Millen weighs on the radio As I've said previously, Matt Millen has been making the rounds to talk about the draft. He was on the Stoney and Wojo Show on Sports Radio 1130 Detroit, as well as the ESPN Radio Mike and Mike Show. Below are what I consider his most interesting, non-repetitive answers to some questions.
Will the three first round WRs be on the field together 65-70 percent of the time? "I don't know what the percentage will be, but it will be high. I'll tell you this it'll be more as the season goes on, because there's going to be a learning curve. We can't forget that. I think Steve mentioned it yesterday by saying Mike Williams would start off behind the other two guys. That's logical. He's got a lot of stuff to learn. But that being said, yeah, I would like to see a three-receiver set a lot. You'll see Mike Williams and Charles and Roy on the field at the same time a bunch."
Too much offense in a league where defense wins championships: "That adage comes from a time -- and it's still applicable -- but that adage, the genesis was back in a time when it was the black and blue division, and you pounded the football in a three-yards and a cloud of dust kind of football. This football has changed, our game has evolved. This is a passing league. I've said this a bunch of times, but the National Football League in 2005 is the film industry's version of Back to the Future. What we've become is the old AFL. You're just throwing the ball all over the place. If this is going to be a passing league, and we're tightening up the rules on the other side where you can only get a jam within five yards, and you have to get away, you can't even carry through the jam -- then you have to throw the football. If they want you to throw it, we're going to throw it."
On whether this is an assault on dropped balls: "Oh boy I hope it is. Absolutely it is. I think we dropped 54 balls, or something, last year. I think we were second in the league. Of those 54, six of them were touchdowns. In the hands touchdowns. Who knows what that means? I don't know if that means we would've won any more games, or, who knows? Yeah, I agree with you. That's got to be a point of emphasis, in fact, it's already started around here."
Orlovsky -- how much of a project is he, really? "He'll get his shot, obviously. He'll get his shot all through training camp. Like I mentioned, and you said, he's a project. How much of a project? We could press him into playing. The things he needs to work on are mechanical, and coachable. I believe we'll be able to rectify them. The same things can be said for Adrian McPherson. Is McPherson a better athlete? Yeah, I thought he was a better athlete. But there are other things, and there are more to playing quarterback than just pure athleticism. We had all the arguments, and we had everybody who wanted to express an opinion, express their opinion. We came to our grade on that board after a lot of work. On that board, Orlovsky was where he was, and McPherson was where he was. I chose Orlavsky because that's what we believed would be best for us?"
On Ernest Shazor, is there somethign we're not getting? "No. I didn't get it either. To be honest with you, we sat in our room and said the same thing. Now there'll be some question as to where you're going to play him. Some are seeing him as a linebacker, others are seeing him as a safety. The kid was productive, he was tough, he's a good tackler. We sat in our room, and said 'Do we go do this now?' And, he just kept on dropping. We didn't have the picks at the end. We didn't do that, and we have a full quiver of safeties and backers. It's going to work out fine for Ernest, he's a good football player."
Mike and Mike Show on ESPN Radio: "But as far as linebackers, we don't have a glaring need for linebacker. Derrick Johnson would've been a good solid pick for us also. There's no great need. Boss Bailey is doing great. Our linebackers are set. I'm not worried about adding another 'backer. If we would've done that, with James Davis on the outside, Teddy Lehman on the inside, Earl Holmes still on the inside, we have enough bodies in there. So it would've kind of been the same thing -- it would've been crowded, but hey, you deal with it. You look at the defensive line, I could've used a safety... There are a lot of ways to help your defense, adding to the offense doesn't hurt."
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National reaction to the Lions' draft This is a reflection on the Lions' draft from the national perspective. If I missed any articles, click here and email a link to me. What's everyone saying about the Mike Williams pick? The first reaction was extremely negative, and it was from Pete Prisco of CBS SportsLine. The headline on the piece is "Lions lay an egg in drafting another receiver".
If the Lions had not used the second overall pick on receiver Charles Rogers in 2003 and the seventh overall on Roy Williams last year, this wouldn't be such a questionable move. Rogers has had some injury concerns, missing time in each of the first two seasons, and maybe the injury issue is worse than the Lions are leading on. But on the surface this seems like a horrible move. ... Let's assume Rogers is healthy, and all three players can take the field at the same time. Sure, it will make it tough for the defense to handle, but since when did the Lions become a spread-it-and-throw-it team. Plus, they used a first-round pick on running back Kevin Jones last year, a player who showed star potential last season.
