NFL Nation: Ronnell Lewis

The Detroit Lions added to their haul of draft picks without doing a thing Monday afternoon.

Due to compensatory selections, Detroit now has the Nos. 133 and 136 selections in May's draft, both fourth-round picks.

The Lions selected defensive end Devin Taylor in the fourth round last season (Pick 132).

Since 2010, Detroit has picked offensive tackle Jason Fox (Pick 128 in 2010) and Ronnell Lewis (Pick 125 in 2012) in the fourth round.
You might recall the high school kid who parlayed an old cell phone into a $9,000 convertible through a series of online trades.

I wonder what he could get for a third-round draft choice.

We considered earlier how the San Francisco 49ers could conceivably parlay one of their 2013 NFL draft choices into 2014 picks. That item focused on getting value for one of the second-round choices the 49ers possess. Later selections can also return future capital.

The 49ers aren't the only team to demonstrate this, of course, but with a league-high 14 selections this year, they provide a good example.

Last year, the 49ers turned the 92nd and 125th picks into the 117th and 180th choices, plus 2013 picks in the third, fifth and sixth rounds. Those 2013 picks are 74th overall from Carolina, 157th overall from Indianapolis and 180th overall from Miami. The picks from Carolina and Miami were the 12th choices within their rounds. The one from the Colts was the 24th choice of its round.

The chart shows what the 49ers gave and received in each of the four trades. The underlined picks are the ones San Francisco started and finished with in their possession. The 49ers moved down in the first three trades before moving up to select guard Joe Looney in the fourth one.

A look at how those trades went down:

Trade One

What happened: San Francisco sent the 92nd overall choice to Indianapolis for the 97th choice and a 2013 fifth-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Colts used the 49ers' pick to select receiver T.Y. Hilton, who finished his rookie season with 50 receptions for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. Hilton had five games with between 100 and 113 yards receiving.

Comment: The seven players San Francisco drafted hardly played until an injury to Kendall Hunter forced second-rounder LaMichael James into duty. The 49ers had to figure their rookies weren't going to play much. The Colts had different needs. They were turning over most of their roster. They needed young players to contribute right away. They had a spot for Hilton and made the most of the pick. The 49ers put that 2013 fifth-rounder in their pocket before using the 97th pick in the next trade.

Trade Two

What happened: San Francisco sent the 97th choice, acquired from Indianapolis, to the Miami Dolphins for the 103rd and 196th choices, plus a 2013 sixth-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Dolphins used the 97th choice for running back Lamar Miller, who rushed for 250 yards and a touchdown while playing 13.7 percent of the offensive snaps as a rookie.

Comment: Quarterback Kirk Cousins was among the players selected between the 97th pick, which the 49ers owned, and the 103rd pick, which the team acquired. Washington took him 102nd overall. The 49ers could use a young quarterback now, but there would have been no reason for them to select one at that point. Alex Smith was the starter and Colin Kaepernick was next in line. The 49ers pocketed that 2013 sixth-rounder. The 103rd and 196th picks factored into trades below.

Trade Three

What happened: The 49ers traded the 103rd pick, acquired from Miami, to the Carolina Panthers for the 180th pick and a 2013 third-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Panthers used the 103rd pick for defensive end Frank Alexander, who had 2.5 sacks while playing 52.3 percent of the Panthers' defensive snaps as a rookie. The 49ers used the 180th pick for safety Trenton Robinson, who did not play on defense and was inactive for the final 13 games.

Comment: Getting that 2013 third-rounder worked out well for the 49ers after Carolina finished only 7-9. The Panthers were coming off a 6-10 season when they made the trade, but they had relatively high expectations after Cam Newton's promising rookie season. Finishing below .500 meant the third-rounder Carolina sent to San Francisco would fall 12th in the round.

Trade Four

What happened: The 49ers were the ones trading up this time. They traded the 125th choice, which was their own, and the 196th choice, acquired from the Dolphins, to the Detroit Lions for the 117th choice.

