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Tom Lewand wants more production from Lions draft picks

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The Lions and defensive end Cliff Avril could be headed for a parting of the ways next month, an indication of how hard it can be to keep all your veteran starters on a team in our current football age.

Surviving those departures and continuing to be a successful team requires a constant influx of young, cheap talent via the draft. The Lions have had a few hits in the last three years, but their recent drafts have been studded with far too many choices that have failed to meet expectations. Lions president Tom Lewand said that has to be different for this year’s draft class and that some of the holdovers from previous years need to take on larger roles as well.

“When you talk about building a team through the draft, those draft choices have to continue to develop as players,” Lewand said, via the team’s website. “We’ve seen some of that … and we certainly need to see more and more as we move forward both with last year’s class, the 2011 class and this year’s class. Rookies come in and contribute right away in this league and this year will be no exception.”

The reasons for disappointment have ranged from injuries (Jahvid Best, Bill Bentley, Ryan Broyles, Mikel Leshoure) and bad behavior (Nick Fairly, Titus Young, Leshoure) to on-field struggles (Amari Spievey, Leshoure). Even Ndamukong Suh’s first three years have been a bit less than the Lions probably hoped for when they selected him with the second overall pick in 2010. That doesn’t look great for General Manager Martin Mayhew’s ability to select talent or coach Jim Schwartz’s ability to manage and develop it.

Drafting players like Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew and Avril helped the Lions go from 0-16 to 10-6 over three years. They’ll need similar success to right the ship after a 4-12 season in 2012 or someone else is going to be doing the picking in Detroit.

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14 Responses to “Tom Lewand wants more production from Lions draft picks”
  1. kcjacob7 says: Feb 17, 2013 12:49 PM

    Mayhew’s draft record with the Lions would be enough to get him fired by any other team. He has another 4-5 years under Mr. Ford Sr. though. Very frustrating.

  2. buffalobills716 says: Feb 17, 2013 12:50 PM

    They should be happy they made the play off due to Suh

  3. kattykathy says: Feb 17, 2013 12:58 PM

    The talent IS there. The problem is Mayhew and Schwartz either are unable to identify character flaws, or they are ignoring the signs.

    Talented players, but their actions, immaturity, and selfishness will prevent them from ever reaching their full potential

  4. mrscrotsmcgoats says: Feb 17, 2013 1:22 PM

    Headline should have icluded: “and free agents, waiver claims, coaches and front office. Basically need more production from everyone not named Megatron”

  5. johnnycash19 says: Feb 17, 2013 1:34 PM

    Anyone else find it funny that he mentioned Pettigrew as one of the better draft picks that helped the Lions get to the playoffs yet he said Suh has underperformed?

    What have you been watching?

  6. souldogdave says: Feb 17, 2013 1:57 PM

    Well, coaching comes into play here. Obviously Schwartz is no Harbaugh, but can’t he at least keep them in line?

  7. dapell says: Feb 17, 2013 2:53 PM

    Maybe he shouldn’t have promoted Martin Mayhew, a guy who produced almost no tangible results during his extremely short 8yr rise through the Lions organization, to GM. It’s cronyism at it’s finest.

    Lions insiders have hinted that during the Millen era Mayhew was Lewand’s inside source on the football operations side of things. In the final couple years of the far-too-long Millen era Mayhew was feeding Lewand info, and Lewand was in Ford’s ear that he needed to fire Millen and let him run the team.

    Check out Mayhew’s Wikipedia page. The guy graduated law school in 2008 with no actual experience doing anything running a football organization. He was just a former player with a law degree. By 2008 he was the GM of the Lions. During that time the Lions had the worst 8-yr stretch of any football team ever, but Mayhew was repeatedly given jobs of more and more authority and responsibility. Anyone with common sense would look at that and realize that Mayhew was part of the problem.

    As a Lions fan it embarrasses me that the Ford family is so incompetent when it comes to managing their team. BTW, Lewand’s claim to fame and the reason the Ford family loves him is he oversaw the construction of Ford Field. An admirable job, but not the kind of qualifications that would make someone think he should be running the team.

  8. dapell says: Feb 17, 2013 2:56 PM

    I wish this site had edit. Mayhew graduated in 2000. Promoted in 2008.

  9. butkusditka says: Feb 17, 2013 3:10 PM

    They can win if u can keep em outta jail! Hahaha! (da bears)

  10. hkemp99 says: Feb 17, 2013 3:39 PM

    And in related news, I want more production from the Lions front office.

  11. purpleguy says: Feb 17, 2013 4:52 PM

    Based on their lousy production out of 2nd round draft picks, maybe they should just trade out of that round in future years.

  12. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 17, 2013 5:33 PM

    Everything starts with the players you acquire to build a team. We struggle every year in the draft from a strategy standpoint, and missing an opportunity to capitalize on value moves each and every year is a tremendous amount of leverage to sacrifice.

    Once we can learn the art of maneuvering in the draft to acquire the highest yield players for the lowest cost with little to no inefficiency, then we can play serious ball and contend for championships.

    Everything starts at the top and the GM has to learn a better way to put the team in a proper position with regard to the choices that are his responsibility to make. He hasn’t come close to developing a logical plan yet in any year he has been with the team. We keep doing the same thing each and every year and it’s never going to work!

  13. lks311 says: Feb 17, 2013 5:57 PM

    I think Lewand is saying (as a proxy of Ford Jr.) both the GM and Coach are on the clock.

  14. fuzzytaint says: Feb 18, 2013 7:54 AM

    So after all the millen years and the so-called revamping of the gm’s office in 09, NOW you think it’s time for your day 3 picks to matter?

    This team has it’s head so far up it’s backside it’s funny.Almost if you’re a lion fan.

    You folks who aren’t lion fans should see how all the Lion brass strut around like a gang of king kongs, with each being the smartest guy in any room.Starts from the owner who enables a bunch of wanna be’s to behave that way.

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