Martin Mayhew: I wish I took Aaron Donald when I was Lions G.M.

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Martin Mayhew is headed to Miami for Super Bowl LIV with the rest of the 49ers organization and it marks the vice president of player personnel’s first trip to the game since he went to Super Bowl XXVI as a Washington defensive back.

Many in Detroit hoped that Mayhew would have found a way to get the Lions to their first Super Bowl during his seven-plus years as the team’s General Manager. The Lions made it to the playoffs a couple of times between Mayhew’s hiring in 2008 and his dismissal in 2015, but they never won a game in the postseason.

One of the choices Mayhew made in that failed effort to build a winner came in 2014 when he selected tight end Eric Ebron with the 10th overall pick. Taylor Lewan and Odell Beckham were the next two picks, but it was the 13th overall selection who Mayhew wishes he took instead of Ebron.

“I wish I would have taken Aaron Donald,” Mayhew said, via the Detroit Free Press. “That’s no knock on Ebron. I wish I would have taken him. It’s not a decision that’s made in a vacuum. We talked about a lot of different scenarios, different situations. Man, I wish I had taken him.”

Plenty of Lions fans wish Mayhew did the same thing as they go on waiting for their team’s first chance to play in the NFL’s biggest game.

29 responses to “Martin Mayhew: I wish I took Aaron Donald when I was Lions G.M.

  1. Finally he admits it to the public. Donald will most likely be a HOFer and Ebron is a below average TE with junk hands not even close to being worthy of a first round selection and definitely not the 10tb pick. Ebron is a bum and mayhew is a bum. Mayhew has nothing to do with the 9ers being in the super bowl.

  2. John Lynch took a look at Aaron Donald too, and Donald was terrific early in his final season in college, but his play worsened as the season progressed. That may be why Lynch did not pick him. The 49ers suffered under Brian Hoyer and CJ Beathard, the 3rd round pick for Frisco in that draft, winning only 1 game and losing 10, but Lynch made up for it by trading for Jimmy G. Jimmy G. is much better than Aaron Donald. Jimmy G. took a team that was 1-10 and won 5 games in a row to end the season. He scored on 62% of his drives, compared to a league average of 35% and the 49er average of 29% under Hoyer and Beathard. Even the New England Patriots only scored on 51% on their drives with Tom Brady. Not only that, but Jimmy G. threw for 1562 yards and averaged about 300 yards per game passing, while completing over 67% of his passes. Little wonder Lynch extended Jimmy G. after the season and gave him a big contract. Little wonder Jed York was hugely disappointed in 2018 when Jimmy G. hurt his knee in the Kansas City game.

  3. The Lions fans wish they would have taken a different GM, Coach, and Owner. This is true to the present day.

  4. Long Time Lions fan here. Part of the reason the Lions didn’t take Donald is because they didn’t want to anger Suh during negotiations. The Lions had Suh and Fairley already on the inside. The Lions blew it as Suh had no intention of ever staying in Detroit. His sister was bad mouthing the city left and right on social media at the time.

    Everyone agrees, should have taken Donald. When you pick that high you go for generational talent, not position need. Hope the Lions don’t make the same mistake this year at #3 but faith in Quinn is low.

  5. He drafted other generational talents that produced nothing substantial …I think he’s afforded a pass on this one.

  6. At least he wasn’t part of the decision to hire Patricia. The team was 9-7 before Patricia got there and 9-22-1 since he arrived.

    His biggest priorities seem to be that reporters sit up straight and show him some respect. Winning is not a priority.

    Fans should be ready to burn down the stadium after they traded a 26 year old team captain and starting safety Quandre Diggs and a 7th for a 5th rnd pick.

    Diggs put in a great year for Seattle while Patricia’s defense finished 31st in the league on their way to 3 wins this year.

  7. Its not that complicated to be a GM…….look what SF did, they built around their Def and Off lines….then build from there…..SF is ramming is down people’s throats with the run and telling them to try and stop them…..if they get that established in the SB they don’t have to worry about the KC offense beating them as they wont be on the field for large parts of the game….I am taking the Niners in this one.

  8. The Lion’s problem with picking offense, especially tight ends, is the pressure of a bad o line and thinking another “weapon” will improve Matt Stafford, but it never does.

    The philosophy of choosing the “biggest talent” on the board has not worked for them either.

  9. Oh, and plus, the Lion’s often can’t make talent work for them anyway. All kinds of players who have success elsewhere couldn’t or probably couldn’t have the same success with the Lions for all kinds of reasons from coaching to not wanting to play for the Lions.

  10. No team should be taking a tight end in the first round and sadly the Lions have drafted 3 of them in the last 10 years. Two of them weren’t good, Hockenson may turn out to be good but not good enough to justify a top 10 pick.

  11. The Giants telegraphed their picks under Reese. Everyone and their mother knew he wanted Ebron. I wanted Zack Martin or Lewan as did many other die hard fans. OBJ pick surprised me (I would have been happy with Evans) but I was MAD when Ebron was taken. Jags, Browns and Rams had way worse picks ahead of you. And while Watkins is good he was a bust for Buffalo.

    Get in line with 8 other GMs. In a redraft Donald or Mack goes first overall. 20/20 and all that.

  12. Nobody wants to admit it but oftentimes people making those pick decisions fall in love with certain players and damn the consequences, they’re going to take “their” guy no matter what or what anybody else says. It’s only later… in hindsight… that they realize their mistake.

  13. One guy doesn’t always make those big decisions without input from the coaches, and I remember some coaches didn’t like Donald because he was too small to fit their scheme. I see some GM’s out there shaking their heads yes.

  14. There’s no reason to wish the end of Donald’s career by getting drafted by the Lions!

  15. Why do GMs answer questions like this. No matter the response, they inevitably get criticized for it.

    The correct answer should be, “We didn’t have the benefit of hindsight and can’t predict the future, so we made a choice using the best available information. There are going to be some errors when drafting players, but overall, you aim to come out ahead more than behind.” That’s it, period.

  16. Literally EVERYONE knew that Suh was leaving the Lions at the end of the 2014 season, so for Mayhew to draft a TE at #10 instead of the obvious heir apparent and best DT in the 2014 draft was proof positive that the man was unfit to be a GM.

  17. oDell with the Lions would look like Odell with the Browns. For the Lions, they might as well just have Golladay and Jones and Amendola. A good enough crew. If Brady has that and Hockenson, they go deep into the playoffs.

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