Johnson on his tour through New York: Madden cover, Letterman and the NFL Draft

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on April 30, 2012 – 1:56 pm

View more photos of Johnson's week in New York

“New York was crazy. The whole scene in Time Square – that was pretty amazing. They shut down one side of the street. They had the stage. The fans were deep – thousands of fans around there, they were making a lot of noise. It was a lot of fun. Once they made the pick I had to go change into my uniform, come back down to the stage that had turf on it and I did the actual cover photo shoot right there.

“I don’t know if they’re going to actually use one of those pictures – I hope not because I had my visor off.  We get to go through and pick which one we want, so I’ll make sure that I have my visor on. I have to have it on – it just doesn’t look right if I don’t.

“Once I did that, from that point on: busy, busy, busy. I had to do an appearance and then I only went out for about an hour because I started Wednesday at nine o clock – interview, interview, autograph signing, interview, interview, another autograph signing. Letterman, draft and then went out one more time.

Letterman was very cool. It was a lot of fun – a lot more fun than I thought. My Top 10 was advice for young athletes. Some things they had to take out last minute, so they revised the list right before, so I was nervous because I didn’t get to read over all of them before reading it live. I knew about half of them – like the first five I was good. The Kardashian one was funny.

“The other funny thing is: they told me to bring three suits – I had the suit on for Letterman and then I had to go to the draft. I was going to wear the same suit. But Letterman didn’t air until the next day, so they didn’t want me to have on the same suit for the draft on Thursday and then Letterman on Friday, so I had to change before going to the draft.

“Being at the draft was awesome. One, getting to go back to watch all the kids experience what I went through because I knew what I was. That was cool to see them go through that with their families. A lot of joyous moments there. I got to meet a bunch of the former players like Terrell Davis, chatted with Barry a couple times. I never really did that – sit down and talk to Barry. Chatted with him a couple times – it was great.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 19 Comments » report: Kellen Moore looking to sign with Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on April 28, 2012 – 9:52 pm

The wheeling and dealing doesn’t end when Mr. Irrelevant is announced.

After the draft is over, all 32 teams hit the phones and start vying for undrafted rookie free agents.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, one of those players set to sign with the Lions is Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.

Moore finished a terrific college career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history (50-3). He was very productive at Boise State (14,667 yards and 142 touchdowns), but stands only 6-foot-tall with an average arm.

The Lions need a third-string quarterback after Drew Stanton left in free agency. It seems Moore would have a great opportunity at making the Lions’ roster. Lions backup quarterback Shaun Hill has two years remaining on his contract and his future with the team is uncertain after that.

“There’s a lot of different layers to it,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said about the undrafted rookie free agent signing period. “You have signing bonuses and some guys you’re competing on money, some guys you’re not competing on money; sometimes you think you got a guy and then you find out 15 minutes later somebody beat you on an offer and things like that.

“It’s a lot like we talked about: having deals to move up in the draft and deals to move back and some of them come to fruition and some of them don’t. It’s all hands on deck; everybody’s going to be working hard to try to get guys under contract and not just get guys under contract, but get guys that have a chance to make our team.”

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 42 Comments »

Lions draft LB Travis Lewis in the seventh round

Posted by ttwentyman on April 28, 2012 – 6:08 pm

The Lions continued their run on players from Oklahoma by drafting linebacker Travis Lewis in the seventh round (No. 223 overall).

They took receiver Ryan Broyles in the second round and fellow linebacker Ronnell Lewis in the fourth.

Travis Lewis (6-2, 246) was tied for the team lead in tackles last year with 89. He has six tackles for loss and two sacks. He was a four-year starter at Oklahoma as an outside linebacker with 451 career tackles.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 7 Comments »

Lions select New Mexico State CB Jonte Green in sixth round

Posted by ttwentyman on April 28, 2012 – 5:08 pm

The Lions have added a third cornerback to their defense this draft with the selection of New Mexico State corner Jonte Green in the sixth round (196 overall) of the NFL Draft.

The Lions picked Bill Bentley (Louisiana Lafayette) in the third round and Chris Greenwood (Albion) in the fifth round.

Green (6-0, 186) is a physical corner, who recorded 64 tackles and defended 14 passes (one interception) in 12 games last season for New Mexico State.

The Lions brought him in as one of their 30 pre-draft visits and were hoping they could get him in the middle to later rounds of the draft.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »

Lions trade up again; this time to take CB Chris Greenwood of Albion

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on April 28, 2012 – 4:20 pm

The Detroit Lions traded up again, this time to take CB Chris Greenwood out of Albion College.

Greenwood attracted attention at the East-West Shrine game; General Manager Martin Mayhew says the 6-1, 193-pound cornerback’s measurables were “off the charts”.

“(He) is more of a developmental prospect but also a very good special teams guy who’s built that way and plays the game that way from what we’ve seen,” said Mayhew.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz also said it was Greenwood’s physical attributes that drew his attention immediately.

“When I first saw him, down at the East-West game, and you see right away that he has physical attributes, he can run quick, he’s got great length,” he said.

