The NFL released the 2011 NFL Draft order for all seven rounds, including compensatory selections.
As released by the NFL today:
“The order reflects the resolution of Detroit’s appeal of discipline related to tampering charges filed by Kansas City. Detroit will retain its seventh round pick in 2011 (obtained from Denver), which is the second pick of the seventh round, and will instead forfeit a selection in next year’s draft.”
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Today the Detroit Lions hosted draft prospect Mikel Leshoure.
The 6-0, 230 pound running back out of Illinois enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the Lions’ coaching and front office staff, noting that they made him feel welcomed in what has been a sometimes overwhelming experience.
Leshoure: “This whole experience, starting from the combine, has been a lot. Some of the process has been a little overwhelming, but for the most part it has been a dream come true. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of since I was a little boy and to finally be living my dream is very exciting.”
After a productive junior season in 2010 at Illinois, breaking the single-season school record with 1,697 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, Leshoure opted to declare for the draft and is confident that he has plenty to offer an NFL offense.
Leshoure: “I think I can bring versatility and leadership to an offense, especially for my position. I feel like I can run in between the tackles, but I can also run outside of the tackles and hit the perimeters at times to make guys miss.
“I think the thing that sets me apart from the other running backs is my ability to catch the ball. Whether it’s swing routes, or five- 10-yard routes, or even downfield, I’m very confident with my hands.”
If Leshoure were given the opportunity to come to Detroit, he’d be thrilled to play alongside second-year RB Jahvid Best, who he’s watched throughout college.
Leshoure: “I definitely know the way he plays. He’s a real flashy, fast guy; he makes guys miss and I definitely think I could be a compliment to him and his style.”
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Today’s visiting draft prospects included Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray and Missouri DE Aldon Smith.
With Detroit being the first visit for Murray, he felt the whole process went well, especially meeting with running backs coach Sam Gash, who Murray says he can easily envision playing for in the future.
Murray on his impressions of the coaching staff: “Each meeting that I’ve had so far, I thought, went really well. Coach Gash is a great guy, definitely seems like someone I could play for and someone that can relate to his players. He’s done it first hand, he’s been a part of it and knows and understands what it means to be a running back and a fullback.”
While Murray feels he’d be a good compliment to Lions’ RB Jahvid Best in the backfield, he’s also confident that he would add value on special teams with his elusiveness and speed.
Murray on his skill set: “I’m someone that can not only run the ball, but also catch the ball out of the backfield, line up at the receiver spot anywhere, pick up blitzes and do well on special teams – wherever they put me I’ll excel and help the team out.”
Detroit marks the second visit for Smith, who especially enjoyed getting the opportunity to sit down with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.
Smith: “I definitely like coach Kris Kocurek, our meeting went well and I would love to play out here. He showed me how the d-line attacks everything and I really like their style.”
Smith expressed a genuine interest towards the Lions’ defensive system and feels it would be a perfect fit.
Smith on the Lions’ defensive system: “I think I could get out and unleash everything. As far as everyone hustling to the ball, we watched a lot of cut-ups (of Lions’ film) and oh man, they get after it. Everybody gets after it and you can see why they got 40 sacks, the way that everyone just runs to the ball regardless of how much you weigh, everybody gets to the ball.”
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From the NFL Labor BLOG:
Offensive lineman Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins is the latest player to demonstrate that collective bargaining by the players’ union has worked well for the players, whose compensation has doubled in the past decade.
“We kicked their butts in the last negotiation so we’re not going to settle,” said Incognito, who has played seven seasons with Buffalo, Miami and St. Louis, in an ESPN.com story posted Tuesday. “This is our livelihood and as players we’re united. We’re sticking together 100 percent.”
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The Detroit Lions are committed to being involved in the community, but it’s not just the players, coaches and front office staff who do their part to make a difference.