In his first round grades, Prisco gives the Lions a D and offers this explanation:
What in the heck is this team doing? Unless this team has a deal worked out for Williams with another team, why would they draft him? This is a luxury. Not a need. They have Charles Rogers. They have Roy Williams. Both were high first-round picks. And although there is some injury concerns with those two, no team can afford three high first-round picks at one position. This is a terrible move, no matter what kind of player Williams can be.
And after all that reactionary negativity, Prisco hands out his draft grades, and the Lions are above average.
Best pick: A defense in need of help up front got some in the second round when Shaun Cody of Southern California went to the Lions. He will make an impact as a rookie.
Questionable move: Why in the heck they took Mike Williams 10th overall after taking receivers in the top 10 the past two drafts is a mystery. Defense should have been the priority here.
Steal: Bill Swancutt, the sixth-round pick, will push for a roster spot this year and then next year he'll be pushing for time at defensive end.
Overall grade: B- I didn't like the Williams pick, but they rallied some with the rest of their draft.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated has the Lions at the top of his "Ten Things I Think I Think" column this week. It's not good. Avert your eyes.
1. I think I have a great deal of respect for Matt Millen and Steve Mariucci, but taking wideout Mike Williams in the first round was a crazy pick for the Lions. You simply don't take a wide receiver first overall three straight years. I don't care if Charles Rogers is an injury risk coming off two broken collarbone injuries. Mike Williams is not a good pick for the long-term future of this franchise. A team that allowed 22 points per game and a 61.3 percent average completion percentage by opponents last year could, and should, have used the pick for the best front-seven player on the board. This is a team that has used the second, seventh and 10th picks, respectively on wideouts in each of the last three years, bypassing, among others, Terrell Suggs in 2003, Dunta Robinson in 2004 and the best two outside rushers in the draft this year, Demarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. And for the record, there have been six drafts this century. Detroit has used its first-round pick in every one on an offensive player -- Stockar McDougle, Jeff Backus, Joey Harrington, Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams.
Our buddy Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News gives the Lions a C for their 2005 draft. By the way, he had Orlovsky as the 11th rated QB. Here's his reasoning.
Detroit: The Lions have now drafted a wide receiver in the top 10 in each of the last three drafts. If Joey Harrington can't find someone open this season, he'll never find the open receiver. If he can't, maybe Dan Orlovsky can.
John Clayton of ESPN.com also writes of how teams are looking to either create mismatches with their draft picks, or neutralize mismatches. He uses the Jaguars' drafting of Matt Jones and the Lions' drafting of Williams as his examples.
The strategy is the same for Williams in Detroit. Outsiders thought the Lions were crazy for using their third consecutive first selection overall at wide receiver. Having Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams on the same team might be considered overkill. Maybe it will be. However, since they didn't find a challenger to cornerback Fernando Bryant, who struggled during his first season, the Lions were tempted by the damage Mike Williams can cause as an inside receiver.
"He's going to give you a mismatch against most corners even if they're on him," Lions offensive coordinator Ted Tollner told reporters. "He's going to have the body presence to make a play. He can be covered and still be uncovered because of his body presence and he's a very aggressive player at the ball. When the ball goes up, he will go make a play on it. You've seen some of the highlights -- he'll be covered and he comes down with the football."
John Czarnecki of FOXsports.com rated the Lions the No. 3 loser of the draft. He even takes a nice jab at Charles Rogers by simply suggesting off-the-field problems. How many non-Lions fans are going to read that and think Rogers is a thug? Nice job Czarnecki. Here's his reasoning.
3. Detroit: USC WR Mike Williams isn't known as a hard worker and there must be off-the-field problems with former No. 1 pick Charles Rogers for the Lions to be making a move with the receiver for the third consecutive year.
Second-round pick Shaun Cody of USC was off a lot of teams' draft boards because of medical concerns. Third-round pick CB Stanley Wilson picked up the nickname "Toast" in college while Connecticut QB Dan Orlovsky was a reach. Sixth-round DE Jonathan Goddard was a heckuva player at Marshall, but at 6-feet, 220 pounds where do you play this defensive end in the NFL?
Brian DeLucia of Ourlads.com gives his highlights and lowlights of the sixth round to FOXsports.com, and in it he doesn't like the Lions' choice of Goddard.
Most Questionable Pick Detroit Lions ? Marshall defensive end Jonathan Goddard is coming off a huge year as a pass rusher, but doesn't project very well as a pro. He hustles, but has limited size and pass rush skills. He's nowhere close to Dwight Freeney in terms of quickness off the ball.
I guess you could say that Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com disagrees with DeLucia. he really likes the Lions' final two draft picks.
