Lions players, staff assess team's 2010 prospects
April 19, 2010 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2010 at 11:19 p.m.
DETROIT (AP) - Second-year Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford and newly signed wide receiver Nate Burleson were among the Lions personnel who mingled with 1,500 season ticket holders at Ford Field.
All of the Lions players met and posted for pictures with fans at the Monday night pre-draft event. Stafford and Burleson, joined briefly by coach Jim Schwartz, fielded questions before defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan held a question-and-answer session of their own.
One of the freshest topics was the three-way deal in which Detroit sent linebacker Ernie Sims to Philadelphia, with the Lions receiving tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round draft pick from Denver. The Eagles dealt a fifth-round pick to the Broncos as part of the deal.
"He brings a dimension to our offense that you just can't find," Linehan said of Scheffler, who played college ball at Western Michigan.
Cunningham added that it's sometimes difficult to determine whether Scheffler is a tight end or wide receiver.
The four-year veteran has 138 catches for 1,896 yards and 14 touchdowns, all for Denver. Scheffler caught 31 passes for 416 yards and two TDs last year.
Cunningham said he expects special teams ace Zach Follett to continue his development and replace Sims at middle linebacker. The defensive coordinator added that Follett's size, 6-feet and 236 pounds, is better suited for the physical NFC North.
Detroit, 2-30 over the past two seasons, has the second overall pick in the draft that begins Thursday night. Many fans made it clear that they want the Lions to take Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh with that pick.
No one would tip their hand on whether the team would take Suh or Oklahoma defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, but Cunningham came the closest.
"I'm going to listen to my wife," he said. " ... She said I think McCoy is good but Suh is pretty."
Stafford, who missed time last season with knee and shoulder injuries, said, "My shoulder feels 100 percent. No worries there and the knee is getting there."
When asked why he decided to sign with the lowly Lions, Burleson said the main factors were Stafford; reuniting with Linehan, his coach while with the Minnesota Vikings; and playing with wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Burleson said of Stafford: "He has that moxie. That relates to me."