Lions’ wives such as Suzanne Lewand (wife of team president Tom Lewand), Sabrina Mayhew (wife of general manager Martin Mayhew), Kathy Schwartz (wife of coach Jim Schwartz) and Sharon Bellamy (wife of athletic trainer Al Bellamy) have been working with 13 teenage girls at the Detroit Lions Academy as part of a nutrition program.
The women meet twice a month at the academy, an alternative middle school partially funded by the Lions, and offer the girls ways to improve their overall self-esteem, as well as their health, offering a self-defense class, yoga and instruction on healthier food choices.
“The ladies, when they come they know they’re going to be dealt challenges; they’re always so pleasant and the girls are always looking forward to seeing them,” said Cheryl White, Detroit Lions Academy principal. “The more exposure they have to real world activities, that will inspire them to be better.”
For more on the wives involvement with the Detroit Lions Academy, please visit the Oakland Press website:
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NFL Owners Meetings began today in New Orleans, giving Head Coach Jim Schwartz and Team President Tom Lewand an opportunity to talk about the team and where it is headed.
Currently, Schwartz and the front office are in the midst of hosting visits from draft prospects. Last week, Detroitlions.com confirmed the visits of CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska), DE Cameron Jordan (UCLA), LB Bruce Carter (North Carolina), C Mike Pouncey (Florida), DE Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh) and WR Torrey Smith (Maryland).
Said Schwartz of the player visits, “A lot of guys we have to check where their physicals are, that’s really the No. 1 reason we’re bringing (them) in.”
Player visits are all part of the overall picture that also includes: “What they do in game tape in the fall, what they do at the combine, what they do at the all-star game, what their pre-draft physicals look like, their interviews at the combine, our discussions with the players going forward (and) their personal workout days,” said Schwartz.
Despite not having players in the building, the coaching staff is still busy with draft preparation.
“Coaches are always going to find ways to fill their time and it just puts more emphasis on our draft preparation,” said Schwartz.
As draft preparation continues, free agency remains on hold.
How the team is approaching that, said Lewand, is to be ready for any scenario that may arise.
Lewand: “We’re as ready as we can be for every contingency that we can foresee at this point. We’ve been planning that way for a long time now. I think whatever the rules dictate, we’ll be ready to go; whatever those are, we’ll adjust. Consistent with our philosophy to have a plan based on whatever rules are in place, and in formulating that plan, be ready for as many different possible outcomes, as many different possible permutations of the rules as we can and then be ready to go.”
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Maryland WR Torrey Smith visited the Detroit Lions Practice and Training Facility Friday, marking the first visit for the draft prospect.
Smith on his overall first impressions: “The first thing that I noticed was the city. I’ve never been to Detroit before, it’s a gorgeous city. The training facility is definitely top of the line, everything is great from the meeting rooms to the practice fields.
“I’ve had an opportunity to talk to everyone from the head coach, special teams coordinator, to the receivers coach and they all seem like great guys and all focus on one goal: winning. I feel like they want the best people to get it done.”
After redshirting as a freshman, Smith played for three years as both a receiver and kick returner at the University of Maryland, finishing as one of the top all-purpose players in the nation during his final two seasons.
Smith had the option to stay and play for another year, but felt that he was ready to take his game to the next level and opted to declare for the NFL Draft.
Smith: “I could have come back for another year, but I had a good season and all of my coaches supported my decision. They kind of told me to leave, so I felt it was the right thing to do.”
Smith believes that his skill set would mesh well with the Lions’ receiving corps which already has high-caliber players like Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson.
Smith: “I think that I use my speed to my advantage to help inside on the offense a little more. I think I can help out on special teams as a returner or a gunner, whatever they need me to do. I just want to come in here and help out in anyway I can. They really have some top-notch guys here.”
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Today’s visiting draft prospects included Florida C Mike Pouncey and Pittsburgh DE Greg Romeus.
Pouncey has received a significant amount of attention relating to his twin brother, Maurkice, who is the starting C for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Said Pouncey of his brother, “We’re fierce competitors, obviously. Everything he accomplished I want to do the same thing and even better. I know I’m a great player and I’m just hoping to be one of the top guys taken this year.”
