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Now Lions may pick a QB with the second pick


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Lions say they're interested in drafting QB

Then again, they may be shopping 2nd pick

February 23, 2007

BY CARLOS MONARREZ

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

INDIANAPOLIS -- The plot thickens.

Or maybe it's just the smokescreen that's getting thicker.

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OAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1'); The Lions seem to be waging a full-scale campaign to advertise how interested they are in possibly drafting a quarterback with the No. 2 pick this year.

Coach Rod Marinelli talked about it Tuesday. President Matt Millen did so Wednesday. Now add offensive coordinator Mike Martz to the list.

At the NFL scouting combine Thursday, Martz echoed Millen's sentiments about which position groups stood out.

"Just on one position top to bottom and that's quarterback," Martz said. "If you look at these other positions, I think the quarterback crew is pretty (deep). I think there's a lot of guys in here that got a chance to be good players in the league. I think it's a very deep draft for quarterbacks."

Marinelli confirmed Tuesday that Jon Kitna was the starter. "We all feel very good about him," Marinelli said. "But it's not to say that we won't need a quarterback to draft also for the future."

Martz and Marinelli were extremely high on Kitna last season, but Martz said Thursday that the team had to be mindful of the future.

"Jon has been terrific, but that doesn't mean you don't draft a quarterback," Martz said. "It doesn't mean any of that."

NFL teams are highly secretive about their draft strategy, so comments that leak a team's intentions are considered to be a major no-no. Maybe the Lions will draft a quarterback. Maybe the Lions just want teams to think they will draft a quarterback, possibly increasing the trade value of the pick.

After Kitna, Josh McCown and Dan Orlovsky wait in the wings. Neither backup took a snap in a regular-season game last season and Martz said the jury was still out on whether Orlovsky, 23, was the Lions' future quarterback.

"Too young," Martz said. "Don't have enough information to know that yet. He has to play a little bit more for me to get a better feel for him. I think the last preseason game that he played he did an exceptional job, so you've got to feel pretty good about him. But still you just don't know enough to say, yeah, you can anoint him as the guy that's going to be a good player."

If the Lions actually draft a quarterback with the second pick, it would likely be JaMarcus Russell of Louisiana State or Brady Quinn of Notre Dame. The Oakland Raiders could take a QB with the first pick.

Martz said Russell's and Quinn's records in college spoke for themselves.

"These guys have played at a high level under these programs that are under focus and there's a lot of pressure and there's a lot to that," he said. "They're very productive players at great institutions that have won."

NO ORDINARY JOE: Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas is projected to be a high first-round draft pick, and with the Lions' needs on the offensive line, he could be heading to Detroit. Thomas played left tackle with the Badgers but said he would be happy to play right tackle as an understudy to left tackle Jeff Backus.

"Whether they give me a chance to play left tackle, play right tackle, it doesn't matter to me -- I just want to compete," he said.

Thomas also sees himself as a piece of the Lions' puzzle.

"They're a team that gave up some of the top sack totals in the league," he said. "I think they've got a solid core group of guys and they only need one guy on that offensive line, and I think they can be a very good team next year."

Thomas, who has been listed to be as tall as 6-feet-8, said he was measured at 6-6 1/2 and 311 pounds.

HAPPY TO BE HERE: Joe Staley started his freshman season at Central Michigan as a tight end. For his sophomore season, he gained 30 pounds and played as a 260-pound right tackle. As a junior, he played left tackle at 285, and he bumped up to 295 pounds for his senior season. He checked in a 305, 6-5 7/8 Thursday.

"Oh, it's exciting," he said of the combine. "I never really had this stuff at Central Michigan, and I kind of wish we had this stuff at Central Michigan. I would see everybody on ESPN. It's exciting, and I'm enjoying the moment and trying to soak it all in."

Staley pulled his right hamstring while working out in a mock combine in Houston. He said he was disappointed especially because he won't get to run the 40-yard dash, in which he said is as fast as 4.68 seconds.

UP AND AT 'EM: The combine started in earnest Thursday as players got up at 5 a.m. to go through a battery of medical tests administered by teams. In the afternoon, they conducted interviews en masse with the media, and later in the day they were scheduled for formal interviews with teams.

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It is easy to get homestate qb Stanton with 2nd round pick but I am not sure about Thomas being RT. Is he strong enough to play RT? Or Lions could get Quinn in the first round and Free in the 2nd round which is making more sense.

Oh hell, Lions are not our problem...

If the Lions take Joe Thomas they will start him at LT. Jonathan Scott played well for a rookie last year at the RT position.

Millen is going with Calvin Johnson.

Jon F#cking Kitna is their QB of the future? Give me a break. They seriously can't be thinking that. If so they're dumber than I thought.

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If the Lions take Joe Thomas they will start him at LT. Jonathan Scott played well for a rookie last year at the RT position.

Millen is going with Calvin Johnson.

Jon F#cking Kitna is their QB of the future? Give me a break. They seriously can't be thinking that. If so they're dumber than I thought.

Jon Kitna is the QB of the present, not the future.

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