Work in Sports
Lions feel good about OT McDougle, LB Green
Posted: Saturday April 15, 2000 09:34 PM
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit coach Bobby Ross likes big football players. He likes them fast, too.
The Lions got size and speed with their first two picks in the NFL draft on Saturday. They took Oklahoma's Stockar McDougle, a 6-foot-5, 361-pound offensive lineman with their first round pick, then picked up Barrett Green, a West Virginia linebacker with 4.5 speed in the second round.
Ross, who got McDougle with the 20th pick overall, seemed especially happy to pick up Green with the 50th pick overall.
"We had him projected as No. 22," Ross said. "We thought he was a first-rounder."
Ron Hughes, the Lions' vice president of player personnel, said Green was probably still on the board because he was considered too short and too small by some clubs. Green is listed as 6-0, 233 pounds.
"He's a little short, but both feet touch the ground," Hughes said with a laugh. "When you look at him in game films, he's not around the pile, he's usually in the pile.
"He's a dynamite player."
Ross called McDougle one of the most athletic linemen in the draft.
"He drives people off the ball," Ross said. "He's got great feet, great hands."
McDougle, who started all 12 games at right tackle for Oklahoma last season, will be switched to left guard when he arrives for next weekend's minicamp. That would put him beside veteran tackle Ray Roberts, a 6-6, 320-pounder who is coming off knee surgery.
Last year, the Lions took Aaron Gibson, a 6-4, 380-pound lineman with one of two first-round picks. Gibson, who missed all of his rookie season with a shoulder injury, is expected to start at right tackle this season, next to 295-pound veteran guard Jeff Hartings.
McDougle, during a conference call, said the switch wouldn't bother him.
"The biggest adjustment will be my hand and foot," McDougle said. "Other than that, football is football."
His strength in college was blocking for the run, mainly because Oklahoma had basically a run-oriented offense until last season. But the Sooners began passing more last season and McDougle impressed the Detroit scouts.
"He's a great player," Hughes said. He's tough, physical, and he's big. He's played major college football, so he's a big-time player."
With McDougle anchoring the Oklahoma line, the Sooners only gave up 13 sacks last season. Six were charged to McDougle. That, too, was important to a team seeking better ways of protecting quarterback Charlie Batch.
"I thought he was one of the more dominant blockers I've seen," Ross said. "He's got great feel, great hands."
Hughes said there was a chance the Lions might have passed on McDougle if one of three high-profile running backs had still been available. Virginia's Thomas Jones and Wisconsin's Ron Dayne went early, then Seattle took the Alabama running back Shaun Alexander with the 19th overall pick.
"We liked Alexander," Hughes said.
The Lions' running game has been in disarray since Barry Sanders shocked the football world by announcing his retirement on the eve of training camp last summer. Detroit signed Jacksonville free agent James Stewart to a five-year contract on Feb. 14, but no one in the organization thinks Stewart can carry the entire load over the course of a 16-game NFL season.
"We weren't disappointed that Alexander was gone," Hughes said. "We had five or six other guys targeted. What it does, it just puts you on another trail, that's all."
The Lions had the 19th pick in both the second and third rounds, to be completed Saturday. The remainder of the seven rounds were scheduled for Sunday.
Detroit had the 16th pick in the fifth round, 15th in the sixth and 47th in the seventh. The Lions, baring a trade, had no pick in the fourth round.
In past years, the Lions have done very well in some of the lower rounds.
In 1995, the Lions picked up tight end David Sloan with a third-round pick and linebacker Stephen Boyd in the fifth round. Both were Pro Bowl selections last season.
Detroit found safety Ryan Stewart with a third-round pick in 1996. The Lions got tackle Juan Roque and cornerback Kevin Abrams with second-round picks in 1997.
In 1998, the Lions took wide receiver Germane Crowell and Batch with second-round picks. Both are starters now.
Last year, the Lions got defensive end Jared DeVries in the third round, and running back Sedrick Irvin in the fourth.