Whether it was intentional or otherwise -- and based on how he operates, I would suggest the former - Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew painted a flexible picture Thursday of his intentions with the No. 2 overall pick in next week's draft. Meeting with Detroit-area reporters, Mayhew said the Lions aren't likely to trade down but are still formulating the highest levels of their draft board amid blue-chip grades that are "tight as I've ever seen it."
In other words, the Lions could take any of the draft's top players and won't make a final decision until "probably [next] Thursday," Mayhew said.
It's foolish to think the Lions don't have a pretty solid plan in place, barring unexpected trade offers or some other surprising development. Mayhew is loathe to offer any hints, but I did think he made a notable comparison between this year's draft and the 2003 affair in which the Lions drafted receiver Charles Rogers at No. 2 overall.
The potential pool of players the Lions likely will be choosing this year -- defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, and left tackle Russell Okung -- have cleaner resumes than any of the players the Lions considered in 2003.
"It's never fool-proof," Mayhew said. "[But] I would say that this year, being at No. 2, is a lot better than being at No. 2 the year we drafted Charles Rogers. Just in terms of the number of concerns you have with different players, the players that are there now, a lot of them -- and I've talked to a lot of people in the last week or so, head coaches and people who have been around these guys -- a lot of these guys are solid off-the-field character guys and are relatively-healthy guys. High-effort guys, very motivated, intrinsically motivated type of guys. There is a good pool to pick from at two this year."
If you thought that sounded partly like praise and partly like an invitation to trade up into the No. 2 position, you're probably right. Mayhew said "at this point, I would anticipate being at [No. 2]" but clearly would like some trade discussion to come his way. Stranger things have happened, but that seems unlikely at this point.
We'll post the ESPN Blog Network mock draft next Monday, and you can probably guess who I chose for the Lions at No. 2. (No, it wasn't Knowshon Moreno.) For all of Mayhew's protestations to the contrary, it's safe to believe he knows who he's taking. If I had to guess, I would say that player's last name starts with an "S", ends with an "h" and has a "u" in the middle. I'll let you puzzle over that riddle for at least a minute or so.