I haven't hidden my positive impression of Detroit safety Louis Delmas, even if he occasionally got carried away, and Thursday I felt a little better about my take on a player who could be a star in this division for years to come.
Speaking to reporters on the opening day of the scouting combine, Lions coach Jim Schwartz called Delmas "our top defensive player." (Hat tip to Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post.) I realize Schwartz doesn't have the most talented defense -- in fact, he continued to say that "talent" is the Lions' top need this offseason -- but he did have a pretty competent group of linebackers in 2009.
The Lions are scouring the combine for players at every position except quarterback, a task that leaves Schwartz unwilling to compare the Lions with their NFC North rivals. Here's what Schwartz said Thursday, courtesy Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
"If we look at it that way, maybe we're looking at the wrong thing. You always want to be competitive within your division, and the way to get to the playoffs is to win your division. You need to match up well with those guys. But I think sometimes you can lose sight of what's more important by judging yourself based on other teams.
"I think that last year, all the talk was, can you turn it around Atlanta or Miami turned it around. ... The most important thing is just improving our team and not worrying about where other teams are and things like that. Let's make good decisions for this team, and let's not try to judge ourselves against anybody else other than ourselves. ... If we do that, then we'll be in a position to compete within our division."