Tim Twentyman: NFL Insider
Mel Kiper Jr., who has been ESPN’s point man on the NFL draft since 1984, has some bad news for Lions fans hoping to snag a cornerback in the first round.
Kiper said the Lions’ top four needs are cornerback, outside linebacker, offensive tackle and defensive end. But he thinks there’s little chance the Lions get a corner deserving of the No. 13 pick.
LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara are considered the top two corners in the draft. After Peterson and Amukamara, Kiper said the rest of the corners are more deserving of late-first round to second-round consideration.
Peterson is considered a top-five pick and Kiper doesn’t think there’s any way the Lions have a chance at Amukamara unless they move up.
“I just can’t see (Amukamara) getting past Dallas (at No. 9),” he said. “Surprises happen every draft, and you never say never, but right now, I have a tough time getting him down to Dallas. I thought he’d fit in good with a couple teams earlier; San Francisco (No. 7) could look corner. I do think at No. 13 that would be a stretch to try and get him.”
Kiper still thinks the Lions will take UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers, which would certainly fill a need.
But Kiper also alluded to a possible wild-card selection.
“I have (offensive tackle) Nate Soder out of Colorado going one pick ahead of the Lions at No. 12,” Kiper said. “He’s had a nice week down at Mobile so far (Senior Bowl), which you knew he would.
“I think he has the most upside out of any lineman in the draft, be it offensive lineman or defensive lineman. He’s a former tight end. He’s a chiseled kid. He’s going to keep getting better and better because of limited experience on the offensive line.
“The history of tight end-turned-offensive tackles in the NFL over the last 35 years is pretty good. I think he would be an interesting guy. He’s the only one right now of the offensive tackles that I think has a chance to really jump up. I think Soder is going to be the hot guy because of the upside and the fact that he’s that diamond in the rough; he’s going to keep getting better and better.”
If the Lions pass on Ayers for Soder, or Amukamara drops, Kiper said there are good 4-3 outside linebackers available in the second, third and fourth rounds that will fit the Lions’ needs.
He named Bruce Carter (North Carolina), Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut), Mason Foster (Washington) and Ross Homan (Ohio State) as possibilities for the Lions later in the draft.
By the numbers
$83,000 — Payout for each player on the winning team in Super Bowl XVL
$42,000 — Payout for each player on the losing team
$15,000 — Payout for each player on the winning team in Super Bowl I (1967)
$7,500 — Payout for each player on the losing team
Still don’t think the NFL is a passing league? A record 22 quarterbacks passed for 3,000 yards or more this season. The previous high was 19 in 2001 and 2009.
Philip Rivers, Chargers — 4,710
Peyton Manning, Colts — 4,700
Drew Brees, Saints — 4,620
Matt Schaub, Texans — 4,370
Eli Manning, Giants — 4,002
Carson Palmer, Bengals — 3,970
Aaron Rodgers, Packers — 3,922
Tom Brady, Patriots — 3,900
Matt Ryan, Falcons — 3,705
Kyle Orton, Broncos — 3,653
Joe Flacco, Ravens — 3,622
Sam Bradford, Rams — 3,512
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers — 3,451
Donovan McNabb, Redskins — 3,377
Chad Henne, Dolphins — 3,301
Mark Sanchez, Jets — 3,291
Jay Cutler, Bears — 3,274
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — 3,200
Matt Cassel, Chiefs — 3,116
Michael Vick, Eagles — 3,018
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks — 3,001
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills — 3,000
He said it
“The entire senior leadership team stands with me in its commitment to resolving the CBA issues with the players union. While several other executives have also volunteered to make additional reductions to their compensation, I have asked them not to take that step at this time as we continue our negotiating efforts.”
— NFL commisioner Roger Goodell, who said he’ll cut his salary to $1 if there is a work stoppage after the collective bargaining agreement expires in March. Goodell makes $10 million per year.