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Published: Monday, 4/26/2004

Millen took advantage of Browns' Davis

Leftover observations from the 2004 NFL draft:

  • Saturday was a landmark day for the Detroit Lions, who selected Texas wide receiver Roy Williams and Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones in the first round.

    Overnight, team president Matt Millen and coach Steve Mariucci transformed the Lions' offensive potential from pedestrian to potent.

    In the last two drafts, the Lions have acquired Williams and Charles Rogers at receiver, and Jones and Artose Pinner at running back.

    Williams and Rogers both run consistent 4.4 40s. Sure they're young, but you can't teach their kind of sprinter's speed.

    Williams and Rogers are blessed with the ability to put pressure on defensive backs and safeties, which translates into more big plays in the passing game as well as a more productive ground game.

    Jones, considered the best outside runner in the draft, should push Pinner for playing time.

    Pinner, who missed most of his rookie season because of injuries, is finally healthy. He's more of a north-south runner with an inside push who presents a change-of-pace from Jones' game-breaking 4.4 speed.

    Potentially, Jones and Pinner can produce a formidable inside-outside running attack.

    Quarterback Joey Harrington should take Millen to dinner. If Harrington can't generate fireworks with these weapons, the Lions may need to look for a new quarterback.

  • Millen, of all people, took Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis to school.

    That's my opinion after observing how smoothly Millen convinced Davis to relinquish Cleveland's second-round pick so the Browns could grab Miami tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., using Detroit's first-round pick (sixth overall).

    Moving down one spot in the first round to select a player the Lions wanted all along (Williams) was a no-brainer for Millen.

    Making Davis believe the Lions wanted Winslow was arguably Millen's best move since coming to Detroit.

    Millen scared Davis into action.

    Armed with an extra second-round pick, and with Jones, the Lions' highest-rated running back still on the board, Millen packaged Detroit's second-rounder, fourth-rounder and next year's fifth-rounder for Kansas City's first-rounder (30th overall).

    Drafting Jones was Millen's second no-brainer on Saturday.

    Clearly, Millen is growing with the job. He's becoming more comfortable in his role as the Lions' primary decision-maker.

    It's way too early to evaluate this year's draft, but Millen deserves kudos for being proactive instead of reactive.

  • Davis permitted his unpleasant draft history with the Browns to influence his better judgment.

    Because of what happened with William Green two years ago, Davis overpaid for Winslow.

    After passing on Clinton Portis — another one of his former Miami players — in the 2002 draft, Davis was determined to draft Winslow — regardless of cost.

    Millen simply used Davis' paranoia against him. Millen refused Davis' initial offer of a fourth-rounder and fifth-rounder to switch positions in the first round.

    The Browns got Winslow, all right. But Davis got taken in the process.



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