“That was a big step up in competition for him but we stayed with him through the process. He worked out at – I can’t remember if it was Michigan or Michigan State’s – I think it was Michigan’s pro day. He obviously didn’t look out of place there either. He looked good at the East-West game, he looked good at the pro day we brought him here. We looked at a lot of college film on him. We’ve got a good feel for him and think he is a good developmental corner.”

Posted in Blog | 7 Comments »

Lions trade up to get LB Tahir Whitehead out of Temple

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on April 28, 2012 – 2:18 pm

After trading back in the fourth round to take DE/LB Ronnell Lewis, the Lions traded up with the Vikings (giving up their fourth-round pick next year) to get LB Tahir Whitehead out of Temple. The Lions have also flopped seventh-round picks with the Vikings, moving from No. 219 to No. 223.

At 6-1 and 233 pounds, Whitehead is considered a solid linebacker and strong special teams player.

Watch Whitehead’s combine workout on

Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »

Lions take OLB Ronnell Lewis with the 125th-overall selection

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on April 28, 2012 – 1:34 pm

Detroit traded out of the 117th-overall pick to move down eight spots (125) and pick up a sixth-round (196) selection from the San Francisco 49ers.

With that fourth-round selection, the Lions selected DE/LB Ronnell Lewis out of Oklahoma.

Lewis, at 6-1 and 253 pounds, was projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but could also play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

Said Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops care of “Ronnell is one of (those) athletes that comes along somewhat infrequently. He is a great combination of size, speed and strength that will translate well to the NFL. As a defensive end, he was impressive as a speed rusher, but also overpowered blockers at time. It wasn’t unusual to see him up the field disrupting opposing offenses. He also was an outstanding special teams player, particularly on kickoff coverage. Ronnell is versatile and could have played one more year of college ball so his upside could be substantial.”

Remaining picks for the Lions:

Round 5, Pick 23 (158)
Round 6, Pick 26 (196)
Round 7, Pick 12 (219)
Round 7, Pick 23 (230)

Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell breaks down Lions’ first three picks

Posted by ttwentyman on April 28, 2012 – 12:32 pm

NFL Films senior producer and executive producer of “NFL Matchup” Greg Cosell, who’s been at NFL Films since 1984, watches as much game tape on draft prospects as most NFL teams do.

I asked Cosell to give his opinion on the Lions’ first three picks – Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles and Louisiana Lafayette cornerback Bill Bentley.

Here’s what he had to say:

On Reiff:

“I suspect there’s been a lot of talk in Detroit about Riley Reiff vs. David DeCastro. I think Reiff is the better pick. This is a passing team. Reiff is a pass protector and DeCastro is a run blocker. Reiff is a good pick for this team. He can play right tackle immediately, I personally think he can transition to left tackle down the road.”

On Broyles:

“I love Ryan Broyles on film. Absolutely love him. What I don’t do is give prospects grades, as far as rounds. I transition guys to the league based on what I see on film and I think this is where the Lions are thinking longer term. Nate Burleson is getting up there in years and they don’t want to get stuck not having weapons for Matthew Stafford.”

These are the notes Cosell took on Broyles while watching him on tape.

  • He has natural quickness as a route runner, especially from the slot.
  • He has deceptive speed and burst as a vertical route runner.
  • He is very fluid and smooth with excellent ground control.
  • He caught the ball easily with his hands with excellent body control to snatch the ball and run.
  • Does not have top-end long speed, but that’s not a big factor in the slot.
  • Transitions best to the NFL initially as a slot receiver.

“I think he’s a kid that can contribute as a rookie. He’s going to be a slot guy to start and some people might say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to take a slot guy in round two,’ but it comes down to opinion.”

On Bentley:

“I liked Bentley on film. I think he’s an off-coverage corner. He’s what we call a cluer and keyer. He does a very good job reading the triangle (reading from the corner through the quarterback). He has similar attributes to Asante Samuel. That’s the style of corner he is.”

You can follow Cosell on twitter at @gregcosell

Tags: , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 42 Comments »

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops on the Lions pick of Ryan Broyles

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on April 27, 2012 – 9:26 pm

The Detroit Lions selected WR Ryan Broyles with the 54th-overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft.

Said Stoops on, “Ryan’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and while he’s very gifted, he also earned his accolades through hard work and dedication. That’s even more obvious now that he has returned so quickly from an injury. He’s smart, he makes spectacular catches and he’s dangerous as a ball-carrier, but he’s equally valuable off the field as a humble teammate and in the way he represents the program.”

Posted in Blog | 15 Comments »

Lions select Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles in second round

Posted by ttwentyman on April 27, 2012 – 8:59 pm

The Lions were looking for a fourth receiver to pair with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young, and they think they’ve found their man in Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles.

Broyles is the NCAA career leader in receptions (349), but was lost for the season with a torn ACL vs. Texas A&M late last season.

Broyles had at least 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last three seasons at Oklahoma with 39 touchdowns.

Broyles (5-10, 188) will be able to help the Lions right away, as soon as he heals from his ACL injury.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 103 Comments »