't terrible, but he can definitely be upgraded. The Lions have too many areas to fix, however, so they may give him another year at the right tackle slot.
- Running Back Depth: It's almost a certainty that Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith will get hurt next year. Mikel Leshoure is coming off a torn Achilles. The Lions will have to add insurance in the middle rounds. Re-signed Kevin Smith
- Backup Quarterback: The Lions will need a reliable backup quarterback if Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton depart. Re-signed Shaun Hill
- Punter: Ryan Donahue did a poor job as a rookie this past season.
2012 Detroit Lions Analysis: The Lions have one of the most talented rosters in the league. They now have to play up to that talent level. They must avoid stupid penalties and mistakes that resulted in losses last year. They also have to stop getting into legal trouble. If they can do all that, and if Calvin Johnson can elude the dreaded Madden Curse, there's no telling how far this team can go.
Projection: 11-5 (Tied 2nd in NFC North)
2012 Fantasy Football Rankings
More 2012 NFL Season Previews
*** 2012 NFL DRAFT GRADES, OFFSEASON NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***