The 2012 NFL Draft is set for April 26-28. Round 1 commences on the 26th, rounds 2-3 the 27th and rounds 4-7 on the 28th. The NFL Drat has evolved into a media and social network frenzy. Teams even host special viewings of the draft.
Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions executive VP of Football Operations and general manager, is a softspoken guy and generally does not talk to the media during the season, so it was a special occasion when he gave the press a personal preview of the upcoming draft.
Mayhew told all that they have been meetings constantly, enduring the process, and that the front office has done a great job evaluating players and they have a good feel for those guys.
“We’re looking forward to this draft, we’re ready to roll,” he said. “It’s been a good process and I think our coaches and our scouts have done a great job of being prepared.”
On the importance of not commenting on specific draft eligible players, he said: “I think at 23, especially, it’s really important to be cognizant of being careful about who you’re talking about and how you’re talking about them. We’ve been through this before. I’ve been through this process before where you have your heart set on one guy and then somebody’s gone because somebody moved up in front of you and took that guy.
“It’s going to be a very different process at No. 23, so we’re going to be careful with that.”
On whether the draft is deep enough in certain areas: “I think in terms of the depth at different positions, it’s going to be fine. I think the difference is at two, there’s not many ways people can get in front of you to take guys who you like. So you can stand here and say how much you like (Ndamukong) Suh and what a great guy he is and all of that. I think when you start talking about getting down in the 20s and you have a limited number of prospects who you really have a great feel for that fit your organization in a great way, you don’t want to pump anybody up or knock anybody down.”
Mayhew said the trade opportunities drafting in the 23rd spot is very different that drafting in the No. 2 position. He noted that there is probably between four and seven guys that his drafting team really feels very comfortable with that are great fits for the Lions. He also noted that he has been getting very little trade talk about their 23rd pick in particular.
He was also asked about the marijuana issues with s number of players around the league is a problem.
“It’s just each individual situation,” he said. “If you go back to our draft process last year, it wasn’t much removed from our draft process in 2009 and 2010, and we didn’t have those problems in that area in those draft classes.
“We’re going to look at each individual situation. We did a lot of homework on those guys last year. We’re doing as much homework or more this year, but I think every individual situation has to be evaluated that way.”
Mayhew in the past had targeted a particular need, but in most cases went for the best player available.
“It’s the best player for us,” Mayhew said. “If a player fits us the best, that’s the guy who we’re looking to take. I think to a certain degree, as you improve your talent level in certain positions, then you improve your depth in certain positions. It obviously will lead you to try to extend your roster. We’re still going to take the best player, we’re not going to reach. It’s about not reaching for a particular position. If we have a need or something that we perceive as a need, not going past five or six good players to get to a guy that plays that particular position.”
The Lions are in a drafting position they have not in a decade and it presents an entirely new challenge.