If Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper hear their names called in the first five picks of the NFL Draft Thursday night, it’ll be the first time an interior offensive lineman has been summoned to the podium for his snap shot with the commissioner since 1985, when the Philadelphia Eagles selected Bill Fralic second-overall.
Taking a guard high in the draft isn’t a sexy pick for the fans or the franchise. A guard doesn’t sell a whole lot of new season tickets.
In a draft devoid of elite talent at the top. In a draft that has a lot of question marks surrounding a number of top picks. Could 2013 be the year of the guard once again?
“I think if you go back and look five, six years ago with the way the rookie contracts were structured, I mean, the idea of taking a guard that high just made no sense at all,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said last week.
“But the slot that we’re in right now is probably a $19-20 million over the first four years type of deal, which I don’t think is unreasonable for a guard, for a good guard.”
That last part is significant – for a good guard. Warmack and Cooper are head and shoulders above the rest of the group at their position and some Mock drafts have both players going in the top 10.
Mayhew personally supervised Cooper’s pro day in North Carolina last month and Warmack was one of the team’s 30 allotted pre-draft visits.
Could the Lions be thinking guard in the first round?
It makes sense from the standpoint that the biggest hole on the line right now is the right guard spot left vacant by the release of Stephen Peterman. Warmack and Cooper are also safe picks in a draft filled with lots of question marks.
Ideally, if the Lions were thinking guard, they’d like to trade back a few spots, pick up an extra pick, and then maybe select one of the guards.
But let me lay this scenario on you. Let’s say Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dee Milliner and the highest rated pass rusher they have on their board – all players who could also fill a need for the Lions – are gone. Is it too much of a leap to take a guard projected to be a 10-year starter on the interior of the offensive line?
I don’t think it is. If there’s any year it makes sense, it might be this one.
It’s just one of the many draft day scenarios to consider.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »