Commentary

Running backs most prepared for NFL

Originally Published: April 6, 2009
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
After the failures of the Matt Millen era, the Lions have even more pressure to take an impact player with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

While most experts believe the Lions should take a potential franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, other observers have suggested that the Lions opt for the "safer" pick in tackles Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe.

The idea that tackles or offensive linemen are safer picks is borne out of perception, not reality. While draft busts like Robert Gallery can move inside to guard or Mike Williams can fade quietly out of the league, busts at quarterback can set a franchise back years. Not only do teams miss out on having a great quarterback while their bust is developing, they have to devote significant resources years later into finding the next quarterback. That costs them a pick or cap space they could have used to fill in another hole on their team.
Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.