Found April 18, 2014 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Four years ago, the Detroit Lions drafted six players. Only one -- defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the No. 2 pick overall -- remains on the team. Three years ago, the Lions drafted five players. Two of them -- defensive tackle Nick Fairley, the 13th pick overall, and running back Mikel Leshoure, a second-rounder -- are still Lions. The team's current lack of depth is clearly a byproduct, at least in part, of that failure to add more quality players during those two drafts. They didn't have a full complement of picks either time because of trades, including one that acquired starting cornerback Chris Houston. Nevertheless, coming up with just three players who are still around a few years later out of 11 selections, including five in the first two rounds, was a definite setback for the organization. Daniel Jeremiah, who used to be a NFL scout and is now an analyst for the NFL Network, said that when he was with the Baltimore Ravens, this was how they measured their drafts: "If three years down the line, three of the players we picked in that draft were solid starters we weren't looking to replace, we viewed that as a successful draft," he said. With that as the guideline, let's review Martin Mayhew's first five drafts as the Lions' general manger: 2009 SOLID STARTERS: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall), tight end Brandon Pettigrew (No. 20 overall) and linebacker DeAndre Levy (third round). OTHERS OF NOTE: Safety Louis Delmas (second round) was a starter for five years, but the Lions released him a couple months ago and he signed with Miami. Defensive tackle Sammie Hill (fourth round) was a contributor for four years, mostly in a reserve role, before leaving a year ago as a free agent. Linebacker Zack Follett (seventh round) became a fan favorite as a special-teams player but suffered a neck injury and gave up football. Receiver Derrick Williams (third round), who was released a year ago by the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, was a complete flop based on how high he was drafted. SUCCESSFUL DRAFT? Yes, largely because of Levy's emergence last season as one of the league's top linebackers. 2010 SOLID STARTERS: Suh, but he could become an unrestricted free agent after this season if he doesn't sign a contract extension. OTHERS OF NOTE: Running back Jahvid Best (No. 30 overall) gave the Lions a major weapon with his speed, but a brain injury forced him out of the game for the last 2 ½ seasons. Safety Amari Spievey (third round) also suffered from concussions and got cut last August. Offensive tackle Jason Fox (fourth round) was constantly hampered by injuries, didn't get re-signed when he became an unrestricted free agent this off-season and is now with Miami. Defensive end Willie Young (seventh) went from late-round pick to starting 15 games last season, but he wasn't a top priority to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent and left for division rival Chicago. SUCCESSFUL DRAFT? No. 2011 SOLID STARTERS: Fairley, but the Lions have questions about his consistency and motivation. They chose not to pick up his option year in 2015 and could be looking to replace him after another season. OTHERS OF NOTE: Receiver Titus Young (second round) was a major disappointment and is now out of football following a series of emotional problems. Running Mikel Leshoure (second round) is still a Lion but his role remains in question with Joique Bell's return. Linebacker Doug Hogue (fifth round) is now in the CFL. SUCCESSFUL DRAFT? No. 2012 SOLID STARTERS: Offensive tackle Riley Reiff (No. 23 overall). OTHERS OF NOTE: Receiver Ryan Broyles (second round) is trying to come back from a major injury for the third straight year, this time a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Cornerback Bill Bentley (third round) should be considered at least a part-time starter because he fills the nickel-back role. Defensive end Ronnell Lewis (fourth round), released during training camp last year, was a total bust as a mid-round pick. The only way the Lions might salvage this draft is if cornerback Chris Greenwood (fifth round), who has been slowed by injuries, develops into a full-time starter. His size (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) and athleticism still make him intriguing at that position. SUCCESSFUL DRAFT? Not yet. 2013 SOLID STARTERS: Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (BYU), offensive guard Larry Warford (third round) and punter Sam Martin (fifth round). OTHERS OF NOTE: Don't write off cornerback Darius Slay (second round) despite a shaky rookie year. We'll know much more after this coming season. Defensive end Devin Taylor (fourth round) appears to have some upside. Running back Theo Riddick (Notre Dame) has enough versatility to contribute, mostly on special teams. Tight end Michael Williams (seventh round) and receiver Corey Fuller (sixth round) are still question marks. Williams missed last season because of a broken arm, and Fuller spent the year on practice squad, trying to add much-needed strength. SUCCESSFUL DRAFT? Yes. The bottom line: Based on Jeremiah's formula, the Lions totally missed on two of Mayhew's first five drafts. Two others should be considered successful while the 2012 class deserves a little more time to evaulate fairly, but it's not looking favorable at this point. This year's draft -- the Lions have the No. 10 pick overall -- begins on May 8.
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