Immediate fallout: The 49ers used the 117th pick for Looney, who was recovering from surgery and would not be ready right away. Alex Boone emerged as a solid contributor for the 49ers at right guard, diminishing the immediate need for Looney. But general manager Trent Baalke noted on draft day that Looney could project at center eventually as well. The Lions used the 125th choice for linebacker Ronnell Lewis, who played one snap on defense in eight games. Detroit used the 196th pick for cornerback Jonte Green, who played 38 percent of the defensive snaps while appearing in 15 games.

Comment: The 49ers must have felt as though Looney would not be available to them at No. 125. There was much activity in this range of picks. The 118th, 119th and 120th choices also changed hands. So did the 123rd through 126th picks. That meant eight of the 10 picks from No. 117 through No. 126 changed hands. Looney was the only offensive lineman selected in that range and the only guard picked until Washington used the 141st choice for Adam Gettis.

Packers-Lions: Approaching kickoff

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
11:46
AM ET
DETROIT -- Greetings from Ford Field, which welcomed me so kindly I felt competed to document it on our new NFC North Instagram account (kevinseifert_espn), also viewable on Twitter. We've got the list of inactive players for Sunday's game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, and there are no real surprises.

The Packers won't have cornerback Sam Shields (shin), who returned to practice last week but isn't ready to play. Rookie Casey Hayward will start in Shields' place, and rookie Dezman Moses will start at outside linebacker for Clay Matthews (hamstring).

The Lions, meanwhile, will again have backup safeties Erik Coleman and Ricardo Silva starting for the injured Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion, placed on injured reserve Saturday). Defensive end Ronnell Lewis is inactive, allowing former Packers cornerback and new Lions addition Pat Lee to be active for this game. Cornerback Drayton Florence is also active for the Lions.
Cleaning out my notebook after the 2012 NFL draft:

It can be difficult to gauge the value of coaching the annual Senior Bowl, but it's worth noting that two of the Minnesota Vikings' draft choices played under their coaching staff for the North team at this year's affair. That included Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, whom the Vikings traded up to draft at No. 29 overall, and NC Sate linebacker Audie Cole, a seventh-round pick.

In the case of Smith, the Vikings were so convinced of his value after the Senior Bowl that they didn't speak again through the entire draft process. They didn't interview him at the annual scouting combine and didn't invite him to their facility for a pre-draft visit.

"When we got into our meetings and we put our board together and seeing how it was going to develop and knowing that we do need some help on the back end to improve our secondary," general manager Rick Spielman said, "that was the one huge advantage of being able to coach the Senior Bowl because we got to know those players inside and out and know what they are about. How they are in a meeting room. How they are out on the field. Our coaches know what it’s like to coach that player so that was a huge advantage for us and we know exactly what we are getting in Harrison Smith."

We've noted that the Green Bay Packers drafted six defensive players to open the draft. Another trend we noted: The Vikings drafted three pairs of players from the same school.

But we probably didn't spend enough time in the latter stages of the draft pointing out that the Detroit Lions finished the draft by selecting six consecutive defensive players -- including three cornerbacks -- while also drafting three players from Oklahoma.

We should probably chalk up the Sooner connection -- receiver Ryan Broyles, defensive end Ronnell Lewis and linebacker Travis Lewis -- as coincidence. But I wouldn't say the same thing about the defensive trend, considering how poorly the Lions' defense played over the second half of the 2011 season.

The impact of that decision is "yet to be seen," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. He added: "Drafting them doesn't do anything other than drafting them. They have to play well in preseason and training camp and they have to prove their draft status. So, yeah, it adds more guys to the roster and creates competition and things like that. ..."

With that said, I would think the Lions' cornerbacks should consider themselves on notice. Third-rounder Dwight Bentley is a smallish but feisty corner who had an excellent Senior Bowl against elevated competition. And fifth-rounder Chris Greenwood might have played at Division III Albion, but he is 6-foot-1 and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. Players with those kind of measurables eventually get their opportunity.

The Chicago Bears' decision not to draft a lineman would appear an endorsement of their returning starters. So it's worth noting that coach Lovie Smith refused to say where offensive lineman Chris Williams will play in 2012, calling into question the short- and long-term future of the Bears' No. 1 draft choice in 2008.

