Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yo, Adrian! Be Careful -- You Just Might Become A Lion!

Adrian Peterson was hoping for something that he should probably watch out for -- because he just might get it (though not likely).

"They've done pretty good picking the Oklahoma guys," Peterson said at Lions HQ in Allen Park yesterday, according to the Freep's Nicholas J. Cotsonika. Peterson, from Oklahoma, was referring to the Lions' history of selecting running backs from that state's schools: Steve Owens and Billy Sims (1970 and 1980, respectively) from Oklahoma, and Barry Sanders (1989) from Oklahoma State.

Well, maybe Cotsonika is too young to know, because the inclusion of Owens in that list is my doing.

Clearly in the case of Sanders, the Lions hit the jackpot, but only because the Green Bay Packers went sideways and selected MSU tackle Tony Mandarich instead of Barry. But with Owens and Sims, the results were mixed -- because of that bugaboo with some running backs: the knee injury.

Owens rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1971 (the first Lions back to do so), but that was about it. He hurt his knee in 1973 and could never recover, despite a few comebacks. His last game, somewhat fittingly, was the Lions' last game at Tiger Stadium, on Thanksgiving Day 1974.

Sims, a Heisman Trophy winner like Owens, had a few good seasons before blowing out a knee in a game at Minnesota in 1984. He, too, tried like mad to make it back before announcing his retirement at training camp in 1986.

If the Lions take Peterson, he'd be the fourth high profile back from the state of Oklahoma to be selected by the team in the last 37 years. And two of them had their careers cut terribly short by injury.

So maybe Peterson was right: the Lions have done "pretty good" at "picking" the Oklahoma guys. They just haven't had as much luck keeping them healthy, Sanders excepted. And even Barry left us too soon, frankly, despite having played 10 years in Detroit.

Ex-Lion safety Mike Weger can rest easy: his #28 won't be worn by Peterson in Detroit

It's highly unlikely, in my mind, that the Lions will select Peterson with the #2 overall pick, despite the comparisons to Eric Dickerson. There's just too much of a logjam in the backfield. Only if someone like Sanders or Reggie Bush were available would I make that leap of faith. Peterson is very good, clearly. But I don't know that he's good enough to draft at a position where there seems to be some depth -- provided everyone is healthy, of course.

All I know is, the draft is but three days away and I am SOOO glad. The NFL should really do something about reducing the amount of time between the Super Bowl and its draft. Two-and-a-half months just seems awfully long. Actually, maybe it didn't seem as long until the NFL Network arrived. I guess the wait didn't bother me until I was reminded of it every single flipping day, thanks to those TV folks.

Still, how about a late March draft, guys? Do teams really need over 80 days to make up their minds? The non-playoff teams get nearly 120 days.

The NBA draft is held a few weeks, at most, after the Finals. The NHL draft, about a month after the Stanley Cup is presented. But the NFL drags its feet, until you're unable to use the word "mock" without following it with "draft." Until Mel Kiper stares at you from your bowl of Froot Loops.

We've had the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Masters, spring training, Opening Day, and nearly 20 regular season MLB games, since the final gun went off in the 2006 NFL season -- and just NOW we're getting around to the draft. Oy vay.

But back to Peterson. I think it's a "no go". I'm still putting my Monopoly money on the Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn.

Go ahead and mock me if you wish.

I guess I can use mock without following it with draft, after all.

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