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Lions Risking A Derek Anderson Situation?

So let’s assume that the Lions end up picking the quarterback instead of the outside linebacker who would have to play inside linebacker (and who would thus be the first inside linebacker since Tom Cousineau 30 years ago to be taken at No. 1 overall) when the draft starts on Saturday. Will Matthew Stafford play as a rookie? Ideally, he won’t. For starters (and unlike last year’s rookie first-round quarterbacks), Stafford is an underclassman. And underclassmen are even harder pressed to succeed at quarterback in their rookie years. Also, because the team’s offensive line leaves much to be desired, Stafford would be at an even greater risk of injury, frustration, and/or discouragement. Last year, the Ravens wanted to give Joe Flacco a year on the bench, due to concerns regarding the quality of the line in the first year after Jonathan Ogden. But when Troy Smith developed tonsilitis in August and Flacco got some extra reps with the starters in the preseason, the team decided to take a chance. The fact that it worked for the Ravens (and the Falcons with Matt Ryan) could make the Lions more inclined to give Stafford the ball from Week One. It likely would be a mistake. But what about the alternative? Daunte Culpepper and Scott Linehan are reunited, together for the first time since Culpepper generated a 110.8 passer rating in 2004. And playing the role of Randy Moss is Calvin Johnson. So what if the Lions turn it around this year and win the watered-down NFC North? Would Culpepper keep the job like Derek Anderson did in Cleveland, forcing Stafford to play the role of Brady Quinn? Or would Stafford then be asked to make his debut on a team with significantly higher expectations for 2010? Bottom line? Though the Lions are handling the business aspects of having the first overall pick masterfully, there might be no good way out of the maze of shrubs that will arise as soon as Stafford’s and Culpepper’s names appear on the quarterback depth chart. So we think they should take Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, and hope that either of them will have a Joe Thomas-style impact on the offensive line, giving Culpepper ample time to launch missiles to Megatron. And then, with the 20th pick, they should pounce on Knowshon Moreno, if he’s still on the board. Even Matt Millen could’ve figured that one out.