Bang for the buck: ...In the fifth round, safety Donte Nicholson of Oklahoma to Tampa Bay (No. 5). Oregon State defensive end Bill Swancutt (No. 10) to Detroit and Marshall linebacker/defensive end Jonathan Goodard (No. 32), also to the Lions, in the sixth round.
Paul Attner (uh... who?) of The Sporting News defends the Lions' choice of Williams, saying you don't go against your scouting department in times like these.
Until the Jaguars selected former Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones with the 21st pick, the most puzzling decision in the first hours involved receiver Mike Williams going to the Lions on the 10th choice. Detroit now has taken receivers with three consecutive No. 1 selections, which seems extreme overkill considering their other needs. Yet the Lions followed the oldest drafting principle going -- follow the board and don't be lured by need.
Williams was the best player left on their board. To ignore him and concentrate on defense would negate months of preparation and decision-making. Besides, a team can never have enough playmakers.
The Sporting News also chooses Shaun Cody as one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Steal: Shaun Cody, DE, Lions (2nd, No. 37). It was a shock when the Eagles passed on Cody and selected Mike Patterson, Cody's undersized and less heralded linemate at Southern California. The versatile Cody will play right away in the Lions' line rotation and will be a longtime starter.
Dan Pompeii of TSN gives the Lions a B+ for the draft.
Detroit Lions: B+ -- They got good value throughout the draft. They could live to regret passing Derrick Johnson and Shawne Merriman. Best pick: defensive end Bill Swancutt in the sixth round.
MSNBC gives the Lions a solid B grade for the draft, and has this to say about their choices:
DETROIT - The Lions were looking all along at three defensive players to take with the first pick, but when USC wide receiver Mike Williams slid to them at No. 10 they grabbed him, believing his addition to what they already have could make the offense explosive. After that it was all defense and two solid picks in USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody and Stanford corner Stanley Wilson. The latter has good pedigree. His father was the former Bengals fullback who lost a battle with crack the night of the Super Bowl some 20 years ago.
NFL.com has a fantastic "Draft Analyzer" page on its site for every team. They list the picks, as well as analysis by their experts. It's a great page, check it out by clicking here. Here's what Pat Kirwans says:
Mike Williams, whether he stays on in Detroit or not, is a player that I believe will score the most TDs out of all rookies. He scored more TDs than Braylon Edwards in two years. He has good speed and great hands and will be impossible to cover in the red zone.
Shaun Cody should have been a first-round pick because he can play defensive end, play defensive tackle in a 3-4, and will absolutely make an impact for the Lions. Anyone who blocks five field goals in college deserves to be a starter. He is a 295-pound guy who is capable of five to seven sacks his rookie year. He got hurt and fell this far because he ran a sluggish 5.0-flat 40-yard dash after not running at the combine. Detroit trades up, and that should say it all.
Stanley Wilson The son of former NFL player Stanley Wilson, he is a mature, smart player who can get on the field as a dime DB as a rookie and a nickel CB as a second-year player and will work his way in the lineup after that. Has not always played up to his workout speed.
Bill Swancutt Might have had the most sacks in college football in this draft [He did.]. He had 38 sacks over his career. He runs a 5.0 flat, but he's got pass rush skills. If you go by the numbers, you won't like him. But if you go by the film, you're seeing a guy who can get to the quarterback at the college level. The Lions did good with this pick.
Here's what Gil Brandt has to say in his analysis:
Dan Orlovsky This is a tall quarterback that a lot of people thought had a shot at being taken in Round 2. He didn't have as good a year in 2004 as he did in 2003, but he has some athletic ability and has a strong arm.
Jonathan Goddard This is an undersized DE that is a great, great pass rusher. Can you play with a 6-foot defensive end? I think you can. They'll probably try to make him a linebacker.
Here is Pro Football Weekly's immediate reaction after the Lions drafted Williams. This was when people were still anticipating them using him as trade bait.
What Mike Williams lacks in speed, some teams believe can be made up for with size, hands and athleticism. Because he lacks game-breaking speed, he is a good fit in this offense. Head coach Steve Mariucci uses a quick, short, high-percentage passing game that won?t force Mike Williams to run many deep routes.
We won't violate ESPN.com's ability to make money by reprinting what they say in their pay section, ESPN Insider, but we will give you the gist on what they think:
From a fantasy perspective, Mike Williams can be a superstar. He'll score often in the redzone. They also have a line "When Jeff Garcia takes the starting job..." Nice confidence in Joey.
I've seen a number of Williams comparisons to Keyshawn Johnson (which I completely agree with), but their expert "Horton" says he'd hate to be a corner in the NFC North. He also says the Lions are developing a great WR for someone else, because they won't be able to keep all three when they come up as free agents.
