Draft position aside, the Detroit Lions need to build the culture

The Detroit Lions are 2-11-1 on the season. Do not let that fool you, the Lions are better than the record would indicate. For weeks the Lions seemed locked into an destined for the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. By beating the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday the Lions fell to the second pick at least for now. Here is the catch. Draft position does not matter. Really. Detroit will still pick in the first 10 draft slots and by all accounts they will get an elite player. That should not be the focus.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Perhaps you have heard the phrase that reverberates around sports franchises, “build the culture.” So what exactly is building the culture? The phrase in it’s truest meaning is an expression of team values, attitudes and goals. Building the culture put’s the team’s focus on winning, improvement and promotes team successes.

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said that is critical to the teams success by laying a solid foundation of culture building. Head coach Dan Campbell echoed the same thing. The fact that the Lions are winning games late in the season is a good thing.

This is a rebuild. Dan Campbell and his coaching staff have done a remarkable job with a roster void of a bunch of talent. The Lions have lost many close games. The fact they are starting to win some shows a few things.

Players have clearly bought into what Holmes and Campbell are trying to do. The team has fought hard and not given up even as losses mounted. The Lions are not even close to being the worst team in the NFL.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) runs onto the field during an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, December 19, 2021. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Another thing that has become clear, the organization does not seem to mind sliding in draft position either. Players are focused on winning games, the coaching staff is focused on getting everyone better prepared.

Fans need to look past draft picks. It is far more important to build the culture simply because that has a far reaching impact on the team moving forward.

In the aftermath of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers put a charge into the rebuild

Embed from Getty Images Al Avila did it! The Detroit Tigers general manager nailed the 2020 MLB Draft. For the first time in years the Tigers did not draft pitching. Pitching is not a organization problem. No the Tigers drafted bats. Hitters, thumpers were the order. In do so Avila has sped the Tigers rebuild up and the future now looks much clearer.

If there is one word to describe the Detroit Tigers 2020 draft class it is “impact.” Sometimes in sports you have to be lucky. Luck was on the Tigers side from the first pick to the last. Talent after talent fell into Detroit’s lap.

The Tigers started the draft as many thought they would by taking the player head and shoulders above every other player in the draft. Spencer Torkelson who should arrive in Motown as early as next season. It gets better.

The Tigers who have struggled to find a catcher then turned their focus to Ohio State product Dillon Dingler. Dingler was  first round talent on many boards (the Tigers got him in round 2), rare athleticism behind the plate with a 70 arm,  his catch and throw is excellent, Dingler has projectile power and he has been constantly coming on with the bat.

The Tigers then nabbed LSU OF Daniel Cabrera.  One talent evaluator felt Cabrera was the best college bat available at that spot, and by a clear margin. While not blessed with super high-end upside, Cabrera is widely viewed as an everyday player and will hit a lot. Not bad value for being a competitive balance round B draft pick.

In the third round Detroit took Trei Cruz. Who plays short stop and can also handle 2B and 3B as well. Cruz can hit and has some pop in his bat. Cruz is a very solid player who has a good feel for hitting, adding more offensive firepower to the Tigers system.

The Tigers got an absolute steal in the fourth round when Arizona State’s (and teammate of Spence Torkelson) Gage Workman fell into Detroit’s lap. Workman plays 3B and was viewed by nearly every scout as first round talent. Workman is a player with both a high offensive and defensive ceiling.

After the four college players Detroit went for a high school player. Colt Keith 3B, Keith can also pitch.

The talk around baseball is the Detroit Tigers won the draft. The team was wise to not draft pitching and there was temping pitching talent in this draft class. But the team went for bats.

While prospects are a gamble. Detroit made smart choices and luck was on their side. Detroit’s rebuild just sped up.



A few players who could make an impact for Michigan State football

Embed from Getty Images Some players have been in the program, some players have not even  taken a class yet.  Michigan State football has a few players who could make an impact at key positions of need this fall. That is good news for the Spartans.

Strong Safety, Xavier Henderson: as a freshman Henderson  played all 13 games. He was the third down nickelback, Xavier will be the most significant new starter on the Spartans’ top-10 defense that returns nearly intact. Henderson will need to show early on he can improve his tackling and coverage. Something Spartan coaches full expect from the second year player.

Running Back, Anthony Williams: an  early enrollee on the Michigan State campus, Williams really stood out during spring practices and is coming for  LJ Scott’s starting job.

Tight End, Trenton Gillison: last seasons tight ends Matt Sokol and Chase Gianacakos have graduated leaving a spot up for grabs.  Gillison played 14 snaps in two 2018 games against Penn State and Maryland.  Choosing to focus on football and a chance to become a contributor in the revamped passing game, the Spartans need Gillison to take the next step.

Offensive lineman, Devontae Dobbs:  he is a  sturdy 6′ 3″, 295-pound and very aggressive play at the point of attack could force immediate playing time. Dobbs can help the offensive line  group that struggled in run blocking the past two seasons.

The Michigan State Spartans are looking to get back to their run first roots. Use the run to set up the pass. It worked once. The question is with the elite teams that use speed in space can the clunky semi-outdated run first-ball control offense do enough in today’s college football landscape to produce more wins?

Michigan State is willing to find out.