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Talented But Underachieving??

Much has been made about Lions GM Martin Mayhew’s draft strategy. That is only a small part of the problem. I preface this by saying that I said prior to the season starting that Lions fans shouldn’t get their hopes up and not to expect a particularly great season. A good bit of my reservation with this year’s team stemmed from Lions draft prowess, or in this case lack of it. Having said that, let’s get right to the root of the problem. The Ford family has absolutely done a horrendous job of hiring personnel. By keeping Mayhew when Millen was fired was an enormous mistake. They have managed to turn the Millen nightmare into a mini-series. One of the biggest issues with Millen and his staff was talent evaluation. I’m just wondering who the genius was that thought it would be a great idea to bring in the 2nd in command of that regime. What is really crazy is that for all the talk of the Best Player Available strategy, the idea wouldn’t be a bad one…..IF THEY ACTUALLY TOOK THE BEST PLAYER!!! If you go back and look at the recent drafts, locate the inept Lions player, oops I mean the player the Lions drafted and scan the list of players taken soon afterwards. It’s pretty nauseating.

I will go back to last year’s draft. Why in the world would you draft Ryan Broyles? There was nothing about that kid that said playmaker. Mayhew’s explanation was “he caught a lot of balls”. So did Miguel Cabrera but that doesn’t mean I want him to play wide receiver. No disrespect to Ryan Broyles, but that might have been the dumbest Lions draft pick in recent memory (and for the Lions, that is saying quite a bit). Now Broyles has problems with his other knee. So not only do you have the wasted pick, you have the salary and you are stuck with an injured player who wasn’t explosive before he got to Detroit and unless he pulls an Adrian Peterson will be even less explosive. Drafting Broyles would have been fine in the 4th or 5th round, but the second??? Even though I didn’t have a giant problem with Reiff in the first round, he couldn’t get on the field. He was the 23rd pick in the draft. There were 6 starters or impact players drafted after Reiff in the first round alone! These players all played positions of need for the Lions. For those keeping score, there are only 32 picks in the first round. This is unbelievable. I’m guessing Doug Martin would have found a way to contribute this year for the Lions. To be fair though, hindsight is 20/20 but this is still terrible.

Jim Schwartz has his own shortcomings but it is the GM’s job to provide talent. I am amazed at how often people refer to the Lions as a “talented club that underachieves”. I saw plays where Calvin Johnson had 4 guys guarding him. Obviously this shows Calvin a great deal of respect but it also says that your other receivers are so bad that there is next to no chance of them making a play. It also says that if your running back has a big play, it will be for about 12 yards. Compare the Lions players by position group to the other teams in the league and they are in the bottom third of the league at nearly every position. That is almost impossible for a team that has consistently drafted high in the draft. Sadly, this is the grim reality for Lions fans. The only way I believe that Mayhew should have kept his job would be to fire every person in the scouting department, including the Fed-Ex guy. But there is hope on the horizon as Mayhew has just resigned Ashlee Palmer to an extension!!  This movie has gone on for long enough. At this point, the only movie Lions fans should be  interested in is “Gone With The Wind” starring Martin Mayhew.

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One Response to “Talented But Underachieving??”

  1. Steve Martin says:


    If I had read this article before today, I would have dug a ditch and defended anything you said, even if I didn’t particularly agree. Well, almost. That was an exceptional article and one that could never get printed in DTW. Or did it?

    I was actually writing you to let you know that your defense of MMay, of late, especially regarding how boxed the lions are by the cap and there 1,2,and 3 most expensive players in the league, seems to be vindicated by this draft. Maybe I have had too many cups of WCF’s kool aid, it’s been 50 years of sipping, but Mayhew seems to actually have matured in his actions THIS year. When the tackles came off 1,2,3 the die was cast for make or break with Mayhew. If he hadn’t done his home work and it appears he has to me, the lions crash and burn under the weight of 50 years of totally inept management. I think you and I agree on this one. But the way Mayhew let the picks come to him by position smacks of serious maturity. I wonder if Ozzie Newsome, or some other outsider is behind the lines attempting to keep the Ford Family from the melt down of epic proportions. Remember FOMOCO is maybe the biggest sponsor of the NFL, Ford tough. Nothing would surprise me but this draft by the Lions is something I don’t recognize. When you like the 3rd pick better than the rest and I hope you are right, they may have found a player in every round. I hope Mayhew has grown into the job and I hope there is no one behind the scenes to assist but like I said, I don’t recognize how through and professional Lions appear. After they lost the T’s I like the risk/reward of taking Ziggy. Lions DT’s better come out strong and if they do, Ziggy will be just fine. If you think LB’s are better than advertised and now lots of depth in the D backfield, something Schwartz has never had, the D looks like it could be stronger than the O. Hillard isn’t a bad tackle, Fox will also play, If the number 3 turns out to be a sleeper, at a minimum the lions O line will be better than last year and should run the ball much better. So I was going to turn myself in let you know I think you got it really right and at least through this draft Mayhew deserves so credit and so do you. Just hope you are right about the guard. All the best,
    Steve Mardigian

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