Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bye bye Dre' Bly

The rumored Lions trade with the Denver Broncos was made official this afternoon.

2 time Pro Bowler Dre' Bly gets his wish, and his walking papers. He leaves the D much richer, and with a somewhat tattered locker room reputation.

Detroit receives 2 players in return. The Lions get veteran running back Tatum Bell as insurance against Kevin Jones' severe foot injury, and offensive tackle George Foster, a former 1st round pick who was consistently inconsistent, leading to his being benched in each of the past 2 seasons.

Denver also threw in a 5th round pick, probably for the comedy relief in watching what Matt Millen does with it.

The trade leaves one guessing as to what will be the Lions' next move. They already have 1 tackle under long term contract, the utterly average Jeff Backus. With the guard position so thin, considering the cutting of Ross Verba, and the possibility of waiving Damion Woody, could Foster play guard? If not, does this mean that Joe Thomas is off their draft board?

It definitely means that Sooners back Adrian Peterson is no longer an option with the 2nd overall pick. Does the possibility remain open that the consensus highest ranked player on every teams draft board, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, is now an option for the Lions? Are either JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn in the picture? Or will the Lions aggressively try to trade down, as with many of the other holes that need to be filled (Cornerback, MLB, to name just 2), there are no players worthy of the number 2 overall pick.

The mind boggles with all the possibilities.

From first inspection, it looks as if the Lions got pretty fair value for a Pro Bowl quality corner. Before I get all giddy and give this trade a passing grade, I have some questions.

1. As I said yesterday, every back that comes through Denver has you wondering if their stats are due more to their system than anything else. While playing for Mike Shanahan, they (Orlandis Gary, Ruben Droughns, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson, the multiple Bell's, Tatum and Mike) look like All-Pros. When they leave, some then begin to look like just another running back. For every Portis, who is a big time back, you have a Gary, who couldn't do anything when running behind the Lions' line. So is Tatum Bell a productive back like Portis, or a mirage, like Gary?

2. George Foster was a 1st round pick, and a 4 year veteran. He's been benched twice in that time. Why are the Broncos so eager to pawn him off on Millen and the Lions? Much as I said about Denver's running backs, Denver seems to be able to do the same with linemen. They ALWAYS have a good running game, no matter who is blocking or running. If a team with such a good reputation for developing linemen is giving up on Foster, how good can he really be?

3. Millen brokered the deal. He's been burned more times than I can count. How can I have confidence in this trade being a good one, even if it looks fair on paper? That's why you can't say it's a good or bad trade just yet. Millen's awful track record just won't allow me.

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