First, here's what Smith said when asked if Williams would resume his role as left guard when training camp begins: "I can't tell you that right now. We have options with him. We'll see how it all shakes out. Chris, of course, can do both [guard and tackle]. Right now, we're two weeks into our offseason program. Let us get into it a little more and we'll be able to define some roles a little better."

That's hardly an endorsement for a player who has started at right tackle, left tackle and left guard in his disappointing career. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune makes some excellent points in suggesting Williams' most likely 2012 destination is a swing backup.

Williams was drafted as a left tackle, but the Bears chose J'Marcus Webb to play there last season and don't appear interested in looking back. Gabe Carimi, the 2011 first-round pick, figures to return at right tackle, making it easy to move Lance Louis back to one of the other guard spots. Louis, Chris Spencer and newcomer Chilo Rachal would be top candidates to start at the other two guard spots.

Everything is subject to change. But clearly there remain some parts in motion along the Bears' offensive line.

I'm sure the Packers have kicked around the idea of signing a veteran backup quarterback, and it could still happen. But after drafting Tennessee-Chattanooga's B.J. Coleman in the seventh round Saturday, the Packers don't appear eager to add anyone else. In other words, former No. 3 Graham Harrell is going to get every opportunity to win that job.

"I don't think you just say, 'I need a veteran backup,'" Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We have the MVP in Aaron Rodgers as our No. 1, and now we feel that we have three really good candidates to compete for two spots. ... The roster will shake that out."

Those candidates are Harrell, Coleman and Nick Hill, a former Arena Football League player who signed in January.

Some people cringed when the Coleman spoke reverentially about his pre-draft work with and respect for Brett Favre. Coleman seemed oblivious to the hard feelings surrounding Favre's departure in 2008 and his return with the Vikings in 2009 and 2010.

Maybe Coleman was a bit naïve, but I thought his giddiness was instructive as much as anything and perhaps illustrative of the big-picture way most of the football world view the relationship between the Packers and Favre.

In the big picture, the Packers-Favre separation was a small portion of a two-decade marriage that is destined to be reconciled. We are hypersensitive to that blip because we lived through it on this blog, but not everyone was as affected. If we aren't already, we'll all be closer to Coleman's perspective than we probably ever thought possible.

Fourth round review: NFC North

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
2:10
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I have a hard time getting wrapped up in the individual selections that teams make in the fourth round of the NFL draft and lower. That doesn't mean these picks are unimportant, but essentially we're at a point in this affair where everybody has some flaws and, historically speaking, it's difficult to project many of them into significant roles.

With that said, let's take a collective look at the highlights of the NFC North's fourth round.

Chicago Bears: Most notably, the Bears continued to look in places other than their much-discussed offensive line in this draft. Fullback/tight end Evan Rodriguez is a combination blocker/vertical threat who dropped because of character concerns. He was arrested twice in his college career, once in 2007 and again in 2009, and ultimately transferred from West Virginia to Temple. But in a Mike Tice offense, it's important to have multiple tight ends who can block and catch.

Detroit Lions: Some media analysts had Oklahoma defensive end/linebacker Ronnell Lewis rated as perhaps a second-round pick because of his pass-rush abilities. The league didn't agree, and Lewis was available with the No. 30 pick of the fourth round. (The Lions had traded down, picking up a sixth-round pick in the process.) Does that mean he was a steal, or the media analysts were wrong? Could be either. The Lions view Lewis, who is listed at 244 pounds, as a defensive end. That might require him to bulk up or else be inserted into a specific passing-down role, but low fourth-round picks aren't usually three-down players.

Green Bay Packers: Think defense was a priority for the division champions? The Packers chose their fourth and fifth consecutive defensive players in this draft with their pair of compensatory picks at the bottom of the fourth round. Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels was the third defensive lineman. Maine safety Jeron McMillan was the second defensive back.

Minnesota Vikings: Fans could exhale after the Vikings finally drafted a pair of receivers, Arkansas teammates Jarius Wright and Greg Childs. At 5-foot-10, Wright would seem to be best suited as a slot receiver, which is where Percy Harvin plays as well. But the middle of the fourth isn't the time to start getting picky. Take the best receiver and then let coaches figure out how to get him on the field. Childs, meanwhile, is 6-foot-3.
Earlier, we gave you the rundown on what picks each NFC South team currently holds heading into the last day of the draft.