The brothers went to Florida together, with Maurkice entering the NFL Draft one year before Mike. With the absence of Maurkice, Mike moved to center after playing guard for the previous three seasons.
His hope is to be drafted as a center.
Pouncey on his first college game at center: “I knew all the line calls, it was just tough after the first game. I went out and had a bad game. I felt like crap. I told myself when I left the locker room I’d never play like that again. Since that game I had a great season.”
As for his impressions of Detroit, Pouncey says he had a good visit.
Pouncey: “I loved the facilities, it’s a nice town and I just love the whole visit, meeting with the coaching staff and everyone.”
Romeus was a three-year starter at Pittsburgh before he suffered a torn ACL and sat out the majority of the 2010 season. He had 19 career sacks with the Panthers and considers himself a tough player who likes to get to the quarterback.
Romeus: “The Lions’ defense is much different compared to other defenses that I’ve seen. It works. I love the way their scheme is presented with the way they’re playing and just the hustling that they have on the field. It would be a great fit for me.”
Romeus played just one season of high school football, but considers his lack of time playing the game a strength rather than a weakness.
“I don’t have too many bad habits and my body is still fresh,” he said. “I think it helps me – I’ll be able to soak up the new things that I learn.”
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North Carolina LB Bruce Carter visited the Detroit Lions Practice & Training Facility Wednesday, meeting with the coaching and administration staffs.
Carter: “I think everything went really well. They have great facilities, coaches are great. The Lions are a team that’s on the rise, so they’ve got everything going for them. I feel like it would be a great fit for me, but it’s not up to me to decide.”
One of the primary reasons Carter says he would like to go to Detroit is the stout defensive line, which – as a linebacker – would free him up to make plays.
He is also looking to bring his field goal-blocking ability to whichever team elects to draft him. Carter had five blocked kicks as a senior in 2010.
Carter: “I just think it’s something you’ve got to have a knack for. Some people say it’s luck, but I feel like it’s hard work. I’m hoping that every team that I do visit – including the Lions – see that it’s something I do well and it’s something I can add to any organization that I do go to.”
As an outside linebacker, Carter could compliment middle linebacker DeAndre Levy, who will enter his third NFL season this fall.
Said Carter of his time with the Lions’ coaches: “They said I was a great player (and) I’ve got my head on straight – good character. All the good stuff. I feel like it was an awesome visit. I really enjoyed myself.”
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Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara and Cal DE Cameron Jordan visited the Detroit Lions’ Practice and Training Facility Wednesday – it was the first visit for both players.
Something else Amukamara and Jordan have in common is what they would gain through playing in Detroit. After the additions of Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh and veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams, the Lions showed they were establishing themselves as one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL.
Though one is a corner and the other a defensive end, both players would have much to gain if they became part of the Detroit defense.
Amukamara on playing with the Lions’ defense: “As a DB, I should be licking my chops to go out there. I played with Suh at Nebraska and he made the games and life a lot easier for me.”
In fact, Amukamara had his best year when Suh was in the running for the Heisman Trophy as a senior, coming down with five interceptions and forcing one fumble. No doubt something he would like to ressurect in Detroit.
Amukamara: “Just with the whole line, they’re able to get to the quarterback so quick. The ball has to come out quick, which would take a lot of pressure off me.”
While Amukamara would benefit playing behind the Lions’ line, Jordan would benefit playing on it.
Jordan: “From what I’ve seen, it looks like an amazing group. Just from their perspective of attacking, true attacking, and reacting to the run.”
At 6-4 and 287 pounds, Jordan could play defensive end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 system (he was a 3-4 defensive end at Cal).
During his visit in Allen Park, Lions’ coaches watched film with Jordan and discussed how he could fit into Detroit’s 4-3 system.
Jordan: “I think I could most definitely without a doubt in my mind. I could see myself in a 4-3, whether it’s in an end spot or a tackle spot. It doesn’t matter.”
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