This week, we're looking specifically at the Lions' drafts since 2009, the first one with Mayhew in charge. This will be a look at the entire class, not just the first-round picks.
We'll take a peek at each of the drafts, what worked, what didn't and one pick that in retrospect we would change. Hopefully, this can also give a window into the way Mayhew drafts and some of the decisions he has made in the past that could help influence the 2014 draft and beyond.
Past years: 2009; 2010; 2011.
Complete draft (pick number in parentheses): Round 1 -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa (23); Round 2 -- Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma (54); Round 3 -- Bill Bentley, CB, Louisiana Lafayette (85); Round 4 -- Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma (125); Round 5 -- Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple (138); Round 5 -- Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion (148); Round 6 -- Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State (196); Round 7 -- Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma (223).
Picks on the 2014 roster: 7 (Reiff, Broyles, Bentley, Whitehead, Greenwood, Green, Travis Lewis).
Picks left in the NFL at the end of the 2013 season:: 6 (Reiff, Broyles, Bentley, Whitehead, Green, Travis Lewis).
Best pick: Reiff. Almost went with Jonte Green here because he started games as a rookie in 2012 and was a contributor in 2013, which is pretty strong for a sixth-round pick. But Reiff became the Lions' starting left tackle last season and was part of one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. He has solidified himself as a potential left tackle for the future and at worst, a strong part of the Detroit offensive line for years to come.
With a draft that had all sorts of contributors for Detroit, Reiff has become the one sure-fire starter, although he may end up as one of a few out of his 2012 draft grouping.
Worst pick: Ronnell Lewis. He is the only player the Lions drafted that is no longer on the roster and no longer in the NFL. Some of the other picks haven't completely panned out, but all other than Ronnell Lewis have at least been special teams contributors. Lewis had two special teams tackles in his one season with the Lions before being cut prior to the 2013 season.
Best value pick: Tahir Whitehead. He hasn't cracked the linebacker rotation yet, but drafting Whitehead in the fifth round turned into a valuable selection for the Lions. He was the team's special teams MVP last season and has 20 special teams tackles in two seasons along with two forced fumbles. He is a player who could take a big step in his third season and, depending on the draft, end up as the team's fourth linebacker since Rocky McIntosh is not returning. Detroit had a couple of strong value picks in this draft, including Green in Round 6 and Greenwood in Round 5 as well. One of those two could end up as one of the Lions' starting cornerbacks, depending on how things play out this offseason. Bentley also was a strong value pick as he has become one of two nickel corners for Detroit.
But Whitehead is the pick here because of where he was selected combined with his special teams prowess.
One pick I'd change (other than the worst one): Ryan Broyles has been unable to stay healthy since he was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2012 and has had his past three years end with some sort of season-ending surgery -– either a knee or an Achilles. Considering who went in two of the four picks after him, the Lions would have been better off looking away from Broyles with this pick. Detroit could have drafted Peter Konz as the heir apparent to Dominic Raiola at center, as Konz went one slot later to Atlanta. If the team had wanted to shore up their defense, they could have taken Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David, who went four picks later to Tampa Bay. In his second season, David was named a first-team All-Pro.
Draft grade overall: C+. No All-Pros in this draft grouping for the Lions yet, but a decent contributor-level draft of depth. The team got three quick starters out of it in Reiff, Bentley (at nickel) and Green (at points during the 2012 season). They found a special teams stalwart in Whitehead, who is a linebacker project. Travis Lewis has been on a lot of special teams. Depending on how Whitehead and the corners end up panning out over the next few years, this could end up being a pretty decent class for the Lions.