Let’s also take a quick look at what players are still available. Mel Kiper Jr. has this Insider list Insider of the best players remaining and it has some names that many expected to be off the board long ago.

Mississippi tackle Bobby Massie and Miami running back Lamar Miller are easily the two biggest surprises on the list and people are starting to wonder if they have medical or other issues. I’m also shocked Oklahoma linebacker/defensive back Ronnell Lewis and Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders still are available.

Saturday’s portion of the draft starts at noon ET and it’s going to move very rapidly. If you’re able to, join us in Countdown Live, the interactive chat in which you can talk with the eight divisional bloggers, Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson, Football Scientist KC Joyner and others.

I’m not even going to try to give you instant analysis on every one of Saturday’s NFC South picks on the blog. That’s what our Insider Draft Tracker is for. I’ll weigh in on picks of note and maybe provide a quick summary of each round or every couple of rounds.

But my main assignment Saturday is to write a division-wide draft wrap-up and I’ll be working on that through much of the day. That should post on this blog soon after the draft ends.
Torry Holt got the timing right for his retirement news conference Wednesday at St. Louis Rams headquarters.

The Rams' seven-time Pro Bowler offered a formal goodbye while NFC West teams searched for receivers with comparable skill.

The latest 2012 NFL mock draft Insider from Mel Kiper Jr., a two-rounder with explanations for every selection, sends three receivers to NFC West teams in the first round alone.

We get the hint even though this division features a couple all-time greats in Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. The Rams in particular need upgraded weapons, but the other teams in the division could use help as well.

And while Kiper did not send a receiver to Seattle in the first round, knowledgeable Seahawks fans know their team hasn't had a Pro Bowl player at the position since Brian Blades in 1989 (another receiver, Alex Bannister, made it as a special-teamer in 2003).

The symmetry with Holt and the Rams is striking. The team drafted Holt sixth overall in 1999, and a trade-down with Washington this offseason has given them the sixth pick again this year. That is where we pick up the conversation, using Kiper's mock as a starting point.

6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

Kiper's give: The possibility remains that St. Louis could move off this spot, but if they stay here and get Blackmon, they'll immediately upgrade a huge weakness, which is the lack of talented options for Sam Bradford in the passing game. Blackmon's speed is adequate, but his smarts, ball skills, route-running and work habits translate to a guy that can contribute immediately, which is what this offense desperately needs.

Sando's take: Kiper had cornerback Morris Claiborne heading to the Rams in his previous mock. Blackmon went to Cleveland at No. 4 in that scenario, but with running back Trent Richardson working out impressively following knee surgery, Kiper has the Browns taking Richardson instead of Blackmon. That left Blackmon for the Rams. We've debated on the blog whether Blackmon would be a reach with the sixth pick. We do know Blackmon would address a primary need, and that most analysts consider him a legitimate choice among the top 10 selections. The Rams are trying to bolster the position in free agency to diminish the need heading into the draft, but they aren't going to find a young talent such as Blackmon on the market at this time. The Rams own the 33rd and 39th picks as well, giving them an opportunity to find playmakers beyond the sixth choice, should they prefer to do so. Kiper had the Rams taking Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and Ohio State tackle Mike Adams in the second round.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Kiper's give: Even if [Boston College linebacker Luke] Kuechly is still on the board, it would be tough for Seattle to pass on perhaps the safest 4-3 DE option available. Coples has prototypical size, can play every down as a pass-rusher and has a solid arsenal of moves to get to opposing quarterbacks, but with the size and discipline to be a force against the run. Seattle can't go wrong here with either the top LB or DE available. This defense is close to being considered among the NFL's finest.