Randy Mueller, former Saints GM, says Mike Williams is a perfect fit for the West Coast offense, and even says he's built like T.O. (Personally, I think Roy Williams is more T.O.-ish.) Mueller says Williams' large body will be difficult to deal with when he boxes out on slants or end-zone fades.
In their "Scouts' take" they say that Williams was "clearly" the best player available. They credit his hands, body control, jumping ability, power to break tackles, and says Detroit just got richer in the receiver department.
Mel Kiper Jr says the Lions got good value, and that questions about Williams' speed are overblown. He says Williams ran faster than Mark Clayton and Braylon Edwards in workouts.
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Millen interview with FOX 2 Since the draft has ended Matt Millen has shown up on the Ford Lions Report on CBS 62 Detroit, as well as FOX 2 Detroit talking about teams pulling the rug out from underneath him in regards to trading up. He was also on Sports Radio 1130 Detroit on Monday. Here's a forum recount of the interview he did with Fox's Dan Miller, by forumite foorp (aka proof).
foorp: Per Millen's interview with Dan Miller... ..he said they had a deal to trade up with another team, to draft a defensive player, but at the last minute the team pulled the rug out from under them, and proceeded to draft the player the Lions were targeting with that spot. My money is on Cleveland's pick at 34 with which they took Brodney Pool.
I'm with Proof, it's obvious it was Brodney Pool. I, too, saw the interview and Millen said a deal was "99 percent" completed, but at the last second they simply changed their mind and took the player the Lions were targeting.
On Sunday, Killer weighs into the forum and clears this up. He says it was, indeed, Pool.
TomKowalski: there were two guys the lions wanted at the top of the second round -- and would be willing to trade up and get .. the first was safety brodney pool and the lions thought they had a deal done to get him ... the deal fell through (don't know why yet) ... after that happened, the lions wanted to make sure they didn't lose their second target -- shaun cody -- and moved up to get him ...
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Junior calls WXYT out of the blue Yesterday Bill Ford Jr. called into Lions' flagship station AM 1270 The Sports Station out of the blue to give his reaction to the Lions draft. Longtime forum regular DamnYankee20 took notes and posted them on the forum. I present them to you here in case you missed it on the air or in the forum.
DamnYankee20 Bill Ford Jr's comments...
Each year, Millen has gained respect around the league...
has had a big learning curve
says he was the one to campaign for Millen in the beginning because Millen was football smart
thought the draft last year was great
this year's prep was great and draft was good
Kozier for 7th rounder to Niners was a smart move for Lions and an example why he likes Millen
says it'll take 2 years to find out how these picks pan out
talked before draft about Mike Williams and if he fell; Bill Jr stated he wouldn't hesistate in a second in taking him. He & Millen had talked thru what would happen if Williams dropped to the Lions...
says he gets frustrated as a fan too, but public hasn't seen it like Art Regner so people see it
says we have 7 #1 draft picks on offense and doubts there's another offense in the league like it and now's time to step up
he's been frustrated like Art Regner but the public doesn't hear his frustrations like they do Art Regner's
he says he's suffered like we have the last few years and now we're younger and faster and clearly headed in the right direction. We're younger and faster on both sides of the ball and he has high expectations of this team...
he says Matt's taken alot of heat in this town and some of it deservedly so, but there's a learning curve there and states he had same learning curve as CEO with Ford. He states Matt has total control of the Lions and likes the direction
he is amazed at how many people in the league call Matt for his opinion on player evaluation. He says guys are calling him all the time.
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right....
April 27th, 2005, 10:36 am
Pro Bowl Player
Joined: April 19th, 2005, 2:10 pm Posts: 2478 Location: Michigan
good post.. thankx for sharing
April 28th, 2005, 12:35 pm
Joined: January 26th, 2005, 9:34 pm Posts: 10716 Location: Sycamore, IL
Wow...I want to go to sleep after I just read that. That was looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Good read.
April 28th, 2005, 1:39 pm
Millen Draft Pick - Epic Bust
Joined: September 9th, 2004, 12:13 pm Posts: 717 Location: Woodbridge, Virginia
Good work Wags.
April 28th, 2005, 2:01 pm
ST Coordinator – John Bonamego
Joined: March 22nd, 2005, 8:42 pm Posts: 3811
I do not see why Williams cannot replicate what he did in college in terms of his red zone proficiency. To really help the Lions he had to become a third down machine like his mentor Carter. I love the fact he is training with coach Carter, because he was one tough player and their skill sets do match up well. If he just masters 60% of Carter's savvy, he will be a very important cog of our offense.
_________________ Far and away from the sound and the fury. . .