Every year the NFL draft happens, it gives true NFL fans a chance to escape from their non-football lives. It also makes a lot of fans discuss what or who their favorite team should get. It’s funny that all of them are apparently “experts.”
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not an “expert.” I’m strictly a fan that loves watching football and all of the glamour that comes with it. I’ve been watching pretty intently and follow both college and pro for the past 6-7 years. It’s become my nature to see the little things and follow players that I like.
Of all the years I’ve watched football, I’ve kind of developed a theory in the NFL. To be a successful NFL team you have to do three things. You must have a franchise quarterback, be able to protect that franchise quarterback, and you must be able to get to the opposing team’s quarterback. These three things have shown up in the major differences between the good teams and the bad teams.
If you don’t believe me, check out the teams that have been to or won the Super Bowl the last few years. The Packers struggled in 2009 because they couldn’t protect Aaron Rodgers. In 2010, they did a great job protecting him and they won the Super Bowl. The Steelers are always in the mix because believe it or not, they have a franchise quarterback and a great defense.
The Lions have done a great job in the Jim Schwartz era by addressing these needs. They drafted Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, both of which have had great impacts on the games they’ve played. Where they are lacking is protecting Stafford. Stafford has proven that he has the skills and talent to be successful in this league. What the Lions need to do is protect him. With the likes of Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Jared Allen all rushing at their franchise quarterback twice a year next year (barring an NFL lockout), the Lions need to address their offensive line if they want Stafford to see the age of 30.
Southern Cal’s Tyron Smith seems to be the perfect fit for the Detroit Lions. He’s a big, athletic tackle who can hold his own against the likes of the elite pass rushers. Now I know there has been talks of the L ions trading down in the draft, and I’m not against that – if Smith isn’t available at the 13th pick. But whether or not they trade down at 13 isn’t important. What is important is the fact they have to figure out a way to keep Matt Stafford on his feet because he’s a much better passer than when he’s laying on the ground.