Sando's take: The word "safest" isn't particularly comforting for Seahawks fans. Aaron Curry was considered the safest pick in the 2009 draft. Coples was my choice for Seattle in the recent NFL Blog Network mock. Then, Kuechly was not available. Kiper previously had Seattle taking Ryan Tannehill in this spot, but Tannehill was off the board this time and the Seahawks weren't in the QB market, anyway, after signing Matt Flynn. Some have criticized Coples for inconsistent effort. Pete Carroll constantly emphasizes competition, but the Seahawks have shown they can get good results from defensive players with varied résumés and reputations. Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Alan Branch come to mind. The draft plot thickens considerably for Seattle if Kuechly does slip past the top 11 choices. The word "safe" has applied to Kuechly as well. The Seahawks have obvious needs for a pass-rusher and a linebacker, so Coples and Kuechly make sense as projected picks. Kiper had the Seahawks taking Oklahoma linebacker Ronnell Lewis in the second round.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Kiper's give: Another pick I'll stick with, Floyd is a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald and will help Arizona maximize the options for Kevin Kolb. The offensive line could use help, but Floyd has proven that he'd be a good value here. Think of Atlanta getting Julio Jones to take some pressure off Roddy White last year. Floyd could fill a similar role.

Sando's take: Some might recall Kiper sending Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin to the Cardinals a couple mocks ago. Martin fell from the first round entirely in Kiper's next version before resurfacing in the 20s of this one. The Cardinals need help at tackle after failing to address the position in free agency. (Demetress Bell's agreement with Philadelphia takes away one option under consideration for Arizona.) I get Kiper's thinking on Floyd. Arming Kolb with sufficient options is important. I've offered a counterpoint in the video posted atop this entry. In short, the Cardinals have already armed Kolb with highly drafted weapons at running back, receiver and tight end. The case can be made that Kolb needs to make better use of the existing weapons. To do that, he'll have to gain a stronger grasp of the playbook this offseason. He'll also need to stay on the field, something he hasn't been able to do. Improved pocket awareness would help. Landing a tackle seems like a necessity, but how? I sent Courtney Upshaw to the Cardinals in our Blog Network mock, figuring pass-rushers are more valuable than receivers or offensive linemen. Stanford guard David DeCastro was available to Arizona in Kiper's latest mock. Would the Cardinals draft him to play guard, then move Adam Snyder to right tackle? Kent Somers raised that possibility and it's an interesting one. I'm not sure Snyder projects as the long-term solution at guard, let alone tackle.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Kiper's give: Hill is the biggest home-run threat in the draft when you combine his speed and size, and it's no secret the 49ers need some help at wide receiver, even with the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. He'll need an adjustment period as he gets used to doing more in terms of scheme than he was asked at Georgia Tech, but he's the kind of weapon this offense needs to expand.

Sando's take: The thinking makes sense, but the 49ers have options in this spot. Players drafted this late in the first round will likely need time before developing into starters. There's no pressure to target the most immediate need on the roster. Landing a receiver does have appeal. Moss is 35 years old and might not offer much at this stage. But the 49ers can count tight end Vernon Davis as one of their receiving options. They use two tight ends frequently. This team does not run a spread offense requiring three top-flight wideouts, in other words. And there's still a chance Michael Crabtree will take another step forward after finally getting a full offseason in the 49ers' offensive system. The team has flexibility heading into the draft, in other words. San Francisco could target just about any position with the 30th choice (quarterback would be a surprise). The 49ers can sit back and wait to see which talented players with question marks fall to them. Kiper had the 49ers taking Brandon Brooks, a guard from Miami of Ohio, in the second round. The need for guard help could subside if the 49ers sign a veteran in free agency, however. They've visited with a few.
Denver long snapper Lonie Paxson missed his second straight day of practice because of what Denver coach John Fox described as a family matter.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” Fox told reporters in Denver. “He’ll be day to day just like all of our injuries.”

Guard Russ Hochstein would likely be the long snapper for Saturday night’s divisional playoff game at New England if Paxson can’t play, especially if the weather is bad.

Meanwhile, as expected, safety Brian Dawkins (neck) and receiver Eric Decker (knee) did not practice Thursday. It would be a surprise if either player plays Saturday night. Denver pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil was limited for the second straight day with an ankle injury.

In other AFC West news:

Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel said on Sirius radio with Rich Gannon that he will not relinquish his defensive play-calling duties. That has been expected.

Chris Sprow thinks the 49ers’ Justin Smith would be a good fit in San Diego. In an Insider piece, Scouts Inc. thinks Oklahoma pass-rusher Ronnel Lewis could fit with the Chargers. San Diego is sure to try to add a pass-rusher this offseason.

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