There’s a perception that the Lions love receivers. They don’t, at least not as much as they used to.
According to Anwar Richardson of MLive.com, G.M. Martin Mayhew refuted the idea that the fumes of Matt Millen are still lingering in Detroit, even though Mayhew has drafted four receivers since getting the job in 2009.
“You know what’s interesting?” Mayhew said recently, via Richardson. “The past three drafts in a row, what have we drafted in the first round, the first pick? Lineman. When you talk about what people are projecting, and what people think we are going to draft this year, anybody saying lineman?”
Mayhew, who also has picked five defensive backs in four drafts, seemed to get a little testy on the topic while rattling off the investment he has made in defensive linemen.
“Two first-round picks,” Mayhew said. “One, 13th overall [Nick Fairley]; one, second overall [Ndamukong Suh]; $7 million defensive end, Kyle Vanden Bosch; $5 million defensive tackle, Corey Williams. Draft choices, Ronnell [Lewis], Willie [Young], Sammie [Hill]. What do I love? What do I really love? Franchised Cliff [Avril].”
With the Lions holding the fifth overall pick in the draft, maybe that’s a smokescreen aimed at making people think Mayhew will take another lineman.
But despite the picks devoted in the past decade to receivers, the effort has landed one of the best to ever play the game in Calvin Johnson, a size-and-speed combination whom the Raiders inexplicably left on the board six years ago. If Mayhew can add enough talented players around Johnson, maybe the Lions can do more than simply score a periodic one-and-done playoff appearance.