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Hat tip to Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com for scouring Detroit's Web site for this bit of news: The Lions released linebacker Alex Lewis last Friday, according to this page of transactions.
Lewis was a part-time starter last season but wasn't going to be in the mix this year after the acquisition of veteran Julian Peterson from Seattle. Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick in 2004, spent five seasons in Detroit and totaled 176 tackles.
By my count, that leaves the Lions with one member of the 2004 draft class on their roster: Cornerback Keith Smith. Earlier this offseason, we discussed the eradication of the 2005 class. All told, I count 17 players remaining from the Lions' first nine drafts of this decade. Here's the breakdown:
2001: 2 (Tackle Jeff Backus, center Dominic Raiola)
2004: 1 (Smith)
2006: 2 (Linebacker Ernie Sims, safety Daniel Bullocks)
2007: 5 (Receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Drew Stanton, defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis, guard Manny Ramirez, cornerback Ramzee Robinson)
2008: 7 (Tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebacker Jordon Dizon, tailback Kevin Smith, defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, defensive end Cliff Avril, fullback Jerome Felton, defensive tackle Landon Cohen)