After watching the Alabama Crimson Tide wallop Notre Dame in the national championship, I couldn't help myself from writing one more column about the Detroit Lions' potential plans for this April. Following a team which seems to constantly possess a top pick and watching the top two teams compete on the national will do that to a man.
Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz and their scouts should have been watching intently, too. What, above all else, should be the plan? Draft as many players from Alabama as you possibly can, and two potential stars in the making in particular. It's as simple as that. They're men amongst boys, and the closest thing to NFL players just biding their time in college.
Blink your eyes and you missed Eddie Lacy making shifty moves in the backfield. If you stepped away for a beverage or changed the channel in light of the blowout, you missed Dee Milliner always being in the right place at the right time, looking the part of the top cover corner in college football and a surefire top ten pick in April should he declare. Alabama backups could even make phenomenal Lions, even if they are forced to use their elite speed and skill on special teams first.
Detroit's got plenty of holes to fill this year with regards to talent and a winning mentality, and both Lacy and Milliner would be two ideal fixes if they happened to test NFL waters. Mayhew has commented on his need for a shifty, change of pace back in light of Jahvid Best's injuries. If he's serious, there might not be a better pickup than Lacy, who pounded out 140 quick, tough yards on the ground with a score, contributing yet another touchdown through the air. Mikel Leshoure would suddenly find an excellent companion in the backfield.
Defensively, there's no use to overstate the Lions' need in the defensive backfield. Milliner, though many could consider him a reach at five, might look excellent in Detroit's secondary. He'd likely start from day one, being he'd immediately become the best cover option the Lions would have. His excellent ball skills and tight coverage would be a welcome sight. The Fighting Irish seemed intent on testing Milliner, and he won nearly every battle, making one supreme play after another.
Give credit where it's due. Nick Saban develops one solid NFL prospect after another, and now he's doing it before they're even becoming seniors. Being that lesser talents have declared on the heels of much less college success, Lacy and Milliner should both declare immediately. They're already decorated enough, are part of a dynasty and have accomplished everything one person can in college football. There's always time to finish a degree later on, and getting a pro career jump started earlier seems to be the best move nowadays.
Oh yeah, all that and they'd really really look good holding up Lions' jerseys. I've seen all I need to see. Alabama is the best program in college football, and their players have a winning mindset. Winning begets more winning. That's an attitude which is badly needed in Detroit. So cross your fingers and hope that as many Alabama talents declare as humanly possible.
Mayhew and company should consider going a little crimson in April, especially if they want to try and start a new tide of winning with the Lions.
Is that merely a cheesy pun? Perhaps, but it also could prove to become the honest truth.
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